Health Scares Be Damned: Browns Ready for Rookie Owusu-Koramoah
Several scouts projected the talented Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as a first-round draft choice. However, due to a heart issue found during a health reevaluation at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, he fell to the 52nd pick and into the lap of the Cleveland Browns.
Recently, the 21-year-old said that “he’s fine” after he received medical clearance to start participating in the rookie minicamp which started Friday, May 14. Owusu-Koramoah, who also iterated that he is a fan of the Browns, was elated when he found out he was picked by the orange and brown. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Fighting Irishman drew comparisons from his college days to the new system he’s learning under current Cleveland defensive coordinator Joe Woods.
“This defense flies around,” the linebacker said. “It’s based on a principle of ‘No bark, all bite.’ It’s based on the principle of attacking the ball. It’s based on principles of really relying on your brothers. That’s the kind of defense that I’ve always played in terms of Notre Dame and things like that.”
Owusu-Koromoah joins a Browns defense ripe with young talent, including star defensive end Myles Garrett, fourth-year cornerback Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, newly acquired linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., and last year’s second-round draft choice Grant Delpit, who will be returning from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles.
He has also given high praise to the coaching staff surrounding and involving last season’s Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski for the amount of attention to detail. His profile may say he’s a little undersized for the linebacker position (6’1”, 221 pounds), but he can be a very versatile player on the defensive side of the ball for the Browns. Woods has explored the possibility of putting Owusu-Koromoah at weakside linebacker, while a good chunk of outside scouts also say that he can develop as a safety in some packages.
The rookie thinks that he will fit right into Woods’ system and attention to detail is something that he focuses on. Jeremiah also says that he doesn’t let things that are out of his control motivate him.
After originally committing to the University of Virginia in 2016 once he graduated from Bethel High School, Owusu-Koramoah ended up selecting to pursue further education in South Bend. He didn’t play much during his freshman campaign (scout team) or sophomore season (broken foot in practice after two games), but once Jeremiah saw his name in the starting lineup for his junior year in 2019, his impact was felt immediately on the field.
His senior year at Notre Dame was filled with accolades, as he received a Butkus Award, a Unanimous All-American selection, and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. The Hampton, Virginia native finished the 2020 season with 62 tackles (11 for loss), one and a half sacks, an interception, seven pass deflections, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, with one being returned for a touchdown.
The Browns are coming off of one of their best seasons in franchise history in 2020, with an 11-5 finish and the franchise’s first playoff win since 1994. With Owusu-Koramoah now into the fold and excited to bolster the defense, Cleveland will come into the new campaign with higher expectations and may be seen as the team to beat in the AFC North.