Odafe Oweh Aims to 'Dominate More' in Year 2

OLB Odafe Oweh

In his rookie season, Odafe Oweh gave the Ravens a taste of his game-changing ability.

It started in Week 2, when Oweh made two signature plays during a 36-35 win over the Chiefs that earned the AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award. On Kansas City's final possession, Oweh stripped the ball from running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and recovered the fumble with cat-like quickness.

Earlier in the game with Baltimore trailing by 11, Oweh pressured Patrick Mahomes into an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Tavon Young, changing the game's momentum.

Those plays amplified Oweh's off-the-charts athletic ability at outside linebacker. With five sacks, 33 tackles and 15 quarterback hits, Oweh made the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team as a first-round pick from Penn State.

Now, as he begins OTAs and prepares for Year 2, Oweh is looking for more consistency and more production, continuing his rapid rise as an intriguing talent who didn’t begin football until the 11th grade. Oweh's desire to be great is a trait the Ravens recognized when they drafted him 31st overall, and his hunger was clear when asked about his expectations for next season.

"Just to dominate more," Oweh said. "Finish. Be there more for my team, in terms of making the plays in situations that we need. Be more aware, in terms of things going on around me. I don't want to give you like the specifics, because you don't do that. [I just want] to be an overall better player and everything like that."

Oweh was working out in California prior to OTAs, pushing himself to raise his game to another level.

He has also been rehabbing from shoulder surgery in January, the aftermath of an injury that forced Oweh to play through pain last season. He doesn't make excuses, but Oweh didn't have a sack after Week 11 and didn't play the final two games of the season. Oweh is getting close to 100 percent and said it felt good to be healthier.

"I'm just trying to strengthen it, take it day-by-day," Oweh said. "It kind of bothered a little bit. But coming from Penn State, growing up where I grew up, you learned to play through stuff like that and not even thinking about it until the end. It definitely got a little bit more hectic towards the end of the season, but I'm good now. I'm straight."

Oweh's excitement for next season grew even more when the Ravens drafted his former Blair Academy (N.J) high school teammate David Ojabo in the second round. Ojabo suffered a torn Achilles during his Pro Day, but the Ravens expect him to be ready to play at some point during the season. Oweh and Ojabo will use their bond to motivate each other.

"That's my longtime friend since high school," Oweh said. "He got me through a lot of stuff. So, it feels good to finally be in the league with him and get a chance to craft and really just go and win."

New Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald coached Ojabo at Michigan, and now Macdonald and Oweh have begun their coach-player relationship. It's going well, and Oweh had already received word from his friend that he would like playing for Macdonald.

"I love Coach Mike 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. I'm buying in. I think a lot of the other guys are buying in as well. I'm cool with it man, I'm cool with him. I'm a full go. Let's go."

Coaches often talk about the growth that they hope to see from players moving from Year 1 to Year 2, and Oweh senses that happening. He feels more comfortable, and he's raising the bar for what he expects.

"Just the knowledge of things that I didn't know my rookie year. Things I didn't even know I didn't know," Oweh said. "In the classroom, in terms of my body, being more prepared. I had the shoulder thing. I'm farther ahead of where I was rookie camp, I just feel better as an athlete.

"Basically, I'm just extremely raw. 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."

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