At 6 feet 2 and 205 pounds, Oruwariye has the size and length the Lions wanted to complement Slay, a two-time Pro Bowler, in their secondary.
“It just allows me to be able to match up with bigger receivers that the teams bring,” Oruwariye said. “It allows me to use my body to my abilities and really dominate at the line of scrimmage and go up with receivers and make plays on the ball.”
A first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Oruwariye led Penn State with 11 passes defensed and had three interceptions.
He’s much more fleet of foot than the last big cornerback the Lions drafted, Teez Tabor, and his presence could mean the end of Tabor’s tenure in Detroit.
Tabor, a second-round pick in 2017, ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash coming out of college and his lack of speed has hampered his development as a pro.
Oruwariye, with a similar frame, ran a 4.47-second 40 at the NFL combine.
The Lions have revamped their secondary this offseason, cutting 2/5 of last year’s starters in Glover Quin and Nevin Lawson and adding Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin in free agency and Oruwariye and third-round pick safety Will Harris in the draft.
Coleman and Slay project as the Lions’ starting cornerbacks next season, with Coleman moving inside and Melvin joining them on the field in nickel packages, and Tabor and Jamal Agnew are among those competing for backup spots.
Along with Slay, Oruwariye said he tries to model his game after Richard Sherman because of his size and Jalen Ramsey because of his physicality.
“All three of those guys are great corners in the league that I can definitely take something from and learn from,” Oruwariye said.
As for slipping to Round 5 after some projected him as a Day 2 pick, Oruwariye said he doesn’t have the time “to sit there and dwell on what didn’t happen and what should have happened.”
“I’m just going to make the other 31 teams that didn’t draft me pay when my opportunity comes and just go with my standards,” he said. “I’m going to work hard regardless of where I’m picked at. It doesn’t matter what day, when, where, I’m going to work hard. That’s my standard, so that’s not going to change.”