Ravens: Odafe Oweh predicted to lead all rookies in sacks in 2021

Ravens, Odafe Oweh Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Odafe Oweh Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens went into the 2021 NFL Draft looking to bolster their pass rush after losing both Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. And they did so by selecting Penn State’s Odafe Oweh in the first round.

Oweh was widely seen as one of the most talented edge rushers in the 2021 class with unmatched athleticism and raw talent. But perhaps the most important word being “raw.”

A one-year starter at Penn State, Oweh didn’t record a single sack in 2020 despite starting seven games, but he was still disruptive enough to be named first-team All-Big Ten.

Despite failing to tally a single sack a year ago, ESPN’s Matt Bowen recently predicted that Oweh would lead all rookies in sacks in 2021. A bold proclamation, but one that makes some degree of sense.

The Ravens have high hopes for Odafe Oweh

Oweh may be raw as a prospect, but he’ll likely receive every opportunity to make an impact early in his career.

The Ravens’ outside linebacker depth chart is thin at the moment with his primary competition for playing time coming with the likes of Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson, and fellow 2021 draftee Daelin Hayes.

Oweh should have no trouble getting on the field. After that, it’s all about producing.

Bowen explained how the Ravens’ scheme could maximize Oweh’s athletic traits.

"“In the Ravens’ pressure fronts, however, Oweh has the explosive traits to be schemed as a pass rusher. Create one-on-one edge matchups, while also utilizing Oweh’s short-area speed on twists and stunts to get home to the quarterback.”"

At 6-foot-4, 257 pounds, Oweh is a freaky athlete with incredible twitch and rare athleticism. His lack of instincts and a true pass-rush arsenal could hold him back early on, but Oweh projects as a future All-Pro if his development goes according to plan.

Leading all rookies in sacks in his first year, however, could prove to be a challenge.

Bowen is correct in asserting that the Ravens’ scheme is perfectly designed for a twitched-up rusher like Oweh. However, the team does also ask a lot of their linebackers and it could be overwhelming for rookies.

That’s doubly true for someone like Oweh who is not only unrefined, but primarily played a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end role at Penn State.

Next. Ravens: 3 early takeaways from rookie minicamp 2021. dark

The sky is the limit for Odafe Oweh in the NFL, but it might be best to temper expectations in his rookie season.