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Odafe Oweh Has High Expectations: 'I'm Chasing Perfection'

OLB Odafe Oweh
OLB Odafe Oweh

Entering his fourth season, Odafe Oweh believes he could be the Ravens' next defensive player to break out.

The outside linebacker has been a noticeable presence on defense during offseason practices, knifing into the backfield consistently and giving offensive linemen fits. Oweh enjoyed his best season in 2023 with five sacks, 23 tackles, 12 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles, despite missing four games with an early-season ankle injury.

Baltimore exercised the fifth-year option on Oweh's contract in April, and he is intent on picking up where he left off last season. At 6-foot-5, 257 pounds with quickness, agility, intelligence, and a strong work ethic, Oweh got a late start in football as a high school junior, but as his experience grows, so does his confidence. As the 25-year-old looks forward to training camp and beyond, Oweh sees nothing holding him back from having his best season.

"If you don't put high expectations on yourself, you won't even get close to the level you want," Oweh said after the final practice of mandatory minicamp. "I'm not trying to be perfect, but I'm chasing perfection, as close as I can get to it. I put high expectations on myself because I believe I can get to that level. God gave me broad shoulders for a reason."

With the departure of Jadeveon Clowney to the Carolina Panthers in free agency, Oweh and others will be counted on more heavily to keep Baltimore's pass rush percolating. Entering his 11th season with two Super Bowl rings, veteran outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy says Oweh has all the tools to become a double-digit sack artist.

"He's impressive, man. He's a specimen," Van Noy said. "I try to keep him next to me all the time and make sure he's always pressing and doing the right thing.

"I really expect him to bounce off the charts this year. He showed a lot of signs last year, but I think with him gaining confidence, understanding who he is – he's still maturing. It's amazing to see how mature he's gotten already. I'm excited to see his future, and I'll be his cheerleader, that's for sure."

When Pass Rush Coach Chuck Smith joined the Ravens' staff in 2023, it gave Oweh another mentor to help him develop pass rush moves. As Oweh becomes more polished as a pass rusher, he also becomes more patient.

"As a pass rusher, you might get up to bat 20 times and only get home two times, but those two times could be huge," Oweh said. "I understand that if you keep doing the right things, you're going to get hits and sacks.

"My first few years, I tried stuff and if it didn't work, I'd think I failed. The main is being consistent. Take advantage of every rep, every game, every chance that you're out there. Every year that you're in the league is like a separate moment. It means something. Fans are watching, everyone's watching, you're adding to your legacy. You've got to make everything count in practice, so when you're out there in a game, it feels natural."

Oweh planned to take a few days off after mandatory minicamp but will spend most of the next few weeks working out and getting ready for training camp. Last season, defensive teammates Kyle Hamilton and Justin Madubuike became Pro Bowlers for the first time. Oweh wouldn't mind following suit, but his main goal is to help the Ravens win a Super Bowl as he continues striving to take his game to another level.

"People have been saying I'm going to have a breakout year ever since I was at Penn State," Oweh said. "This is nothing new. I take it as a compliment. People think I have another level I can get to. Everyone sees it. I have confidence. The onus is on me, and I take that responsibility."

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