The Browns on Friday traded up and selected Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second round with the No. 52 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Owusu-Koramoah won the 2020 Dick Butkus Award as the top linebacker in college football. The first-team All-American led Notre Dame with 11 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles, while also recording 62 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception and three pass breakups in 12 starts.
Owusu-Koramoah was also finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy in 2020. He was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
"Glorious feeling, man. It is a monumental feeling," Owusu-Koramoah said. "I am so glad that the coaches gave me an opportunity to be able to show why I was supposed to be where I am supposed to be. It is all love. It is a genuine feeling that the coaches will take a chance on me and I am appreciative to that. Glory be to God."
Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta said the Browns considered Owusu-Koramoah with the No. 26 pick in the first round. Ultimately, they waited and waited until they couldn't wait anymore, as they swung a trade with the Panthers to move up seven spots and get their guy.
"We were not really expecting him to get quite that far," DePodesta said. "There were a couple players we were definitely interested in going into today that we thought it might be worth moving up to around 50 or thereabouts to try to go get if they were there, and once we saw that he got there, we were pretty aggressive in terms of trying to get up there and get him."
Cleveland parted with the No. 59 pick and a third-round pick (No. 89) while also adding a fourth-round pick (No. 113) in the deal. The Browns did not lose any picks in the deal, giving them seven more picks left in this year's draft.
"We basically moved back from 89 to 113, but we felt like that was a reasonable cost to go up and secure the player," DePodesta said.
"As we have gone through the offseason, whether it is free agency or now in the draft, we are very much on the same page in terms of how we try to put all the pieces together and that that really is what it is, each and every year – it is trying to put the puzzle together. I think those rules, while it may seem rigid to have rules, the reality is they are quite flexible. You would think that maybe we are a team that does not move up, for instance, well, we just moved up to go get the player that we want."
A Hampton, Virginia, native, Owusu-Koramoah redshirted his first season and appeared in just two games in 2018 before a breakout 2019 campaign in which he led the team with 80 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss. His three-sack performance in the Camping World Bowl to cap the season served as an omen for what was to come in 2020.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah ranked Owusu-Koramoah as the No. 18 overall prospect in the draft. Pro Football Focus ranked him at No. 19. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compared Owusu-Koramoah to Chargers S Derwin James, but DePodesta said the Browns consider him to be a linebacker.
"He is certainly very versatile," DePodesta said. "I know there has been talk that he could play strong safety or do lots of different things. I actually just think that speaks to his athleticism and his versatility. But again, I think he fits our scheme perfectly at the linebacker spot and that is where we would plan to plan."
Owusu-Koramoah is the second player to join the Browns through the 2021 NFL Draft. Northwestern CB Greg Newsome (1st Round, No. 26) was selected Thursday.
The Browns are back on the clock in the third round with the No. 91 pick.
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Check out photos of Browns 2021 second round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah