A superb athlete who is oozing with potential as an edge rusher, Odafe Oweh was selected by the Ravens with the 31st pick in the 2021 draft.
The lack of sack production is puzzling, yet Oweh's physical gifts give him the potential to develop into an elite NFL pass rusher. He put up numbers that had scouts riveted at his Pro Day – a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash, a 39.5 vertical leap and a 134-inch broad jump. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on "The Lounge" podcast that Oweh's presence on defense is impossible to ignore.
"They've always been an organization that values production," Jeremiah said. "When you look at Jayson Oweh, this flies in the face of that. He didn't have a sack this year, as everybody knows. But to me, while the production might not be there, the disruption is, and he's someone that just creates a lot of havoc."
Oweh is not just a pass rusher but an excellent run defender. He often barged into the backfield at Penn State to make tackles behind the line of scrimmage. His potential, versatility and relentless motor sold the Ravens.
Size: 6-foot-5, 257 pounds
2020 stats: 7 games, 38 tackles, 0 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss
2019 stats: 11 games, 5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles
Why he fits the Ravens: Baltimore was in the market for pass rushers in this draft after losing Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward in free agency. Oweh will be given an opportunity to have an immediate impact as a pass rusher and run defender who can penetrate into the backfield. The Ravens are looking for someone who can help them pressure quarterbacks with just four rushers, and Oweh could fill that role.
How the pick went down: Oweh was one of several edge rushers linked to the Ravens in mock drafts, a list that included Kwity Paye of Michigan, Jaelan Phillips of Miami, Azeez Ojulari of Georgia and Gregory Rousseau of Miami. Paye, Phillips and Rousseau were all off the board, leaving Oweh as one of the talented pass rushers they wanted who was still available.
Background: Oweh didn't start playing football until age 16. Before his junior year, he transferred high schools to Blair Academy (New Jersey) with the intention of earning a basketball scholarship. He needed to play two sports, and the school's football coaches convinced him to come out for the team and quickly became one of the top recruits in his class. Considering his freakish athleticism, Oweh could only be scratching the surface of his potential. His draft stock continued to rise in April, especially after his Pro Day.
What the Ravens said: "He's a great fit. He's an aggressive player, runs to the ball, very fast. He's in the backfield constantly, he's knocking people back into the backfield, running things down from behind. I think he's a perfect fit for our defense, I know our defensive coaches are excited, I think our players are going to love him. We're really excited to have him. This player is going to make a difference for us." – Head Coach John Harbaugh
What Oweh said: "People that really understood and watch football understand what I was doing out there. I caused a lot of havoc and I was very stout in the run game. I was beating my man. People understood that the zero sacks had no definition of who I was as a player. What I probably have to work on his general technique and experience in the game. I started five years ago so I'm going to play catchup but I love to learn. It was a tough first 30 picks. I was just waiting to be given that chance. I'm happy Baltimore believed in me."