Over the next few weeks, the Broadway staff will be taking a closer look at prospects the Titans could look to target in the 2021 NFL Draft based on positional need.
Today I am looking at one of the most polarizing edge rushing prospects in this class: Penn State’s Jayson Oweh.
Games I watched: Memphis (2019), Idaho (2019), Minnesota (2019), Ohio State (2020), Michigan (2020).
Oweh will turn 23 years old during his rookie campaign. He’s an inexperienced player who heads to the NFL with less than 20 games played at the collegiate level. He played behind and next to some pretty good pass rushers throughout his time as a Nittany Lion. In 2019, he was behind Yetur Gross-Matos and he spent the shortened 2020 campaign sharing the spotlight with a fellow NFL hopeful in Shaka Toney.
Oweh recorded 7 sacks and 63 tackles, 13.5 of which went for a loss, in three years combined at Penn State.
At 6-5 and 257 pounds, Oweh has the size and length that NFL coaches dream of when it comes to the EDGE position. Oweh will often be described as a prospect that has “all the tools” throughout this process. He’s an athletic freak with the capability of being a big-time player at the next level.
On tape, he looks like a prototypical 3-4 OLB and that’s where I believe he’ll play in the NFL. As a pass rusher, you’re leaning more on tools than production here. Oweh is an explosive, long, flexible and bendy edge rusher. It all starts with an explosive first step off the ball. Oweh also plays with a good amount of power as a pass rusher.
While watching his tape, I thought Oweh was a toolsy prospect that needs to do a better job finishing plays (more on that later).
Oweh is raw when it comes to stopping the run. He’s inconsistent in his ability to get off blocks. With his frame, length and tackle radius, this is an area he should be able to improve in as time goes on, but we haven’t seen it up until now.
As mentioned during the introduction, Oweh is young, raw and inexperienced. The biggest issue here may be the lack of 2020 production. He only played in 7 games in 2020, but finishing the biggest year of your collegiate career with 0 sacks is a bad look no matter how you slice it. NFL teams will frequently ask Oweh why he wasn’t more productive throughout this process.
Any team that drafts him is obviously betting on the athletic tools, but they must do so with the understanding that he’s a bit of a project that will likely have to be brought along slowly.
Oweh has the potential to turn into a big-time sack artist at the next level, but there is some buyer-beware here. As a prospect, he reminds me a lot of Danielle Hunter at LSU. Everybody knew Hunter had all the athletic tools, but he only had 4.5 sacks in college. There were some obvious concerns there.
The Vikings decided to bet on Hunter’s athletic traits by using a third round pick on him, and they’ve been rewarded by an astounding 54.5 sacks in just five pro seasons.
Will Oweh pan out in similar fashion and make a team look smart, or will he be overdrafted and remain unproductive?
Does he fit the Titans?
At this point, Oweh is a better pass rusher than run defender, which is appropriate for today’s NFL. He’s likely going to need some time as he attempts to put it all together. As a rookie, he’ll be best utilized playing in a sub-package role as a player that comes on the field and is allowed to pin his ears back on obvious passing downs and get after the QB.
His fit with the Titans is a question of what they’re looking for at the outside linebacker position. Oweh isn’t yet an every down player. He is similar to Harold Landry in the sense that he plays on the edge and can drop into coverage on occasion thanks to his length, twitch and ability to impact passing windows. However, if they want someone who can play inside as well as out on the defensive line, Oweh is likely not their guy.
You have to think about it from a team-building perspective. The Titans need multiple pass rushers, and Landry is set to enter a contract year. Let’s say this offseason the Titans sign a bigger player to compliment Landry. They might then look to add a guy like Oweh in the draft, as that would afford him the opportunity to play a limited amount of snaps while learning from a couple of productive veterans.
After a year in which sacks were a premium, is Jon Robinson willing to bet on a pass rusher that has had issues finishing plays and recording sacks?
To get an idea of what Oweh can and can’t do, check out his cut-ups, available on YouTube:
Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!