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Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah describes 'monumental feeling' of being drafted by Browns

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah wasn't mad. He wasn't anxious. He wasn't upset.

Instead, he was calm. As he waited with family and friends for the entirety of Round 1 and first hour of Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft, Owusu-Koramoah, one of the top linebackers of the draft class, kept his composure and confidence. Whenever he received a phone call from an NFL team, he knew they'd be the right fit. The wait, however long it'd be, didn't matter.

The call arrived around 8:38 p.m. EST, nearly 90 minutes after the second round began. 

The caller: Cleveland Browns.

"It's been a patient one," Owusu-Koramoah said about his wait. "My spirituality is extremely strong for me. It was a point where I had to take a stance of faith to be able to just lock in on my responsibilities. To be able to control the controllable. It is just a matter of controlling what you can control and the things that you can control — you have to let those stay by."

Owusu-Koramoah was drafted 52nd overall after the Browns traded with the Carolina Panthers to move seven spots up in the second round. Cleveland placed high draft stock on Owusu-Koramoah, whom Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta said the Browns even considered with the 26th overall pick Thursday night. 

When Day 2 began, Owusu-Koramoah was widely considered the best player available and likely out of reach for the Browns at pick No. 59. As different players continued to fall first, the Browns grew more eager to pounce with a trade.

Then, it happened. The Browns swapped their 59th and 89th overall picks for the 52nd and 113th picks to get him. 

Owusu-Koramoah was content with being patient. The Browns weren't.

"There was a lot of pacing going around upstairs once we got to about pick 42, 43, 44 just trying to figure out if there was a way we could make it happen," DePodesta said in a video call with local reporters minutes after the pick became official. "Sometimes, the board falls your way."

Owusu-Koramoah ascended as one of the top linebacker prospects of the draft class after recording seven sacks and 24.5 tackles for a loss in three seasons at Notre Dame. He didn't carve a considerable role in the defense until 2019, his third year with the program after taking a redshirt year in 2017, but immediately emerged as a reliable, speedy tackler — he totaled 142 tackles in his last two collegiate seasons.

The Browns' front office has made it no secret they value speed in their defense, and Owusu-Koramoah fits that category perfectly.

"I think speed and instincts (were most appealing)," DePodesta said "He just fits our scheme in terms of the way we want to play. He is very, very good against both the run and the pass. We think he can stay on the field the whole time. He really just fits our scheme to a T."

Owusu-Koramoah said the Browns were always one of the teams he envisioned himself with as he went through the grueling pre-draft process full of interviews and workouts. Cleveland's front office made it well known to Owusu-Koramoah before the draft that it was interested in him, and several analysts predicted he'd land with the Browns in the first round after the team overhauled its defense with six free-agent additions before the draft.

"I am very familiar with the Browns," he said. "I was watching throughout the season last year. Believe it or not, I was actually picturing myself in this scheme as I was watching them play last year sitting down with one of my coaches from Notre Dame."

No one predicted he would land with the Browns in the second round instead, but Owusu-Koramoah doesn't mind.

He knows the Browns have a plan to make him great.

"It is a monumental feeling," he said. "I'm 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."

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