The Future: 2021 NFL Draft Prospects Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out of Notre Dame is one of those in-between defenders where he can be labeled as a linebacker or safety depending on the down and formation. He is slightly undersized for a linebacker at 6'2", 216lbs but this is part of what makes him so versatile. His athleticism helps disguise the fact that he is undersized as he is extremely explosive in getting to the ball carrier but he can get bullied when he allows linemen to get into his body. He projects as a three-down player in the NFL as he can line up over the slot and play man to man against receivers. I'll further discuss his ability vs the run at the point of attack (POA), against the outside run, how well he plays man coverage, his ball skills, and his ability to blitz and rush the passer.
Vs Run at POA- Jeremiah has very good range and burst to shoot open gaps and meet runners in the hole. His mental processing and ability to diagnose run plays and get to the ball carrier is very good. His size affects him when he gets into battles with linemen as he can often get overpowered and pushed around easily. He is adequate at shedding blocks but is more likely to dodge or slip under blocks to get to the ball carrier. He is very good at playing from the backside when runs go away from him. Linemen always need to account for him even when the run is away from him because he is so explosive to shoot gaps and get to the ballcarrier in pursuit.
Outside Run- He is very good in space. He is very aggressive in coming downfield to make tackles and is a very good tackler as he wraps up and doesn't dive at ankles. He will be over-aggressive and not break down at times which leads to some missed tackles. He has shown that he can deliver some massive, tone-setting hits in the open field by flying around. He has shown the athleticism to be able to play sideline to sideline and if can consistently break down when getting to the ballcarrier he won't miss tackles often.
Man Coverage- He is the best man cover linebacker in this draft. He excels at playing over the slot or playing man against tight ends and running backs. When playing against Clemson he played man coverage against some of their slot wide receivers and was able to come able with a few pass breakups. He does a good job of matching feet and staying in phase. He has the athleticism as well as the fluid hips to turn and run with receivers downfield. He often plays in a box safety role in sub-packages and does a great job of coming downfield on shallow routes and making a play on the ball. His patience is one of his better traits when playing in man coverage as he doesn't commit his hips until the receivers do.
Ball Skills- He has very good ball skills, especially in man coverage where he knows how to play through the receiver's hands. Against Clemson, he was able to create a fumble at the catch point where he played through the receiver's hands to dislodge the ball from the receiver. His versatility is fantastic as he can play both man and zone coverage and successfully play the ball to create pass breakups and turnovers.
Pass Rush/Blitz- Jeremiah is a better blitzer than pass rusher. He doesn't possess the block shedding or pass rush moves to consistently win at rushing the passer. As a blitzer though he is very good. He has great timing, very good speed to shoot gaps, and finishes well at the quarterback.
Jeremiah is my third-ranked linebacker behind Micah Parsons and Zaven Collins and this is partially due to his size and lack of ability to get off of blockers. He is arguably the most versatile backer in this class and his man coverage skills are the best out of these linebackers and many NFL teams love that with how much tight ends and running backs are utilized in the passing game. Although I have him ranked behind Zaven Collins, I think he will end up being taken in the mid to late first-round ahead of Collins.