The Notre Dame standout was a virtual lock to go in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft, with si.com projecting a top-20 selection for Owusu-Koramoah.
So the Browns had to be ecstatic when they landed the Fighting Irish linebacker at no. 52.
Heart issues ultimately caused Owusu-Koramoah’s slide from the top 20 to the back-end of the second round.
So far, though, those heart issues haven’t been a problem for Owusu-Koramoah.
And given his talent level, is it possible he’s one of the NFL’s future elite linebackers?
JOK was absolutely electric in college.
In 2020, his senior year, Owusu-Koramoah logged 62 tackles (11 for loss), 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and three breakups with the Irish.
JOK is making his impact felt in Ghana 🇬🇭
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) June 28, 2022
And that sack number was actually down from this 2019 tally of 5.5.
Nonetheless, Owusu-Koramoah won college football’s Butkus Award, the highest individual honor for a linebacker.
In addition, he was a unanimous All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
The signs pointing to Owusu-Koramoah’s elite athleticism were clear: his pro shuttle run was quickest in last year’s draft, beating out even Micah Parsons.
In essence, Owusu-Koramoah has the explosiveness, coverage ability, and athleticism of a safety, paired with the hulking playmaking of a linebacker.
Owusu-Koramoah excels in both coverage and in blitz packages, as well, giving defensive coordinators wider flexibility in playcalling.
That said, Owusu-Koramoah’s rookie campaign probably left something to be desired.
He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t eye-popping, either.
He had a combined 76 tackles last season, with three for a loss.
In addition, he contributed 1.5 sacks to Cleveland’s 43 last season.
But Owusu-Koramoah was tripped up by injury last season, starting just 10 of the 14 games he appeared in.
Fortunately, the sophomore seems healthy and ready for action this season.
Could he lead the team in tackles?
Last year, those honors went to Anthony Walker and his 113 tackles through just 13 games.
With a full season and clean bill of health, JOK could surely match that tally, so long as he lives up to his college potential.
The coaching staff is doing everything it can to get Owusu-Koramoah more touches.
According to Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal, Browns DC Joe Woods is giving second-year players a chance to shine by putting more on their plate:
“At this point, I feel like we can do more so I installed more defense this offseason. I told the guys that. We are going to put more on their plate. We will see what they can handle once we get through mandatory minicamp and there will be a few additional things that if they can handle it I will add during training camp.”
If JOK makes the most of his expanded opportunity next season, he could certainly join the NFL linebacking elite.
In fact, PFF already believes in JOK’s promise, ranking him as the 13th best linebacker heading into next season.
— Jeff-LJ-Lloyd (@Jeff_LJ_Lloyd) June 29, 2022
Will he achieve the heights of Micah Parsons?
But Parsons is an otherworldly talent that already has an All-Pro, Pro Bowl, and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards hanging on his mantle.
But JOK has the tools to excel.
And next season, he looks like he’ll have as many chances as he wants.