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Amani Oruwariye seeking career rejuvenation with Giants

The Giants’ cornerback room has many bodies but also many questions

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys
Amani Oruwariye
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The New York Giants’ 2022 cornerback room was often a revolving door due to injuries and shaky performances. Besides drafting Deonte Banks in the first round, general manager Joe Schoen also added a number of other players to compete for cornerback spots. Former Detroit Lions corner Amani Oruwariye is one of the more experienced corners on the team, but his chances of making the roster are still murky.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 205
Age: 27
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 4
Contract: One year, $1,232,500 million | Guaranteed at signing: $52,500 | 2023 cap hit: $1,092,500

Career to date

Oruwariye was drafted by the Lions out of Penn State with the 146th overall pick in 2019. As a rookie, he appeared in nine games (two starts) and recorded 19 total tackles, three passes defensed, and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall grade of 71.4 on 215 defensive snaps, including a 75.3 coverage grade. However, he did allow 18 of 22 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns for a targeted passer rating of 108.5.

In his second season, Oruwariye was elevated to a starting role and played all 16 games. He had 53 combined tackles, one for loss, seven passes defensed, and one interception. However, his PFF grade plummeted to 50.4, including a 51.2 coverage grade. He allowed 42 of 76 receptions (55.3%) for 733 yards and three touchdowns, including 17.5 total yards per catch and 7.2 yards after catch per reception. His targeted passer rating was 96.0, and he was called for seven penalties.

2021 was a mixed bag for Oruwariye. He played in and started 14 games, logging 57 total tackles, two for loss, 11 passes defensed, six interceptions, and one fumble recovery. He allowed 41 of 69 receptions (59.4%) for 582 yards and two touchdowns for a 60.2 passer rating. However, he was also called for eight penalties, which likely contributed to his 59.0 PFF grade and 60.3 coverage grade.

The wheels came off for Oruwariye in 2022. As part of the Lions’ leaky secondary, Oruwariye lost his starting job following Week 8. Overall, he played in 14 games and started five of them. He had 44 combined tackles, one for loss, three passes defensed, and one fumble recovery. However, his PFF grade was putrid at 30.0, including a 31.3 coverage grade. He allowed 39 of 52 receptions (75%) for 504 yards and four touchdowns for a 130.6 passer rating. He was also called for an astounding 10 penalties.

Oruwariye’s rookie contract with the Lions expired this offseason. He signed a one-year deal with the Giants for just above the veteran minimum and minimal guaranteed money.

2023 outlook

Oruwariye is coming off a miserable season with the Lions. Most of his career has been defined by high yardage totals and constant penalties. His saving grace in 2021 was his ballhawking skills, but interceptions are an unstable statistic.

In a cornerback room with many names but not much proven talent, Oruwariye would seem to be a name to watch.

Considering the younger options the Giants have beyond Adoree’ Jackson and Banks, including Cor’Dale Flott, Nick McCloud, Aaron Robinson, Rodarius Williams, Darnay Holmes, Zyon Gilbert, Leonard Johnson, and sixth-round draft pick Tre Hawkins III, Oruwariye will have to prove that he’s worth a spot. The Giants can cut ties with him easily.

If he does not make the Giants’ 53-man roster, it’s more likely than not that he’ll find another spot in the league. Cornerbacks with that much starting experience usually get a second chance somewhere, and Oruwariye’s six interceptions in 2021 may turn some team’s head. Whether he can stick on one roster for the season is a different story and will depend on his play. Training camp will be an audition for Oruwariye, both to the Giants and the rest of the NFL.