The FOX television broadcast announcers spent a great deal of time heaping praise on San Francisco 49ers linebacker, Fred Warner this past Sunday. And rightly so. Warner is one of the best at his position in the entire NFL.
However, while the broadcast team was busy spotlighting Warner, Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was putting in work against the San Francisco offense on Sunday.
Koramoah was all over the field, showcasing his range and dynamic playmaking ability. JOK finished Sunday’s contest with the 49ers with five tackles, three of those were tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, and a sack.
Owusu-Koramoah’s performance against San Francisco was not an aberration, but rather a continuation of the first four games of the 2023 campaign. If you look at JOK’s stats from Sunday, it's basically what he accumulates during an average game. The third-year linebacker has 26 tackles, including 19 solo tackles, and eight tackles for loss through five games.
While those numbers are impressive, they're not nearly as impressive on paper as they are on film. JOK’s speed at the linebacker position is jarring. His ability to go from diagnosing to attacking is as sudden as any linebacker in the league, including the above-mentioned Warner.
JOK’s short-area quickness makes him an angle eraser for opposing blockers who are looking to nullify him at the second level. Then when you combine his ability to evade would-be blockers with his closing speed, you begin to see the total picture of what Owusu-Koramoah brings to the table.
It is completely possible, that JOK could have made this leap in his second season if it were not for the trainwreck of a defensive tackle room that he had in front of him. There was simply too much traffic to sort through in 2022. Owusu-Koramoah did not just have to evade guards looking to bury him on the second level, but he had his own teammates who were being pushed into his lap as well.
Now, with a stable of competent defensive tackles in front of him, JOK is being kept clean and, in turn, is making impactful play after impactful play. As long as he is able to keep his body healthy, you could see Owusu-Koramoah being talked about in the same vein as a Fred Warner or a Roquan Smith by season’s end.
Owusu-Koramoah’s unique skillset is what got Andrew Berry to trade up in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft when the linebacker began to slip. Some even saw JOK as a tweener between a linebacker and a safety, but Berry just saw a player who could develop into a true difference-maker for a defense.
Now, with the proper defensive personnel in place and a defensive coordinator like Jim Schwartz dialing everything up, JOK’s evolution is happening right before our eyes in real-time. Don’t blink though, because with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah it all happens in a flash.