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The workout: Odafe Oweh’s speed and power at pro day made believers of Ravens

Sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic last fall, Ravens officials and scouts watched much of the college football season from home, NFL prospects reduced to pixels. But when games crawled back to normalcy and scouts descended on campuses for pro days, Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz thought of John Harbaugh .

“Could you feel the speed of a player? Could you feel the power?” Hortiz said at the team’s predraft news conference last week, recalling what a favorite saying of the Ravens coach. “Our guys were there to see that and get that exposure.”

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At Penn State’s pro day in late March, it would’ve been possible to feel Odafe Oweh’s speed and power all the way in Philadelphia. How impressive was the Nittany Lions edge rusher’s showcase for NFL coaches and scouts? As Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale recalled Friday, Ravens outside linebackers coach came back to Baltimore raving that it was “the best workout that he’s ever seen live. Ever.” On Thursday, the team drafted him No. 31 overall.

There wasn’t a lot of precedent for what Oweh did. At 6 feet 5 and 257 pounds, Oweh ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds — an unofficial time, but about as fast as Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman ran at nearly 70 pounds lighter. His 39 ½-inch vertical leap, which ranked in the 96th percentile among edge rushers, was one inch less than Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell’s predraft mark. His 134-inch broad jump would have tied for fifth among all NFL scouting combine participants last year.

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Oweh wasn’t just explosive but quick, too. His three-cone-drill and 20-yard-shuttle times ranked in the 93rd and 90th percentile, respectively. Maybe the only regular part of his workout was the bench press, where he did 21 repetitions of 225 pounds.

Oweh’s pass-rush production at Penn State wasn’t exceptional — just seven sacks over three seasons, and none in 2020 — but his testing confirmed what Martindale saw on tape. He was an exceptional prospect.

“When I got into the league, my first five years, I worked for Mr. [Al] Davis in Oakland,” Martindale said, referring to the late owner of the Oakland Raiders, a speed-obsessed executive. “The first thing I process [about Oweh’s pro day] is, ‘Oh, Mr. Davis would love this guy.’ ...

“I mean, he’s off the charts athletically with the numbers that he has. So that intrigues you as far as processing it, and then it matches when you watch the game tape. Some guys don’t. But you can see how hard he plays, and then you watch the workout, then you know how fast he gets there and why he gets there so fast.”

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