Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah showed flashes of the explosive defender Andrew Berry traded up for in the draft.
The Cleveland Browns‘ linebacker was the first defender to the ball at the 8th-highest rate of all off-ball linebackers.
And he already saves his best for AFC North rivals, including a stellar 9 stops (and 13 tackles) in Baltimore.
Despite playing only 65% of the defensive snaps in just 13 games, JOK tallied 76 tackles and 4 passes defended.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah played out of his mind in the 1st half. This kid is special. Here's a couple highlights. And that sack is not a designed play. JOK saw an opening to the QB and he took it. #Browns pic.twitter.com/nhPu7B6WnW
— Roberto Shenanigans (@Rob_Shenanigans) September 26, 2021
He ranked among PFF’s top 10 rookie defenders against the run and against the pass (9th overall).
And NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund already calls Owusu-Koramoah the Browns’ most underappreciated player.
But fans can expect big things from JOK ahead, maybe even a Pro Bowl-worthy performance in 2022.
Holding JOK Back No More
Health is always a mitigating factor in a player’s productivity.
And if Owusu-Koramoah simply holds up for a full season, his numbers should rank among the team leaders.
But there is reason to believe the second-year player is primed for much more.
First of all, Joe Woods eased him into the mix last year, as the rookie mastered the playbook.
#Browns LB, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, shined in his rookie year.🌟
The Joker's Overall Grade of 76.5, per @PFF, ranked 9th among LBs. 🃏
Coverage Rank Among #NFL LBs:
— The Hottest Take (@Hottest_TakePod) June 1, 2022
With a year of video to study in the offseason, JOK expects to be ready for whatever Woods wants to do.
And likewise, Woods is ready to trust and use his young weapon more aggressively.
And Owusu-Koramoah’s visibility will increase as Woods sets him loose in the pass rush.
JOK Fixes His Flaw
Watching his performance from last year, Owusu-Koramoah will see the obvious flaw in his game.
Like many rookies, he found NFL players to be stronger and faster than any he’d gone up against in college.
And that undoubtedly contributed to JOK’s dismal 17% missed tackle rate.
But Joe Woods’ staff already made better tacklers out of the team’s cornerbacks and other players.
— WHUFC fan 2022 (@whufc_fan2022) January 13, 2022
There is no reason they will not do the same for Owusu-Koramoah.
Getting himself under control at the point of contact without sacrificing too much speed is the key.
JOK is strong enough to expect wrapping up to come easier if he slows down.
And he’ll quickly learn the big hit is worth sacrificing to assure the stop.
Buy or Sell: Pro Bowl Season?
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah raised eyebrows as a rookie in a limited role.
But he has to excel more consistently, especially by reducing his missed tackles.
His pass defense is as important as his run defense, and his first NFL interception will be an occasion.
Using his burst to get to and through the line for big plays is something that almost came naturally last year.
Sack from Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Can’t believe he fell to the 2nd round. pic.twitter.com/wDIxTnfCYP
— Moving The Chains Podcast 🎙 (@_MTCPodcast) August 15, 2021
And with an improved understanding of NFL blocking and tendencies, the disruptive plays will continue.
Star power at the edges could help JOK operate more freely, especially if the interior line holds up.
Cleveland’s limited prime time schedule might diminish Owusu-Koramoah’s visibility among his peers.
But we’re still buying a 2022 Pro Bowl appearance by JOK in a breakout season.