Let’s not get it twisted, the Patriots need to make that position first on its list of issues to resolve, but that doesn’t mean they will be addressing it with their No. 15 pick overall. In fact, more and more, we’re seeing draft prognosticators projecting the Patriots to draft help on the defensive side of the ball.
One of the recent examples of this comes from long-time draft expert Matt Miller of The Draft Scout. While we’ve seen Penn State’s Micah Parsons slip to the Patriots on some draft boards and Miami’s Gregory Rousseau sent to Foxborough on others, Miller goes a different route as he projects the Patriots to draft Notre Dame’s athletic hybrid linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Miller acknowledges the Patriots’ need to settle the QB position. Still, he mentions New England’s most formidable AFC East rival as motivation for the team to draft an athlete like Owusu-Koramoah.
A pick that helps the Patriots right now is defensive weapon Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from Notre Dame. A 6’1”, 220-pound missile, JOK has lined up as a STAR, a linebacker and a safety. He can be deployed in a myriad of alignments and assignments. And when you’re dealing with Josh Allen twice a year, defenders with versatility and big play potential are a need.
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Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s Skill Set
If you hear JOK compared to someone like Jamal Adams, don’t consider it strange. He has the size and straight-line speed to be a force against the run, and that is undoubtedly what the Patriots would potentially see in him if they used their first-round pick to draft the 21-year-old.
He won the Butkus Award for top linebacker in college football in 2020, but he probably won’t play a conventional inside spot because of his size. His skill set would be perfect for playing Adrian Phillips’s role for the Patriots in 2020 and the one Patrick Chung manned for his 10 seasons in New England.
If the Patriots were to draft JOK, it would create a bit of a conundrum for Bill Belichick.
Log Jam at STAR Position
Chung was among the eight Patriots to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season. Like the others, Chung is expected to return in 2021.
If and when he does, the Patriots would have a wealth of players best-suited for the STAR position–assuming they drafted JOK. Kyle Dugger could even play some snaps in this role.
There is a chance Chung and other returning opt-out players could find themselves released ahead of the 2020 season, even without New England going after a prospect like JOK. Phillips played well in the role in 2020, and because of Chung’s age (34 at the start of the 2021 season), there is reason to believe Philips will be considered a superior fit.
If the Patriots get even younger at the position, Chung’s chances of being set free increase dramatically.
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