Why the Slide?: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

During the 2020 season, Owusu-Koramoah started receiving a lot of media hype, including ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay saying he thought Owusu-Koramoah was a high first-round prospect similar to Devin White or Roquan Smith. While NFL team sources said they did not Owusu-Koramoah was that good, they did feel he could be a future first-round pick, and throughout the leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft, he was projected from the middle of to the late first round. Thus. it was surprising when Owusu-Koramoah fell deep into Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Team sources shared their main concern was Owusu-Koramoah’s size, which left some teams feeling like he could have a hard time holding up in the NFL. Owusu-Koramoah is 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, which is light for a pro linebacker and not that far from the size of pro safety, so avoiding injury in the NFL is a reasonable concern.

The Browns ended Owusu-Koramoah’s fall, and they are a perfect landing spot for him. I had mocked him to Cleveland frequently over the past few months, as this connection made a lot of sense. The linebacker position was thin for the Browns and needed more talent. Owusu-Koramoah was a great choice for improving their pass coverage in the middle of the field and for helping them to defend against tight ends. The speedy linebacker also will help as a quarterback spy when Cleveland takes on the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and the Bengals’ Joe Burrow. Owusu-Koramoah looks like a plug-and-play starter who could turn into a solid player for the Browns early in his career.

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