Through the years, the Detroit Lions’ defense hasn’t featured many bright spots on the back end at cornerback, but with standout Amani Oruwariye, that is looking likely to change.
Oruwariye was easily Detroit’s most consistent player on the back end in 2021, and had the type of numbers and elite play which leave him as a candidate to become one of the Lions’ next obvious “franchise players” in short-order. The Lions have given Oruwariye a chance, and in turn, it’s becoming very clear that he wants to stick with the team into the future.
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Speaking with the media on Wednesday, May 11, Oruwariye was asked about the future and where he envisions himself. Specifically, would the cornerback like to stick in Detroit with the team that drafted him? The answer to the media was a resounding yes, something Chris Burke of The Athletic tweeted about after listening in on the press conference.
“Amani Oruwariye on whether he’d like to sign a long-term deal with the Lions: “Absolutely. I love Detroit, I love being here, I love everything it’s given me. … Ideally, that’s where I want to be at,” Oruwariye explained to the media via Burke’s tweet.
Keeping a positive player like Oruwariye around as a building block would be a significant win for the Lions and their future. With Oruwariye, it seems the team has one side of their defensive backfield locked in for the future. Finding pieces to complement Oruwariye should be the goal now, and it’s something which the Lions have been looking poised to do with their work elsewhere in free agency and the draft.
Why Lions Should Get Oruwariye Deal Done Fast
The Lions re-signing Oruwariye to some sort of long-term extension soon would not be a mistake whatsoever from Brad Holmes. At this point, the former fifth-round pick in 2019 has shown steady statistical signs of development every year he’s been in the league so far. Between 2019 and 2020, he managed to put up 3 interceptions and 72 tackles, that was followed by a very impressive body of work in 2021, with 6 interceptions and 57 tackles. That is consistent production, which should always be rewarded in the league.
It is obvious that Oruwariye has not regressed at all, and the Lions could use a player like him to lock down the defensive backfield into the near future. A significant problem through the years has been convincing young talent to stay, but the Lions have seemingly taken some major steps to getting that done now. This past offseason, Detroit re-signed players like safety Tracy Walker, wideout Josh Reynolds and pass rusher Charles Harris. All represented standout players from their 2021 team statistically.
Simply put, Oruwariye should be next. He’s earned it with confidence as well as his play, which is another quiet win-win for Detroit.
Oruwariye’s Career Stats & Highlights Show Development
During the 2019 season as he started into the league, Oruwariye didn’t do much statistically for the team early on as he battled a knee injury most of the early part of the year, and as a result, his stats weren’t that robust as a rookie. Oruwariye finished 2019 with 2 interceptions and 19 tackles for the Lions, but has been a player who has delivered before given his work in college. During the 2020 season on the field, he has 53 tackles, 1 interception and 7 passes defended, meaning he was easily able to eclipse his statistical work from last season, setting him on a good trajectory for the future.
While playing for Penn State, Oruwariye put up 108 tackles and 8 interceptions while scoring 1 touchdown. Last year, he showed up big for the Lions with tons of big plays. In total, Oruwariye had 57 tackles, 11 passes defended and 6 interceptions. Here’s a look at some of his highlights:
So far in Detroit, he’s shown an ability to step up and stick in coverage which is great news for the Lions. The fact that the numbers show him as one of the best players at his position in the league is a major plus for the team’s future on a needy defense.
The next goal for Holmes? Find a way to lock down a player that has played well and wants to be in the mix long-term. That should be easy work for the team’s front office brass.