Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah May Be The Steal of the Draft

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah May Be The Steal of the Draft

Danny Cunningham
3 years ago
3 min read
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah May Be The Steal of the Draft

The Browns may have found the steal of the 2021 NFL Draft in second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

He was projected by many to go in the first round this spring, but ultimately fell to the Browns at the No. 52 overall pick in the second round. Cleveland saw an opportunity and traded up for him, and it’s a move that looks like it may pay dividends. 

Owusu-Koramoah has been negatively, at times, classified as a bit of a tweener. He certainly looks the part of a safety more so than he does that of a linebacker, but in his first preseason game last week against Jacksonville, that didn’t look to matter much. While he didn’t start, he starred while he was on the field, which certainly could be viewed as a sign of things to come.

JOK out of Place: In a Good Way

When Owusu-Koramoah was on the field, he looked out of place to an extent, but in a good way. He was mostly competing against Jacksonville’s backups – the second-string players on a roster that already isn’t very good leaves quite a bit to be desired – and looked as if the speed of the game he was playing at was a notch higher than anyone else.

Part of the reason that Owusu-Koramoah was on the field so much in the preseason opener against Jacksonville was because he fell behind during training camp. His 10-day stint at the start of camp put him behind the eight ball, as it would have any rookie. A follow up performance this week in joint practices with the New York Giants and on Sunday in the second preseason game could vault him even higher.

What's JOK's Ceiling?

This leads to ask how high exactly the ceiling is for Owusu-Koramoah. There’s a reason that he was regarded as the best linebacker in the country last year in college football, winning the Butkus Award proving that. There’s also a reason that he dropped to the second round in the draft, and legitimate concerns as to whether or not he’s big enough of strong enough to shed blocks if opposing offensive linemen get their hands on him. That’s the biggest problem the Owusu-Koramoah looks to face at the NFL level.

The thing he may do best, and may already be the best on the Browns at, is blitzing. He showed this on his first action, coming up with a sack of Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence. If defensive coordinator Joe Woods wants to deploy a more aggressive unit this season than he did last season, blitzing the quarterback needs to be something that’s done. No returning linebacker for the Browns had more than 37 snaps in pass rush last year (Malcolm Smith), and only Mack Wilson graded out above 70 in the category on Pro Football Focus (in only 16 snaps). Those are areas where Owusu-Koramoah can come in and make an immediate impact. 

How Should the Browns Deploy Him?

For the Browns, he should be a perfect blend of getting after the passer from the linebacker spot and excel in coverage. In his last season at Notre Dame, Owusu-Koramoah finished with the second-highest PFF grade in slot coverage – among all players, not just linebackers – and finished with seven sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss in his two seasons.

It’s early, but Owusu-Koramoah has already started to show glimpse of what type of special weapon he can become for the Browns. His ceiling is a high one, and watching him ascend near it will be fascinating. 

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