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New York Giants CB Amani Oruwariye: The Good, the Great, and the Ugly

Coach Gene Clemons breaks down Amani Oruwariye's game to reveal a player that could be surprising.

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen may have found a gem with the signing of former Detroit starting cornerback Amani Oruwariye.

The Penn State product played four seasons for the Lions but lost his starting job last season due to nagging injuries and early season critical penalties.

The 27-year-old is only one season removed from his best season as a pro and, if healthy, could be in line for a bounce-back season. At best, he steps right in and fills the corner spot opposite Adoree' Jackson. At worst, he is a high-quality backup which gives the team a legitimate starter as depth.

Let's look at the good, the great, and the ugly of the Giants' newest addition in the defensive backfield.

The Good: Tackling

Oruwariye is a 6-foot-1 cornerback with long arms that allow him to reach out and grab ball carriers or receivers before they try to make a move after they catch the ball. He uses good technique, but he also has that "by any means necessary" mentality when it comes to bringing ball carriers to the ground.

He is also a good tackler in open spaces. He can close on receivers quickly, so they cannot gain extra yards after the catch. Oruwariye's tackling ability is a strength of his game. He is a reliable tackler who can help his team stop the run. He is also a good tackler in open space, which is important when you play a lot of man coverage. 

Most of the time, you're the only thing standing between an offensive player and the endzone. On a defense like the Giants, that is valuable. He is not a

headhunter or a big hitter, but in today's NFL, being one of those can cost you money. He does a good job of sinking his hips and using his arms to wrap offensive players up and drag them to the ground.

The Great: Sticky in Coverage

One of the reasons Oruwariye was able to earn a starting position with the Lions was his ability in man coverage. He uses his long arms to jam receivers on the line or simply disrupt their releases.

While in coverage, he uses them like rangefinders to either gauge how much distance exists between him and the receiver or to gently reel in a receiver who has created too much separation. 

That, combined with good athleticism and mental acuity, has allowed him to carve out a good niche as one of the better coverage cornerbacks in the NFC. What also makes him so dangerous in pass coverage is his ability to get his hands on the ball and either force a pass breakup or an interception.

Last season dealing with injury and a demotion, he could not pick off any passes over his five starts and backup duty, but he still managed three pass breakups. However, in 2021, his breakout season, he intercepted the ball six times and recorded 11 pass defenses.

The Ugly: Penalties

After a stellar 2021 season, Oruwariye was inconsistent in coverage, sometimes making plays and being taken advantage of. There are times when your biggest gift can be your biggest curse.

Oruwariye’s ability to be sticky on receivers comes at a cost. One of the main issues was his propensity for drawing penalties. This was normally a result of bad positioning or getting beat on a play. It seemed as if Oruwariye was not as locked in or disciplined as he had been in past seasons, and it caught up with him. 

It is likely that dealing with injuries last season caught up to him and probably cost him some confidence in his athleticism which made him reach out and grab for receivers in coverage more often than you would like to see. The results were illegal contact, defensive holding, and pass interference penalties.

Ultimately, the Lions benched him during the season and signed other options this offseason, signaling to Oruwariye that they were going in a different direction.

Final Thoughts

This is a low-risk, high-reward signing for New York. It proves that Joe Schoen is looking for opportunities to add quality talent to the team. For Oruwariye, this could be a nice mid-career reset that allows him to refocus on a defense tailor-made for his skillset.

If he can remain healthy, which is always a concern for players coming off seasons where they have been injured, he could be a quality part of the 2023 Giants roster.