Scouting Report: OLB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 6’1” 215 (Notre Dame)
Projected 40 time: 4.4 (pantherswire.usatoday.com)
Film Reviewed: (2020) Alabama, Syracuse, Clemson, Boston College, Florida State, Duke.
Hyper-active athletic finesse linebacker with excellent playing speed who excels in coverage, is decent against the run and he has blitzing upside. Ridiculous football playing speed. Looks faster on film than his timed speed. Runs like a gazelle. All over the field. Has short-area burst. Hard close. Opportunistic defensive player. Knack to make plays. True difference maker. Shut-down coverage skills. Looks like a safety trapped in the body and position of a linebacker. Reminds me of Jaylon Smith (DAL), but lacks his weight (240). Looks and plays like a first-round linebacker. I found myself saying “wow,” many times. He has an extremely high energy level, but only an average to above average motor. Sometimes he takes his foot off the gas too soon on active plays, which is concerning. If a team is looking for a hybrid coverage linebacker who can blitz, he is the pick. So-so against the run. A team must know what they are getting.
Owusu-Koramoah is average against the run. Gives a solid effort, but is just limited due to size and lack of playing strength that becomes apparent down in the box. Works at it to sift through the trash and can get to the ball carrier to make tackles if he is either left clean or lightly challenged. No pop, jolt or explosiveness against blockers at the point of attack. Gets stalemated by offensive linemen. Does have ability to spin-off. Could be seen being absolutely handled by tight-ends one-on-one too many times to count. Uses hands, just lacks the pure strength and power when heavily contested by blockers. He is somewhat productive against the run when he manages to get there. Disturbing number of missed tackles he should have had. Was seen sliding off a good number of ball carriers including quarterbacks when he could not close it out. Sometimes not able to secure the tackle despite efforts. Misses way too many tackles that he should have had. Can be seen being slow to react or ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time. Can look when it comes to the play flow and the football. Questionable key and diagnose skills. Questionable run instincts. Questionable angles at times. These issues are very consistently noticeable at times in his full body of work on film. Also, has some real rigidity and tightness in his hips that shows up when he whiffs on a tackle in space.
Owusu-Koramoah is outstanding in pass coverage. Notre Dame often lined him up wide in coverage and by doing so – got him out of the box. Extremely active and alert looking in coverage. Good in zone or man. Excels covering backs and tight-ends. Drives downhill extremely quickly. Outstanding close. Can really get there and make high impact plays. Notre Dame even moved him into covering slot and wide receivers at times – he is that good. Not only did he match the routes, but he made a number of plays on the ball. He broke up 4 passes in 2020 and 3 passes in 2019 (espn.com). He is a true difference maker in coverage. Best coverage linebacker skills I have seen in 40 years. Insane coverage skills. Able to get his arm in there and knock passes away or thump the receiver hard enough to break up the pass. Also has the ability to secure tackles generally after the catch on receptions that are made. There was one play against Clemson where he shot into the backfield and was literally able to intercept a bobbled hand-off and return it for a touchdown,
Despite his sack production falling off of a cliff this past season (2020 1.5 sacks versus 8.5 sacks in 2019, espn.com), Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah does have tremendous straight-line speed and acceleration if he is able to stay clean. Scary fast close into the pocket. However, tended to create more pressure than sacks this past season, which is a concern because he was given a good number of opportunities, but he did not get there in time. Really struggles if he gets blocked or chipped while in route to the quarterback. Menacing blitzing linebacker. Menacing presence. Has to be accounted on every snap because he can get there. Has potential to blow things up. Can get into the pocket in a hurry with insane straight-line playing speed and close. However, needs to have it lined up right because he cannot make the necessary quick adjustments in space if the quarterback moves out of the way. Notre Dame dialed up the blitz often and called his number.
Owusu-Koramoah breaks the mold of a traditional outside linebacker. He needs to be game-planned to match his skill-set and abilities. He is not someone to force into the role of a traditional outside linebacker. If he is used properly, he will change the complexion of a defense. Special player in his own right. Rare and different kind of talent. Somewhat different linebacker. The type of player a team needs to allow to be himself in every sense of the word and tailor things around him. He is every bit Jaylon Smith and Luke Kuechly (CAR) in terms of range and covering ability. Dynamic. Exciting to watch and evaluate. The bottom line is Owusu-Koramoah makes plays.
Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: First Round (10-32)
Probability of being a bust: Low chance.
If I were a GM, this is the question I need to be answered in my mind about Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah: Why was he not getting to the quarterback in 2020 the way he was in 2019. I understand it was a shortened season due to the pandemic, but Notre Dame sent him on a good number of blitz attempts and he failed to get there in time (except in the Duke game).
My Top 5 concerns about Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah:
- Run defense skills and ability.
- Lack of instincts consistently at times against the run.
- Sometimes takes his foot off the gas too soon on active plays that are still happening and he is seen going half speed or pulling back.
- The good number of missed tackles when he had guys in his arms, but slid off or just plain missed without making the stop.
- Playing strength. Does not look or play like a physically strong football player down in the box.
How NFL offenses will beat him: By running the football and specifically running the football to his side.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.