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NFL Draft

Versatility Makes Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Tailor-Made For NFL

  • The Draft Network
  • September 12, 2020
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Today's NFL game is about several core principles—including "pace" and "space" on the offensive side of the football. How do you counter pace and space when you're playing defense? That's the catch-22 that these two dynamics put you in.

With the rules of the modern game, finding defenders who have the competency to stay on the field in all kinds of down and distance scenarios is a challenge. Finding run stuffers? That's not too much of a challenge. Smaller defenders who can play in coverage? Many defenders can do it, although they'll come with concessions. Players who can do both? Those are the unique.

Typically, if you can bring value on all three downs, you're a surefire early selection when eligible for the NFL Draft. So when Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah took the field against Duke for their first conference game in the wild, wacky year that is 2020, Osuwu-Koramoah certainly moved the needle for 2021 NFL Draft evaluators.

With his frantic play, explosiveness, and range, Owusu-Koramoah was able to create impact plays not just as a blitzer but also as a coverage defender playing the body of receivers at the catch point. Between his nine tackles, the forced fumble he created, and the sack he logged on a second level blitz, there was little that the linebacker didn't show in his ability to project to a three-down role at the next level. Sure, there are other linebackers of his stature that have burst and speed, but Owusu-Koramoah offers a unique twist to his game in the fact that he doesn't struggle to play with explosiveness, power, or sufficient finishing skills. That's exactly what makes him such an appealing prospect.

With today's NFL game embracing those hybrid defenders and defensive weapons, Owusu-Koramoah is well versed in being a chess piece. No, we shouldn't be expecting him to have a prominent rise quite like what we saw last season from former Clemson Tigers defender Isaiah Simmons—who eventually went on to become a top-10 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. But with his explosiveness, range, and comfort in all phases of defense, there's little reason to doubt Owusu-Koramoah will go on to be a top-75 or top-50 selection by the time his 2020 campaign is all said and done—especially if he goes on to have a full season that features his impact ability that mirrors how well he performed in the season opener against Duke.

There will hopefully be plenty more opportunities for the Notre Dame linebacker to declare himself to evaluators and continue to drive his stock up. But the Duke game will be one that is pointed to next winter when evaluators ask "so what can he do and what sets him apart?" There's not much more you could hope to accomplish in a season debut.

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