Amani Oruwariye may not have vaulted himself Monday into the first round of the NFL draft — but he he definitely boosted his draft stock.
The Penn State cornerback impressed in the measurables and received a thumbs-up from most analysts for his performance during Monday’s portion of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. The 6-foot-2 Nittany Lion also made his presence known early.
Coming into the Combine, there were questions about his speed due to his size and length. But Oruwariye silenced those critics early on in the 40-yard dash by turning in a time of 4.47 seconds — faster than two projected first-rounders in Georgia’s DeAndre Baker (4.52) and Washington’s Byron Murphy (4.55), who are both shorter and skinnier.
“Speed is a question for him,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said following his 40. “That’s a good time — a really good time.”
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Said The NFL Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard: “That’s huge for his stock.”
Experts were somewhat split on Oruwariye before the Combine. Some, such as The Athletic’s Dane Brugler and Scouts Inc.’s Steve Muench, projected him as a Day 2 (second- or third-round) selection. Others, like Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner, were already sold. Renner ranked Oruwariye as the 28th-best overall NFL prospect, and PFF’s Steve Palazzolo graded him as a first-rounder in the fall.
The consensus after Oruwariye’s performance Monday appeared to be early second-round selection, at worst. Jordan Reid, host of The Draft Board podcast, even tweeted his disappointment with the cornerback group as a whole — but said Oruwariye was one of three exceptions, along with Murphy and Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin.
The only time Oruwariye received criticism appeared to be the read-and-react drill, where the cornerbacks backpedaled, turned and ran. Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, said he saw “a little bit of that tightness there” during Oruwariye’s performance. And NFL legend Deion Sanders agreed: “Safety-type tightness,” he added.
Still, even all of the analysts on NFL Network didn’t agree. Will Blackmon, a DB who played 11 seasons in the NFL, wrote on Twitter after the same drill that Oruwariye was “looking smooth as ever.”
Overall, however, there’s no doubt that Oruwariye helped himself Monday. The 40-yard dash was widely regarded as his most important drill — one expert told the CDT, ahead of the Combine, that was the case — and he finished well-above expectations there.
Here’s a closer look at Oruwariye’s measurables Monday and how they stacked up with the other cornerbacks at the NFL Combine:
Amani Oruwariye, CB
Height: 6-foot-1 5/8
40-yard dash: 4.47 seconds (T-12 out of 32 CBs)
Bench: 17 reps (T-5 out of 30 CBs)
Vertical jump: 36.5 inches (T-17 out of 27 CBs)
Broad jump: 120 inches (T-22 out of 28 CBs)
3 cone drill: 6.82 seconds (T-6 out of 19 CBs)
20-yard shuttle: 4.16 seconds (13 out of 20 CBs)