CLEVELAND — After selecting cornerback Greg Newsome II in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, General Manager Andrew Berry addressed additional defensive needs, selecting linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with the No. 59 pick.
Owusu-Koramoah is a safety-linebacker hybrid out of the Univeristy of Notre Dame who can excel in coverage and who Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta said "really just fits our scheme to a T."
DePodesta said that while Owusu-Koramoah does have incredible versatility, the team plans to play him at linebacker.
At Notre Dame, Owusu-Koramoah recorded 142 tackles, 24.5 for a loss, seven sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception.
Last season was a rough one for the Browns' linebacking corps. Pro Football Focus ranked the Browns’ linebackers second-to-last heading into last season, and they didn’t do much to prove that prediction wrong.
Mack Wilson, coming off a knee injury, had a truly disappointing season, posting a 41.9 overall PFF grade. Jacob Phillips missed a good part of the season with a knee injury. While Sione Takitaki showed promise last season, his numbers aren’t quite at the starter level yet.
Owusu-Koramoah will look to bolster the linebackers room heading into the 2021 season.
DePodesta said that before he left the room for the press conference, linebackers coach Jason Tarver, defensive coordinator Joe Woods and head coach Kevin Stefanski were already at the white board planning all the things they'll be able to do with Owusu-Koramoah.
"I'm happy with whatever position they put me in," Owusu-Koramoah said. "I love football. I love the game. I love the process. I love what it's taught me."
Andrew Berry has said all offseason long that the team always want to be known as an “aggressive front office” and he proved that in this year’s Draft with this trade.
The Browns traded up from the No. 59 pick to the No. 52 with the Carolina Panthers to select Owusu-Koramoah. As part of the trade, the Browns sent their 2021 No. 59 pick and No. 89 pick while acquiring the No. 52 pick and round four No. 113 pick.
In a press conference leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, Berry kept a poker face regarding any intention on trading up this year.
“I am going to guess a quiet Thursday night would not be popular amongst this audience,” Berry laughed. “I will tell you that I’m comfortable if we pick, I’m comfortable if we move out and I’m comfortable if we move up. Largely, it depends on circumstance, but I’m not married to really any particular decision certainly six days from us knowing what the first pick of the draft is going to be.”
While Berry didn’t mention moving up in the Draft, he and the organization deemed Owusu-Koramoah important enough to strike for.
The Browns still have the following picks in the 2021 Draft, barring any trades:
Third round: No. 91 (Saints pick)
Fourth round: No. 110 (Eagles pick), No. 113 (Panthers pick), No. 132
Fifth round: No. 169 (Rams pick)
Sixth round: No.211
Seventh round: No. 257 (Bills pick)
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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