Many draft analysts and observers anticipated that linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would not last beyond the end of the first round. The supremely talented Notre Dame product is somebody that a defense can use all over the field, and that’s why the Cleveland Browns pounced when they had the opportunity to move up and select him with the 52nd-overall pick in round two.
It would come out over the course of the draft weekend that Owusu-Koramoah’s medicals showed some red flags, with some teams concerned about his heart, to which many attribute his drop into the middle of the second round. He addressed that issue yesterday while speaking to reporters.
“Just seeing the reports, just based on something that is not necessarily 100 percent true, it is something where you have to sit back and control the controllables”, he said. “It is something that the coaches here always talk about of just being able to control what you can control. That was something that I could not control in terms of the reports that came out”.
“What I am worried about again are the things that I am dealing with in terms of whatever my heart is and whatever my heart is not – my heart is 100 percent sure; my heart is 100 percent healthy”, he added. “You could see that going through the tests, going through the EKGs and going through the past MRIs and things like that. It is not an issue. It is not something that I am worried about. I am looking forward to getting on the field and going”.
There are plenty of instances of players being medically flagged for a potential concerning condition later on down the road that ultimately amount to nothing, though there are exceptions. There are also players who play with conditions such as epilepsy which rarely if ever impact their professional career, with former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca a notable example.
While the medical red flag is significant, it also must be added that players such as Owusu-Koramoah who don’t necessarily fit seamlessly into one single position, and whose most functional usage would be as a diverse weapon moving all around the defense, tend to have volatile draft positions just because a lot of teams won’t know how to utilize them.
“I think a lot of things went into play and a lot of possibilities. Some teams may have already had picks locked in. Some teams may have not even known how to use me in their system”, he said when asked his thoughts about slipping into day two. “Some teams may have looked at the heart situation and just went off of that. There are a lot of possibilities when you talk about a team not taking you whether they think something is going on”.
For their part, the Browns’ coaching staff certainly seems to have big plans for how they intend to use their newest chess piece on defense. If they can employ him effectively, he may be giving AFC North opponents a headache for quite a while—no questioning his heart.