OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens linebacker Odafe Oweh was feeling pretty good about his rookie season until he watched the tape.
“Basically, I’m just extremely raw," Oweh said. "I’m a ‘potential’ guy, basically. So, I’m watching the film [from] last year [and] I’m like, ‘Oh, I did crazy good. I did all this stuff.’ And then you watch it now in the offseason, and I’m like, ‘There’s so much stuff you can work on.’ So, there’s a lot to build on. I’m so excited, because even next year – or even this year – it’s going to be a crazy jump. And I’m ready.”
Oweh did have a solid rookie season, finishing second on the Ravens with five sacks. Oweh is poised to have another stellar year after fixing a labrum injury that has reportedly hampered him since college.
He was limited in the Ravens' first OTAs but he is progressing well.
"I had surgery at the end of January," Oweh said. "So, [I’m] a few months out. But I feel good, I feel good. I’m just trying to strengthen it, take it day-by-day, and I’m going to be out there soon.”
Oweh could thrive even more under new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who has a solid track record in developing linebackers.
When Macdonald was the Ravens linebackers' coach from 2018 to 2020, Baltimore had the NFL’s No. 1 overall defense (307.8 ypg) and allowed the league’s fewest points per game (18.2).
Veteran linebackers Matthew Judon (2019-20) and C.J. Mosley (2018) also each earned Pro Bowl honors under Macdonald.
I love Coach Mike [Macdonald] already," Oweh said. "When I first got here, he laid it down for me and told me what he expected of me and what he wanted. He wanted me here [for OTAs] and everything. I’m buying in. I think a lot of the other guys are buying in as well. And I saw what he did with David [Ojabo], one of my friends, and everything. So, I’m cool with it man, I’m cool with him. I’m a full go. Let’s go.”
Oweh is a solid athlete that consistently creates matchup problems because of his size — 6-foot-5, 251 pounds — and speed.
Oweh also dealt with a foot injury late last season, but that didn't dampen his performance.
Oweh was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. In that Week 2 matchup, Oweh forced a fumble against running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and then recovered the ball with 1:26 left to play helping seal the 36-35 victory.
In Week 12 against the Cleveland Browns, Oweh became the NFL’s only rookie last season to post a sack, forced fumble and fumble return in the same game.
Oweh was named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team.
"I feel like just the knowledge of things that I didn’t know my rookie year," Oweh said. "Things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. In the classroom, in terms of my body, being more prepared. You know I had the shoulder thing. I feel like everything else … I’m farther ahead of where I was rookie camp, [and] all that stuff. I just feel better as an athlete. And then, obviously, being a good outside linebacker, I feel good as well.”