The 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft came to an end late last night without a single Notre Dame football player hearing their name called among the 32 selections made. Only one, Butkus Award winning linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, was considered to be a likely first-rounder, but the fact that JOK remains on the board as teams prepare for tonight’s second and third round is still shocking.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is an absolute freak athlete. That is not debatable. He can cover wide receivers out of the slot at the linebacker position and he is a wrecking ball in the backfield against the run – just ask Travis Etienne who coincidentally did get selected in the first round.
Four total linebackers were selected last night – five if you count Penn State’s Jayson Oweh who is projected to play OLB in a 3-4 defense in the NFL. Owusu-Koramoah not being one of them is surprising, to say the least.
The one silver lining for JOK in not being a day one selection is that as a day two selection, he will get to his second NFL contract sooner than he would have if his name was called last night. First-round picks in the NFL are able to sign five-year contracts out of college, while second-rounders are only able to sign four-year deals. If JOK performs at the same level he has the last two years for whoever drafts him tonight, he will get to that second contact (which tends to be a NFL player’s most lucrative) a year early.
Selfishly, I am hoping my Philadelphia Eagles move up in the second round to grab what will be one of the steals of the draft. The Eagles linebackers have been dreadful for years and seeing JOK in midnight green would be amazing and would make up for having to see Jaylon Smith in Dallas all these years.
Things should change for Notre Dame tonight with up to five players projected to be selected in the second and third rounds. Liam Eichenberg, who some had a first-round possibility, along with Aaron Banks, Tommy Tremble, and Robert Hainsey have been projected as potential day two picks while edge players Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji could sneak their way into day two given the premium placed on defensive ends and a shortage of options in this year’s draft.
Round 2 of the the NFL Draft starts tonight at 7:00 PM with coverage on ESPN and NFL Network.