Wink, when they talk about OLB Odafe Oweh, they talk about off-the-charts athleticism. Is there anybody during your time that can compare to what he has been able to do, as far as athletically? (Jamison Hensley)
Martindale: "I don't sit and look at it that way. That's a good question. I know he had amazing numbers coming out. But as far as athletically, from the workout, this guy is special. I can't wait for this city to see how special he's going to be. It's a thing where, some people talk about sacks, because that's fantasy football, and that's what everyone wants to talk about. But this guy brings so much more to the table than that. And I know the sacks will come – and when they come, they'll come in bunches – because there's been plenty of players who have been All-Pros and Hall of Famers, if you will. I mean, [Hall of Fame linebacker] Lawrence Taylor, his junior year, he had two-and-a-half sacks – that's just one [example]. [Former defensive end] Richard Seymour for example – he had a sack-and-a-half coming out from [Georgia]. [Vikings defensive end] Danielle Hunter had a sack, I think, coming out [of LSU]. That's the biggest thing that everybody is asking – that they've asked me about, so far. But what he does when you put on the tape, is there is no one that I saw at that position that gets to the football as fast as he does, and plays as hard as he does. And I think the thing that this city is going to really love is when he gets there, he's not in a good mood. (laughter) So, I'm really excited to work with him. He had a great interview in the process. We're not one of those defenses with just one-front, one-coverage. We do some things a little bit differently than most. He understood the concepts of it. He's looking to get into the playbook right now. This is a smart, fast, really good outside 'backer who knows how to set the edge of the defense, and we can't wait to see him when we get everybody there."
Wink, can you just talk about how OLB Odafe Oweh and his versatility is really a good fit for your defense? What makes him such a good fit for your scheme? (Ryan Mink)
Martindale: "You've heard me say many times that this is a position-less defense, so we have guys playing all over the place. And with his athleticism, that we've already talked about, he can play a bunch of different spots. We'll start the whole thing out slow and get him going, but we're going to have a lot of fun with him. Not only on first and second down, but especially when we get to third down – moving him around, and we'll create our matchups from there, and watch him go to work."
You had two former teammates from Penn State who are Baltimore born and raised who played with you on the defensive line – DTs PJ Mustipher and Ellison Jordan. Have they reached out to you about the city? (Kevin Richardson)
Oweh: "Yes, my teammate PJ Mustipher, he actually was born, or he lives in Owings Mills. So, he always just told me I'm going to enjoy it, it's going to be so fun and it's a beautiful place. Yes, I've talked to PJ Mustipher about Baltimore and just the Maryland life."
The Ravens have not taken many Edge players in the first round, and the ones that they did have had significant history with the franchise – OLBs Peter Boulware, Terrell Suggs. What does it mean to you joining those names as a first-round pass rusher for the Ravens? (Kyle Barber)
Oweh: "It's an honor. It's really an honor – I'm lost for words. Because starting from where I came from and my journey here is just … Who would've thought? But I worked hard, and I worked a lot of hours to put myself in this position, and I believe I'm an intriguing player and my best years of football are ahead of me. So, it's an honor to be in this position."
Wink, was there a specific moment when you were watching tape or something … I don't want to say a turning point, but was there something that stuck out where you were like, "Oh my gosh. Yes, I want him." I want to say when you fell in love with him? (Gustavo Salazar)
Martindale:"Are you down at the stadium?" (Reporter: "No, that's my backdrop. I wish I was there.") "I know, I'm just messing with you. (laughter) I'm a high-tech guy; I know that's just your backdrop. (laughter) I think that, like I said before, when you see how he gets to the football, closing down the line of scrimmage and things like that, you're like, 'Wow.' Because he does it, and he does it with bad intentions when he gets there. The thing that stood out to me with Odafe [Oweh] is his play on first and second down is so much further ahead than most guys that you watch coming out of college, because you can tell that he made it a priority that he was going to set the edge of the defense – that's big in any defense, but especially ours – and how competitive he is. You could just see on every play; he was going to compete. Like I said, it's just one of those things now that we just can't wait to get rolling and get him in here and get going. We're finally getting close to playing football again."
Odafe, I'm sure the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind emotionally and just kind of craziness. Could you talk about what it was like as it was getting close to time for the Ravens to pick and what was going through your mind? Can you take us kind of behind the scenes of that moment? (Garrett Downing)
Oweh:"It was just a whole bunch of emotions. I was telling people that the 30 picks before you was probably the most anxiety-driven position I've ever been in, because you just wanted to be off the board, regardless of where you wanted to go. I always knew that Baltimore was somewhere I wanted to go. Baltimore was somewhere I could see myself in. So, when I saw the first Baltimore pick come and my phone didn't ring, I was like, 'Alright, OK. We still have another one. We still have another one.' So, when [pick] 31 came, I don't think I got the call as soon as the clock started, but once I got it, I was like, 'Oh, snap. It's happening. It's happening.' My family was a little loud in the background, so I couldn't even hear it. I couldn't even hear the call, and it hung up. So, I thought it was a spam call. I was going to be really disappointed if I waited that long and it was a spam call. I was like, 'Guys, shut up. Shut up. Shh.' Then they called back, and the moment happened. Everything was crazy. That's when you saw me dancing and put some moves out there. So, it was a great moment."
Odafe, that's exactly what I was going to ask you about. We all saw how excited you were and the dancing and everything. What was it like walking into the facility today? What were your emotions like? And regarding that dance, is that maybe a future sack dance we could see on Sundays? (Shawn Stepner)
Oweh:"When I drove into here, it was beautiful. It was like a castle. Just being introduced to my home, it was just a surreal feeling. [It was] a surreal feeling. So, I love it here. I already love the facility. So, it's already a check in the box. Regarding the dance, I don't know what my dance will be yet, but if people like that [and] the fans like that, I might have to stick with it." (laughter)
Odafe, who are some of the pass rushers or football guys in general that you grew up emulating and sort of pattern your game after? (Jeff Zrebiec)
Oweh:"I probably watched a few guys that have similar characteristics as me. But as a competitor, I'm in the League now. I don't want to give them all that praise yet, but I'll let them know who it is." (laughter)
Odafe, defensive coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale said you're a guy who comes kind of with bad intentions. You seem like you have a very serious kind of demeanor. Can you talk about where that comes from and kind of that switch that you flip on the football field? (Ryan Mink)
Oweh: "I'm a real chill, laidback, cool guy. I'm real nice and cool. It's just my size that people … And my face is real stoic. I'm a real cool guy, but once I get on the field, I just know it's business. I know that this is my ticket; this is what I have to do to change my family's lives. So, I take it really personally. I take it really seriously. Being in the situation I am in now, I just feel like it's the most conducive to be everything I think I can be. So, I'm real competitive – real, real competitive, and I carry myself in that way."
Congratulations. I heard you last night talk about how you came to football late and how you love football. Could you talk a little bit about that? What age were you when you really tried playing football, and how did that love come about? (Stan Charles)
Oweh: "I was around, probably, 17 – my junior year of high school at Blair Academy. I was at that turning point of I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I felt like, as a basketball player, I was always that physical, elbow, set hard screens, play hard 'D,' [and] I'd probably get like five fouls at the end of the game. I was always physical, so I wanted to give football a try. I felt like I had a better future there. And it was tough at first – making that adjustment – obviously, as a basketball player, physically and obviously mentally. But once you just see results and you just see the process and are just always working with it, you just fall in love with it. So, I would say, probably, after that first season, I knew this is what I wanted to do, and I just 'took the bulls by the horn,' and the rest is history."
I know you haven't seen him on the practice field yet, but do you have a sense for which outside linebacker position OLB Odafe Oweh would be best at? And then, just looking back at the film, I think everyone points to that Indiana game, where he was so disruptive. Did you happen to watch that game, and what did you take away from the potential that he showed, in terms of being a game-wrecker? (Jonas Shaffer)
Martindale: "Yes, I watched that game. The game is played about 80% of the time in subs, so he could play right or left end – that's another thing that stood out. Just like I told him when he got here, he controls the narrative. So, everybody is going to be asking this and asking what position you play. Trust me, he's going to know what everybody is doing on the defense by the time we get in there and kick it off this fall. He's got the best coach in the league in [outside linebackers coach] Drew Wilkins. He came back from his workout, because Drew was out there working him out, as well. When he came back from his workout, he had two things he wanted to tell me: Drew said that it was the best workout that he's ever seen live – ever – with Odafe. And he said – [director of publications] Marisol [Renner] probably knows where this is at – there's a place up there that has the best ice cream ever, so that's the two things he got coming back from Penn State. But you watch his game tape, [and] he's fun to watch. And when a guy is fun to watch, and you just don't sit there – because this is the time of year when you try to nitpick and critique. Especially the closer you get to the Draft, you try to find reasons why maybe you don't like him or why you're so high on a guy and others aren't, and things like that, and there was no way you could do that when you watch his game tape. And it's not just the Indiana game; it's all of his games. Like I said, I think he's going to fit perfect in our system. You guys all know his speed, and you know we like to pressure. So, with that speed and the way we pressure the quarterback, he's going to be very fun to watch."
You kind of touched on it in that previous question with what outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins said, but when you see those numbers, his size combination, how do you process a workout like that, with such eye-popping numbers from such a bigger guy? (Jeff Zrebiec)
Martindale: "When I got into the League, my first five years, I worked for Mr. Davis [former owner and general manager of the then Oakland Raiders Al Davis] in Oakland. The first thing I process is, 'Oh, Mr. Davis would love this guy.' May God rest his soul. Do you know what I mean? Just because he's off the charts athletically with the numbers that he has, so that intrigues you, as far as processing him, and it matches when you watch the game tape. Some guys don't. But you can see how hard he plays, and then you watch the workout, then you know how fast he gets there and why he gets there so fast, when you see those kinds of numbers."
I wonder how much does it mean to you to be drafted in the first round and to get to do that with your teammate LB Micah Parsons? And how much did you guys push each other during the pre-draft process to be your best? (Allie Berube)
Oweh: "Yes, it's definitely an honor to have two guys drafted in the first round [from Penn State]. I don't think we've done that since LaVar [Arrington] and Courtney [Brown]. So, it's a blessing, and it's a good story to do it with my guy Micah, because ever since freshman year, we've just been competing and trying to be, not just the best player at our position, just the best defensive player. I feel like that's what helps us just get better. We're not trying to look at the defensive end numbers and see if we can beat that or look at the linebacker numbers and see if we can beat that. We're trying to beat cornerbacks. We're trying to beat 'DBs' [defensive backs]. We're trying to beat running back numbers. So, we just compete. And if he beats me, I'm mad; I've got to beat him the next day. If I beat him, vice versa. The pre-draft process, I wish we could've been filming it, because there were some intense days, where we were just battling, just trying to get the numbers we wanted, and I feel like everything came into fruition with the Pro Day. I'm happy he went to Dallas and got everything he wanted. (Reporter: "He's still mad about the 40-time.") "I know he is. (laughter) I know he is. He lost."