If the Detroit Lions are going make a run at the 2020 NFL Playoffs, the defense is going to have to be much…much better than it was a year ago. In order for that to happen, some young players are going to have to step up and make a difference for the Lions to make a giant leap from their 3-12-1 2019 season.
According to ESPN, Lions CB Amani Oruwariye is a prime candidate to have a breakout season in 2020.
Oruwariye’s rookie season mostly came down to the fairly meaningless games the Lions had right around Thanksgiving, as he played 76% of the snaps in Week 12 against Washington and 91% against the Bears. As you would expect from a rookie as physically gifted as Oruwariye who didn’t get picked in the first round, the season became a bit of a learning experience. He mixed good games (one pick, 21 yards in five targets against Washington) with mediocre ones (36 yards allowed on three completed targets against the Bears). He did end the season on a high note by picking Aaron Rodgers in the Week 17 upset bid that almost knocked Green Bay out of the No. 2 seed.
Oruwariye has true outside size at 6-2, 205 pounds and showed proficient speed with a 4.47 40-yard dash at the combine. Oruwariye’s combine performance was not by any means noteworthy or dominant, but corners that size are valued as long as they have proficient athleticism and can jam, which Oruwariye demonstrated he could at Penn State.
With Jeff Okudah, Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant signed up for next year, Oruwariye again will start the season as the fourth cornerback. But rookie cornerbacks are not always a group that starts well, and Trufant allowed roughly 10 yards per pass attempt last year and has not been the same player since his 2016 pectoral tear. Oruwariye is going to surface here eventually, the only question is when.
Nation, what are your expectations for Oruwariye this season? Do you think he can be a difference-maker for the Lions in 2020?