Patriots: Is Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah the perfect Swiss Army knife for Bill Belichick?
By Mike Luciano
The New England Patriots spent a king’s ransom on getting Cam Newton more weapons on offense, which means that Bill Belichick could use the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on a defensive player.
Instead of taking someone like Mac Jones or Davis Mills, Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah might be a better use of draft capital.
Owusu-Koramoah has recently lit up the stat sheets, recording 142 tackles, seven sacks, and one interception over the last two seasons.
There are, however, some remaining concerns about his size, at 6-1 and 220 pounds, and the validity of playing him as an every-down linebacker in the NFL.
Still, an impressive pro day has vaulted Owusu-Koramoah, widely regarded to be the top linebacker in this draft behind Penn State’s Micah Parsons, up many big boards, which could convince Belichick to take a chance on the Swiss Army knife defender.
Unfortunately, after taking a closer look at his style of play, JOK might be better off if New England avoids him entirely.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah isn’t a great fit for Bill Belichick and the Patriots
Owusu-Koramoah is the definition of a “jack of all trades, master of none” player. Yes, he can stuff the run adequately, get to the sideline, and cover very well, but he doesn’t do any one of those things, at his size, well enough to start right away in the NFL. Some safeties in this draft are both taller and heavier than Owusu-Koramoah.
Belichick might be the worst coach for him to go to, despite his experience with versatile players. Belichick is one of the few remaining coaches who values bigger off-ball linebackers like Kyle Van Noy, Ja’Whuan Bentley, and Dont’a Hightower, who will be returning this season. The reason for this is his new habit of leaning on nickel and dime packages more than ever.
If the opposing team wants to play the numbers game and run whenever five or six defensive backs are on the field, Belichick will rely on physical run-stuffers that can clean up the mess at the line of scrimmage. Owusu-Koramoah hits hard, but is he really going to fill Hightower’s role as a rookie?
If the answer is no, drafting him would essentially mean you would have to either convert him to a new position or force him to learn multiple positions of a Belichick scheme, which might as well be advanced calculus, as a rookie. Sound like a good plan?
Owusu-Koramoah has a role in the new NFL, as his speed and man coverage ability are fantastic. However, no coach preaches specialization more than Belichick, and drafting a player like the Irish linebacker that is very raw and needs a lot of development time isn’t the best strategy for a team trying to get back to the postseason.