Typically, the Detroit Lions aren’t a team that generates much buzz in terms of Pro Bowl or All-Pro selections at the end of any given season, but that could start to change in a big way come 2022.
With improvements on the roster, the Lions look like they are poised to finally start to turn a corner in a big way moving forward with wins, which could mean a significant narrative change for some on their roster. One of their current players has been picked as the next to make this leap toward stardom sometime soon.
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Cornerback Amani Oruwariye has already taken on the look of a player that is primed to star in the league, and most are projecting him to take a new leap forward in the future. While Oruwariye has piled up the impact plays and interceptions, he’s not yet been recognized for his work in league circles. That could soon happen, and a new projection from Bleacher Report has it playing out this year.
B/R’s Ian Wharton recently picked out eight players who figure to best be on track to cracking their first Pro Bowl this coming season. Oruwariye made the list for the Lions considering what he was able to do on the field in 2021 as a complete player, which could leave him primed to make a charge this coming year.
“His impact went beyond the splash plays, though. He allowed a passer rating of just 57.5, finishing ninth out of 130 qualified cornerbacks, per PFF. The marriage of forcing turnovers and being sticky in coverage means Oruwariye is on the verge of pushing for a Pro Bowl in 2022,” Wharton wrote.
As Wharton conceded, Oruwariye might already be here to stay in terms of consistently showing what he can do on the field. With that in mind, he may or may not have gaudy numbers. If Oruwariye continues to stand out as a cover corner, it could cement his image as a top-notch defender.
“In some ways, he already broke out with his production. He may not notch another six-interception season since turnovers are rarely predictable. But fans and pundits know more about him now, so another great season of sticky coverage will only prove he’s no fluke,” he said.
In terms of star players to watch, Oruwariye figures as one for the Lions. If he makes the Pro Bowl, it will only help in cementing his status as a true young gun to watch moving forward in Detroit.
Oruwariye’s Career Stats & Highlights
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 in a gaudy 2021 season. 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. Very soon, Oruwariye’s abilities might land him in the Pro Bowl and garner some extra recognition.
Lions Must Keep Oruwariye With New Contract
Before he starts making Pro Bowls or opening eyes around the league, the Lions need to find a way to keep Oruwariye around. The goal for the team should be to find an agreement on some sort of long-term extension soon.
That 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 get 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.
Oruwariye should be next, and this should be seen as a major reason why. If the accolades start rolling in as many project, the demand could be sky-high for a player with his talent and abilities.