One of the bigger surprises of last week’s draft was that Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to the second round. Owusu-Koramoah, the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous All-American, and winner of the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker, was widely considered a first-round talent, but he had to wait until the Browns traded up to the No. 52 overall selection to hear his name called.
And now we have some clarity on that front. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Owusu-Koramoah had a heart issue that came to light late in the predraft process, which was a concern for most teams (Twitter link). Though the 6-1, 221-lb ‘backer was medically cleared, the issue contributed to his draft-day slide.
But a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that there is nothing wrong with Owusu-Koramoah’s heart, and a source close to the player himself said he has never heard of any heart issue. During an interview on The Jim Rome Show today, Owusu-Koramoah said, “I never really had any heart issues or anything going on there. You know, you hear a lot of things, but you’ve got to get it from the source.”
One would think that there would be a little smoke to this fire, since plenty of teams passed on a player of Owusu-Koramoah’s upside, but color Cleveland GM Andrew Berry unconcerned. “[T]here’s no issue that would prevent him from being productive short- or long-term,” Berry said.
Indeed, Berry even considered taking Owusu-Koramoah with the No. 26 overall pick. Berry has worked hard to upgrade the Browns’ defense this offseason, and Owusu-Koramoah is a big part of that. The Golden Domer is something of a classic ‘tweener, but that’s becoming less relevant in today’s NFL. His speed and instincts should serve him well in a traditional LB role, and he could also get some looks at safety. He lined up at safety and even as a slot corner in college.
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