Amani Oruwariye accomplished a lot of the personal goals he set for himself going into last year.
The Lions veteran cornerback finished the 2021 season ranked third in the NFL with six interceptions despite playing in only 14 games. Opposing passers completed less than 60 percent of their passes when throwing at him with a 60.2 passer rating. Over the course of last season, Oruwariye really established himself as a No. 1-caliber cornerback in just his third NFL season.
Heading into year four, Oruwariye said his goals have shifted more toward team-oriented goals.
"I think the next step is to win more games," Oruwariye said Wednesday. "I think carrying over to the next year and bring that experience and get any of the new guys meshing into the room well and just elevate the younger guys and just keep being consistent as much as I can."
Since making his NFL debut in 2019, Oruwariye is one of just six NFL cornerbacks to log at least 125 tackles, 20 pass defenses and nine interceptions in that span. His ball production has been great.
Oruwariye is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and Lions general manager Brad Holmes mentioned him earlier this offseason – along with tight end T.J. Hockenson – as players the team could look to re-sign this summer or fall. Asked about that Wednesday, Oruwariye said he loves Detroit, and would certainly want to re-sign if the opportunity presents itself.
Oruwariye proved last year he's become Detroit's No. 1 cornerback, especially with former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah battling injuries and playing in only 10 games his first two seasons.
Oruwariye said the next step in his development is keeping up the ball production while traveling with the opponent's best receiver.
"I would love any kind of responsibility that brings," Oruwariye said. "If you're a corner in this league you're making plays to become that No. 1 corner. You want that respect around the league from receivers, corners, teammates and your locker room. That's always been the goal to be that guy that has to step up to the plate every game."
The Lions have assembled a pretty versatile and deep cornerback room with a lot of different body types and skillsets. Okudah (Achilles) and Jerry Jacobs (ACL) are expected back in the fold sometime this summer, and it will be interesting to see how the depth chart plays at out cornerback once everyone is back and available.
Based off Oruwariye's 2021 season, he heads into his fourth year as Detroit's No. 1 cornerback looking to continue to elevate his game and help this team win more games in 2022.