Ravens: Odafe Oweh is an early favorite for Rookie of the Year
Forget about Lamar Jackson winning MVP. How about some love for Baltimore Ravens rookie Odafe Oweh and his chance to win AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2021?
There were, and still are, doubters of Oweh’s ability to make a significant impact in Baltimore’s defense this year, and at the time, the odds were stacked against him.
He was a rookie playing one of the most difficult positions in football. He didn’t record a sack in his final collegiate season. He’s “just” a project, a player who might needs years before he’s ready to contribute consistently.
Now, look at him run.
In his first regular-season game, Oweh already had people chanting his name. In Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs, the first-round pick knocked the ball out of Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s hands, recovered the fumble, and protected the Ravens’ one-point lead at the end of the game.
Of course, Jackson will be more remembered for his heroics in that game, but Oweh deserves a spotlight right next to him. Along with that fumble, Oweh recorded three tackles and a quarterback hit on Patrick Mahomes that led to an interception.
Ravens rookie Odafe Oweh has relatively high odds of winning Rookie of the Year
Slowly but surely, Oweh has been climbing the rookie draft class and has, in turn, increased his projected odds of gaining some serious league recognition.
According to WynnBET, Oweh’s odds of winning Defensive Rookie of the Year are +1200, tied with Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.
Ahead of Oweh, Micah Parsons is the favorite at +400, followed by Patrick Surtain II, Jamin Davis, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Some stiff competition, to be sure, but Oweh’s used to adversity.
The only first-year Ravens defender to bring home the coveted Rookie of the Year award was Terrell Suggs in 2003 when he set the franchise single-season sack record for a rookie (12).
After his standout performance against Kansas City, Oweh (and most other Ravens) didn’t do much against the Detroit Lions, but the rookie came out in a solid outing against the Denver Broncos last Sunday.
Notching his second sack of the season, Oweh sped around the edge to target quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for a nine-yard loss.
Oweh nearly got another sack in the fourth quarter, once again showing his speed and tactical intelligence.
He’s still got a long way to go to catch up to Suggs’ rookie numbers, but the Ravens will likely up his defensive workload as the season progresses. More chance for him to shine.
If Odafe Oweh keeps up this production week in and week out, he won’t only elicit chants from the Ravens’ crowd — he’ll also get league-wide acclaim as one of the top young prospects in football.