ALLEN PARK — The LIons drafted their fourth straight defensive player when they selected cornerback Amani Oruwariye (Penn State) in the fifth round (146th overall).
He’s a bigger, taller corner at 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds.
“(My size) allows me to use my body to my ability, really dominate at the line of scrimmage and go up with receivers and make plays on the ball,’’ Oruwariye said on a conference call.
Oruwariye was a starter in 2018, earning first-team all-Big Ten nod by leading the Nittany Lions with 12 pass breakups and tying for the team lead with three interceptions, to go along with 51 tackles (two for loss) in 13 starts.
He ranked No. 5 in the Big 10 and No. 30 in the nation with 1.2 passes defended per game. He was No. 8 in the Big Te in the FBS with three interceptions.
He’s familiar with Lions Pro-Bowl corner Darius Slay. Says he’s watched a good amount of film of him. “Darius Slay plays the deep ball really well, it’s just great technique,’’ Oruwariye said.
Oruwariye, who attended Tampa’s Gaither High School, began to show his potential as a lockdown corner his junior season in 2017, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors despite not starting in 11 games played. He intercepted four passes and broke up eight others as a reserve, making 28 tackles.
He was a reserve as a freshman (five tackles, one PBU in 13 games) and sophomore, as well, though his playing time was more significant in 2016 (23 tackles, one INT, one PBU).
Oruwariye is pronounced OH-rue-war-ee-AY.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote: “He can be an effective press-man defender, but must win at the line of scrimmage or he could become an early target for quarterbacks as he lacks makeup speed once he’s beaten. Oruwariye is a proven disruptor at the catch point and is willing to step up and take on run support duties. When all factors are considered, he’ll be considered a scheme fit for zone-heavy teams who covet physicality in press.”
Other defensive players drafted by the Lions include linebacker Jahlani Tavai (second round), safety Will Harris (third round) and defensive end Austin Bryant (fourth round).
The Lions opened the draft by selecting tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first round (eighth overall).