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Odafe Oweh buries ‘zero-sack’ narrative in NFL debut

Question marks surrounding Odafe Oweh feel already put to bed

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Baltimore Ravens v Washington Football Team Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

When the Baltimore Ravens drafted Odafe Oweh, fans panicked about the ‘zero’ found in the sack column of his final year at Penn State. It’s been talked about by coaches and Oweh. It’s been covered by various outlets. Now, it’s been put to bed as Oweh sacked quarterback Derek Carr in his debut as a Raven.

But the sack against the Raiders doesn’t tell the whole story; just like the zero didn’t show how impactful Oweh was at Penn State. Pro Football Focus graded Odafe Oweh as the best rookie pass rusher in Week 1 and PFF’s Sam Monson gave him the third-best rookie grade.

“Oweh led all first-round rookies in pass-rushing snaps in Week 1 with 31,” Monson wrote. “He managed four total pressures, even if more than one of them were unblocked. He also recorded a sack on a play in which he beat fellow first-round rookie Alex Leatherwood and then chased down Derek Carr in the open field.”

These types of plays, sack or no sack, were what the Ravens saw from Oweh and what he could do for their defense. Back in April, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said Drew Wilkins, the Ravens outside linebackers coach, believed Oweh’s workout was the best he’s ever witnessed.

Wilkins spoke more on Oweh during training camp and how he’s going to be relied upon.

“This is a guy who’s going to come in and play for us right away,” Wilkins said. “So, whether it’s the run game, whether it’s executing the defense, whether it’s his one-on-one pass rush, whether it’s two-on-two games, whether it’s anything that he needs to do to execute highly in our defense, he needs to be there now, and we feel great about where he’s at. [With] that sense of urgency, every rep matters, every day matters.”

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh was impressed with Oweh’s performance against the Raiders, and not just because of the sacks. Harbaugh brought up his pressures were also impressive and that the talk about Oweh and “zero sacks” was “silliness and dumb talk.”

Now, the Ravens will be taking on the Kansas City Chiefs, the team whose pick they used to draft Oweh in exchange for tackle Orlando Brown Jr. It’s fair to assume Harbaugh and the Ravens’ front office would love to see Oweh cause some mayhem against the team they acquired the pick from, against the guy who they traded away.