The Ravens selected Penn State edge rusher Odafe Oweh with the No. 31 overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night, addressing their pass-rush hole with one of the draft’s most intriguing players.
Oweh didn’t have a sack last season, his only year as a starter for the Nittany Lions, but he was a strong run defender whose stock soared at his pro day. At 6 feet 5 and 257 pounds, Oweh ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds.
“That’s something we talked about, but we also watched the tape,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Oweh’s statistics. “Then you look at his athletic ability, and just for that very fact, we feel like he’s a great fit in our defense. He’s an aggressive player. He runs to the ball very fast. He’s in the backfield constantly. He’s knocking people back into the backfield. He’s beating tackles into the backfield. He runs things down from behind. I think he’s a perfect fit for our defense.”
The former star at New Jersey’s Blair Academy didn’t start playing football until he was a junior in high school — just five years ago. But he is one of the most physically imposing players in the draft, twice ranking in the top 10 on reporter Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” because of his athletic testing numbers.
“I still have so much in the tank, so much untapped potential that, me, I don’t even know, and the people that drafted me don’t even know yet,” Oweh said. “I feel like I can be the most dominant defensive end, the most dominant player – defensive player – in this draft, just off of me learning how to get better, learning the scheme better and just getting more experience as a player.”
As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he recorded five sacks and two forced fumbles in 13 games.
“What you see on the tape, you see the explosiveness on film [and] the speed on film,” Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. “Then when you see it happen again at the Pro Day live and in-person … Myself and [outside linebackers coach] Drew Wilkins were there, and we were able to watch him perform right in front of us. To watch him bend, watch him explode [and] to turn the corner through the bags, it was really impressive. It just kind of matched up with what you’re seeing on tape in terms of athleticism.”
The Ravens earlier took Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman at No. 27 overall.