Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah | Notre Dame 6’1½ ” 221 lbs. 11/4/1999 (Age 21)
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was drafted 52nd overall by the Cleveland Browns, becoming the 24th defensive player drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.
After not participating in any games as a freshman, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah or “JOK” played in two games as a sophomore before breaking his foot in practice. Unfortunately, he missed the entire season that year. His hard work from rehab in the offseason paid off, as he returned to start and become a captain in an outstanding junior campaign. That year he was recognized as one of the best linebackers in the country. JOK won the Butkus Award as the country’s top linebacker and was also a finalist for the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy. He was named a first-team Associated Press All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior, he picked up where he left off, but admittedly, was not as big of a playmaker.
In 2020, JOK led the Irish to an NCAA playoff berth in the Rose Bowl. The 21-year-old defensive star has played in 25 collegiate level games over the past two seasons, and has proven his abilities at every level of the field. In his career, Owusu-Koramoah produced 142 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, seven passes defended, five forced fumbles, and four fumbles recovered. The Notre Dame alum has been dominant, using his athleticism and speed to attack the ball and make game-changing plays.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would be the ultimate chess piece for Don Martindale’s defense pic.twitter.com/1OhafGURW6
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) April 28, 2021
Surprisingly, what makes JOK a relentless defender also may be the reason for his doubters’ concerns. JOK is an undersized LB at just 221 lbs. and his movement and athleticism could allow him to play safety. Unfortunately, he falls into the Isaiah Simmons and Derwin James category of sheer “athlete.” His level of explosiveness, aggressiveness, and change of direction are rare. Though he needs to polish up on fundamentals to be successful at the LB position, defensive coordinators covet his coverage and sideline-to-sideline abilities that are more valuable than ever in the modern NFL.
Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is so versatile pic.twitter.com/yHGdWxHnrU
— Matt Gajewski (@Matt_Gajewski) April 28, 2021
JOK stood on his game film to represent his speed for teams, so while he didn’t run the 40, he tested well otherwise. At the Notre Dame Pro Day, he jumped a 36.5” vertical and a 10’4” broad jump and he posted times of 4.15 in the shuttle and 6.81 in the three-cone drill. His measurements and testing numbers do not appear to be of much concern for most teams, as they love what JOK has put on film.
Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Above-Average
Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Below-Average
JOK was selected with the 52nd pick by the Cleveland Browns. He should be able to compete for snaps early in the Browns LB corps, but it will be interesting to see where and how they utilize him. The landing spot does not appear to be ideal, as the Browns are carrying several effective LBs in Anthony Walker, Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki, Jacob Phillips, and Malcolm Smith. However, none of them are especially adept in coverage, with Takitaki being the best of the bunch. JOK immediately becomes a second and third-down player in sub-packages and obvious passing situations. Your author is assuming (*HOPING*) Cleveland does not feel the need to move JOK to Safety, and that he will receive an LB designation for IDP fantasy.
As already mentioned, JOK has a skill-set and mentality that DCs covet for their schemes. Whether he is labeled an LB or a S will not affect his NFL career path, However, his positional designation is of extreme importance to IDP fantasy. If he gets tagged as safety then your author will most likely not own him in any leagues.
Conversely, if Owusu-Koramoah is labeled an LB then he should be valued in the 1st tier of IDP players in rookie drafts. Pending league scoring, JOK could be the first or second defender taken in 2021 rookie drafts. As an LB, JOK should be selected in the second round of most rookie drafts. He has the potential to become an LB1 as a player who should rarely leave the field.
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