The NFL offseason is an exciting time to be a football fan. Regardless of who you cheer for you, it’s compelling to witness the chaos of free agency and the draft play out. It also helps to create hope. And for the Detroit Lions this offseason, that holds particularly true.
As the Lions enter a new era after the Matthew Stafford trade, general manager Brad Holmes is now busy evaluating his options on how to better the roster for head coach Dan Campbell and his new coaching staff in 2021.
And one of, if not the weakest position groups on the roster, is the linebacker position. Holmes should be especially focused on injecting some fresh blood into that group. But the Lions seem adamant about building this roster through the draft, rather than overspending in free agency.
One of the most popular options in this year’s draft is Penn State’s Micah Parsons, who has been rated as the top defensive player in the 2021 draft class. And many mock drafts have Parsons headed to the Motor City. However, there is another very intriguing option.
Owusu-Koramoah excels in coverage, and would often be matched up man-to-man against opposing slot receivers, that’s how much faith his coaches had in him. Notre Dame played base defense more than anyone last year by a sizeable margin, and it was all due to how capable their star linebacker was in coverage.
Here’s what Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network had to say about the Notre Dame standout:
“An ideal match from a team perspective would be one that wants to stay in their base defensive personnel at a higher than average rate, where Owusu-Koramoah’s versatility can shine brightly against spread sets. There’s plenty of experience playing as a pressure player up the middle and even as a pseudo-third safety who is walked outside the hashes and taking man-to-man reps against wide receivers from the slot.”
Now let’s be clear, Parsons is by far the superior pass rusher and is more physically gifted. And while he projects to be good in coverage, there’s a difference between being athletic enough to make up for your mishaps and actually being comfortable and playing with technique in coverage.
Parsons has the tools to be good in coverage, but as of now he’s nowhere near Owusu-Koramoah in that area, and having a linebacker that can cover is something the Lions desperately need to pair with Jamie Collins.
Yes, the Detroit Lions taking Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft might seem crazy to most people, but he has the tools to be an elite linebacker at the next level. And the Lions are in no position to overlook any options right now.