2021 NFL Draft: Bet on the upside of EDGE Jayson Oweh

The Cleveland Browns select Jayson Oweh in the first round of this 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports)
The Cleveland Browns select Jayson Oweh in the first round of this 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports) /

The group of edge rushers in the 2021 NFL Draft class is a difficult bunch to evaluate. Guys like Kwity Paye, Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips will all likely go in the first round, but each player has questions about their game worth being concerned about. There is not elite high-level edge rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft class and the group as a whole leaves plenty to be desired.

That being said, there is undoubtedly some interesting talent in the group and some major potential value if teams are looking hard enough. Today, we are going to take a look at Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh.

Oweh flashed some serious upside as a redshirt freshman for Penn State in 2019, piling up five sacks and showing exciting speed around the edge as a part-time player. He took over as a starting edge defender for the Nittany Lions this season but did not record a single sack through the seven games that he played.

While Oweh did not bring down the quarterback once this past season, he still showed off impressive athletic upside and was stronger than expected against the run. He did pile up 38 total tackles in 2020, including 6.5 tackles for loss.

Tough evaluation, but the upside is obvious

With limited college exposure, Oweh’s evaluation will be tough for NFL teams. He is an extremely long and athletic edge rusher who explodes off of the ball in an instant and shows fantastic flexibility when turning the corner. Oweh eats up ground on the pass rush in a hurry and does a great job of getting low and working his way around the offensive tackle. However, his limited playing time and actual on-field production obviously make this a tough evaluation.

When it comes to Oweh, this all comes down to projectability. Will there be an NFL team willing to bet on his obvious physical skill-set and take a shot on his upside in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Obviously, that remains to be seen, but I would bet on that happening.

Guys with this kind of length and athleticism simply do not come around often, and while Oweh was not ultra-productive as a pass rusher, the upside in that part of his game is obvious. On top of that, he was a capable run defender in college and plays with a high motor at all times.

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The team taking Oweh in the 2021 NFL Draft will be making a long-term investment. Expecting him to come in and make an immediate impact would be a mistake. However, if an NFL team makes an investment in Oweh and allows him to grow naturally and come along slowly, he could undoubtedly become a major defensive piece for the team down-the-line. Make no mistake about it, Oweh is one of the most naturally gifted defensive players in the 2021 NFL Draft class, and despite his raw skill-set, he is worth a first-round investment by the right team.