By Chris Schisler
Odafe Oweh is fun to watch, you have to give him that. The Baltimore Ravens drafted Oweh with the 31st overall pick. The first part of the Orlando Brown Jr. trade went to the defense. We’ll have to wait and see what Oweh can bring to the table on an NFL football field. While we wait and melt through the football-less days we do have a clear understanding of the player Oweh was at the collegiate level.
The Penn State edge rusher played mostly with his hand in the green grass of Happy Valley. There is some versatility here, but he’s truly a player who fits on the outside of the defensive line. He’s explosive and his frame is thicker than you’d expect for how explosive he is.
Prospect Notebook: Odafe Oweh Vs. Ohio State (2020)
I went back and re-watched some tape on Oweh this afternoon, so let me get this down in ink, while it’s fresh. I took a look at his snaps from the 2020 game against Ohio State. One thing that stands out is how strong and disciplined he is against the run. Oweh is very aware of what’s going on in the play. He wants to pin his ears back and wreak havoc, but he’s a balanced player.
Against the zone-read option, his discipline was perfect. He didn’t over-commit to the quarterback or the running back. He forced a decision by splitting the difference and he got in on the tackle. There were several occasions where Oweh overpowered the offensive tackle in front of him.
This was a game in which the box score probably wouldn’t impress you that much, He made an impact. On a tough day at the office for the Nittany Lions, Oweh had a respectable showing. One play, on a stunt, he looped in and attacked the A gap The stunt worked and Fields was flushed out of the pocket. With the help of a teammate, Fields was forced to take his eyes off the receivers down the field and scramble for a couple of yards.
There are some things to work on that you can point out from this tape. Oweh needs to learn to finish the play with his shoulder pads. This goes for quarterbacks and running backs alike. Oweh sometimes plays too upright. He needs to be more of a leverage seeker. There are some times he’s going to get pushed out of the play. Overall, enough positives to get me excited.
Prospect Notebook: Odafe Oweh Vs. Nebraska (2020)
This wasn’t a highlight reel, but Oweh’s game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers feels like one. There were no sacks, but there were a ton of pressures and hits in the backfield. Oweh clobbered the quarterback and forced an interception for one of his teammates (3:47 mark in the video). Oweh had nine tackles but he lived in the backfield.
This game is a great example of Oweh’s quickness. Oweh was simply a better athlete than the players trying to block him. Oweh’s got a smooth long stride and his wingspan is a weapon. He’s raw, I grant you that. My question is what is the AFC North going to do when this guy gets cooking? The Ravens haven’t had a player with these kinds of traits in a while.
You’re seeing some consistent characteristics of his game here. He has a good first step. He loves to work inside the tackle. This is probably because his 0-60 burst being so sharp and his traits allow him to get inside the tackle’s business. Sometimes he throws arms, but when he breaks down and runs through the tackle he’s a punishing defender. He’s disciplined and it seems like he’s all over the place.
Don’t get too excited, but be into this. He’s going to show flashes. He’s going to have some rookie bumps in the road. With reasonable expectations Oweh can have a successful 2021 season. Oweh has a chance to be great, right now the Ravens just have to hope for solid play with flashes of brilliance.