The Cleveland Browns upgraded their defense in the 2021 NFL draft. Their second-round selection, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah played a huge role in the success of the defense.
The Cleveland Browns were gifted an absolute stud when Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to them in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft. While no one doubted his talents, news of a heart condition scared many teams away from selecting Owusu-Koramoah. In the end, JOK was cleared by doctors and the Browns gained themselves a star in the making.
An additional issue that helped JOK slide was his positional uncertainty. While at Notre Dame, JOK played all over the field and some NFL teams viewed his versatility as a potential weakness. Not the Browns and defensive coordinator Joe Woods, they knew exactly where they wanted JOK to play.
Owusu-Koramoah entered his first rookie minicamp as a linebacker, and it was immediately evident that the Browns made the right choice. JOK displayed a speed and burst that set him apart from every other rookie in attendance. He kept the momentum and kept impressing throughout training camp. Only a brief bout with Covid could slow down the uber-talented rookie.
What Cleveland Browns got from JOK in 2021
Once the regular season hit, the only question was how soon it would be before Owusu-Koramoah made his mark? For the first four weeks, JOK split his time pretty evenly between defense and special teams. Although, when he was on the field, he was hard to miss. Even while getting his feet wet in the NFL, his speed and quickness stood out.
By Week 5, in part due to injury, JOK’s time as a core special teamer had ended and he was now a bonafide starting linebacker. Unfortunately, Owusu-Koramoah’s progress was slowed by a high ankle sprain in Week 6 that caused the talented rookie to miss three weeks. After returning from the injury, Joe Woods eased JOK back into action.
The final six games of the season are where Owusu-Koramoah became what Browns fans envisioned him to be…a defensive weapon. As the Browns defense was hitting its stride, JOK was the most impressive player on the field. Read that statement again.
On a team with Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome, and Grant Delpit, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was the player that stood out the most. Part of that was due to the groin injury Myles Garrett suffered, but the statement remains true nonetheless. Now that his rookie season is in the books, it’s time to give Owusu-Koramoah a grade.
JOK doesn’t just move differently than others playing the linebacker position, he approaches it differently. Look at JOK’s feet before the snap, they bounce continuously while he diagnoses the play, and it enables him to react faster.
When offensive lineman attempt to block the rookie in space, he uses his agility to keep them from making clean contact while at the same time maintaining lane integrity. The one thing JOK needs to clean up is his tendency to over pursue and miss tackles in the backfield.
JOK’s rookie grade: A
After how he approached his rookie campaign, it is hard to imagine Owusu-Koramoah not making massive strides in year two. The Browns defense is officially dangerous at all three levels in large part thanks to the play of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.