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Will Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah take Washington’s defense over the top?

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2021 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the WFT

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB

School: Notre Dame | Conference: ACC

College Experience: Senior | Age: 21

Height / Weight: 6’1” / 215 lbs

Projected Draft Status: 1st Round

Player Comparison: Mark Barron

College Statistics

Player Overview

A highly-touted linebacker from Hampton, Virginia, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was a three-star recruit that decommitted from UVA to attend Notre Dame. His freshman year, he only played on the scout team. He thought he’d see the field his sophomore year, but a broken foot forced him to miss the season after only two games. This setback forced Owusu-Koramoah focused on how to watch tape, learn the playbook, and improve technique. This paid dividends for him. His junior year, playing a hybrid linebacker/safety for Notre Dame, Owusu-Koramoah showed he could do it all. He amassed sacks and tackle for losses while dropping into coverage on slot wide receivers. His play in his senior season was just as good, winning the Butkus Award, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and being named a unanimous All-American.

Strengths

  • Speed and athleticism to play every down
  • Physical hitter who gets the ball carrier down if he makes contact
  • Excellent in man coverage with the speed to stay with WRs/RBs
  • Slippery around the line of scrimmage, easily avoiding blockers to get in the backfield

Weaknesses

  • If blockers get their hands on him, has a hard time disengaging
  • Can play too fast, causing him to get out of position and not make a play
  • Didn’t see this on tape, but may be a little small to cover TEs

Let’s see his work

How He Would Fit

Watching Owusu-Koramoah play was fascinating. He seemed to be all over the field making plays I’m not sure other players in this draft can make. Other times, he seemed to be playing a bit out of control and reckless. Sometimes he’s going so fast, it causes him to miss a tackle. His size is a concern if blockers get their hands on him, but he does a great job of evading them. He is explosive, shooting past blockers in the blink of an eye to make plays in the backfield. He uses that explosiveness in coverage to stick to receivers and break up passes. He even lined up as an edge rusher with some success. Although he’s a linebacker, how he plays reminds me most of Troy Polamalu.

Owusu-Koramoah’s versatility would see him playing different roles in Washington’s defense. In the base 4-3, he would takeover Kevin Pierre-Louis’ role as WILL linebacker. Owusu-Koramoah would allow the defense to shift from a 4-3 to a 4-2-5 nickel package without having to make any substitutions. There, he could be a hybrid LB/S playing near the line of scrimmage, blitzing, or dropping into coverage against just about any position on the field. His versatility makes the defense more flexible and could help it disguise what it is doing. There must be a plan in place for Owusu-Koramoah or he might experience growing pains similar to Isaiah Simmons last year. If Washington has a defined role for him that plays to his strengths, he should be able to significantly improve the defense.