On draft day, the Cleveland Browns were somehow able to land Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
He was projected as a first-round talent, but slid all the way into the middle of the second round.
The Browns saw an opportunity and traded with the Carolina Panthers for the No. 52 overall pick.
They used that pick on Owusu-Koramoah, who was considered one of the top linebackers coming into the draft.
However, it appears that a heart condition was discovered during the draft process.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had a heart issue that came up late in the process and was a concern for most teams, which is why he fell out of the first round and to pick No. 52 with Cleveland, per sources. Doctors ultimately cleared Owusu-Koramoah but it did contribute to him falling.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 3, 2021
Despite that, the Browns believe he will be fine and are happy with their decision.
He currently sits with the seventh-highest odds of winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, according to SportsBettingDime.com.
Beating The Odds
The Notre Dame linebacker actually has higher odds of winning the award than his teammate Greg Newsome II.
Which is quite funny considering Newsome was taken in the first round by Cleveland.
#Browns 1st round CB Greg Newsome II yards allowed in 2020:
– Nebraska: 27
– Purdue: 59
– Wisconsin: 7
– Michigan State: 0
– Illinois: 0
– Ohio State: 0 pic.twitter.com/biudQtIvPu
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) April 30, 2021
Although, Owusu-Koramoah isn’t the only linebacker with high odds of taking home the award.
In fact, three linebackers have a better chance of winning rookie of the year over Owusu-Koramoah.
A majority of the players above him on the list are linebackers, which goes to show how good of a draft class this truly was for linebackers.
That being said, Owusu-Koramoah is ready to prove that he is the best linebacker from his draft class.
Could JOK Win?
Finally, the Browns actually decided to add some depth at the linebacker spot this offseason.
Most notably, they signed former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Anthony Walker to a one-year deal.
The young linebacker has put together multiple successful seasons in Indy before hitting free agency this offseason.
He is projected to slide right into a starting linebacker spot to begin the 2021 season.
Anthony Walker gets the SACK!#ProBowlVote | #TENvsIND pic.twitter.com/GMPSgKSj4X
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 1, 2019
Alongside Walker, the Browns have Jacob Phillips and Sione Takitaki as the projected starters.
While Takitaki is deserving of that spot, Phillips might have to battle with Owusu-Koramoah in training camp.
It’s also worth noting that the Browns have Mack Wilson and veteran Malcolm Smith on the roster as well.
The linebacker spot is crowded, which is likely going to hurt Owusu-Koramoah’s chances of winning the award.
There is a good chance that Owusu-Koramoah won’t be a full-time starter during his first year in Cleveland.
Although, some of the other high ranking players in his draft class are going to slide straight into starting roles with their new organizations.
It isn’t going to be easy for JOK to win Rookie of the Year, but fans shouldn’t count him out.
He could very well have a legitimate shot at the award, assuming he gets significant time on the field in 2021.
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