2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Notre Dame has generated some good linebacker prospects for the NFL under Brian Kelly, and Owusu-Koramoah will keep that tradition alive in the 2021 NFL Draft. Owusu-Koramoah broke out in 2019 with 79 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and four passes defended. As a senior, Owusu-Koramoah was tremendous in pass coverage for Notre Dame while recording 61 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three passes broken up and an interception.
Modern NFL defenses need linebackers who are capable of contributing to pass coverage given how much passing drives today's game. Owusu-Koramoah is that kind of linebacker, as he is a true asset to defend passing attacks, bringing the cover skills of a strong safety. He does some very unique things in pass coverage as a linebacker. Thus, he is an excellent fit as a sub-package linebacker for the pro game.
Owusu-Koramoah is the best pass-coverage linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has good speed and covers a lot of ground in zone coverage, plus has the ability to run down the middle seam. Over the course of 2020, Owusu-Koramoah proved he is fast enough to run with slot receivers downfield, and it was incredible to see him run stride-for-stride with those wideouts on some plays. Not only does Owusu-Koramoah have the speed and instincts to play well in coverage, those same things make him a dangerous blitzer who can close on the quarterback in a blur. Owusu-Koramoah really showed excellent blitz ability in 2019 and put a lot of heat on the quarterback.
Owusu-Koramoah should be a nice asset in the NFL to cover tight ends running vertically down the middle of the field or running backs leaking out of the backfield, and he also should be a good defender to help with receivers crossing the middle of the field. On top of being able to cover up receivers, Owusu-Koramoah has good ball skills for a linebacker, possessing an ability to take the ball away. He is smart and instinctive to get in throwing lanes and disrupt passes. Owusu-Koramoah's pass-coverage ability is his best trait, and he should be an asset in coverage quickly in his NFL career.
Owusu-Koramoah has sideline-to-sideline speed for run defense, and he is a skilled open-field tackler. With his speed and vision, Owusu-Koramoah does a very good job of shutting down perimeter runs and keeping backs from hurting his defense in space. He shows quality technique as a tackler as well and is very good in pursuit, displaying an ability to work through trash and hunt down ball-carriers.
In the ground game, Owusu-Koramoah could struggle against NFL offensive linemen. He's the size of a strong safety, so he will need to get better at taking and shedding blocks. He isn't a fit for middle linebacker and will be need to be a Will linebacker. Owusu-Koramoah could get into trouble if he has to take on a lot of pro offensive linemen, so his NFL defensive coordinator will need to be strategic to keep him running free and not having to face as many blocks. He could also stand to get stronger for taking on NFL offensive linemen and tackling pro backs.
Owusu-Koramoah has the potential to be selected in the mid- to late first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he won't last long if he makes it to the second round. Owusu-Koramoah is a good prospect, but he is not of the same caliber of player as Devin White, Roquan Smith or Patrick Willis.
Player Comparison: Telvin Smith. Team sources compared Owusu-Koramoah to Smith, which makes sense. Smith (6-3, 215) is a little taller than Owusu-Koromoah, but they have the same weight and build. Both would be described as good pass-coverage linebackers with pursuit skills and sideline-to-sideline speed while having size and strength limitations as run defenders. In the NFL, Owusu-Koramoah could be a linebacker comparable to Smith.
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