The Athletic’s new mock draft has the Browns taking a raw prospect.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler is one of the best draft gurus in the business, but he’s shooting for the moon when he mocks the Browns with the 26th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Brugler mocked (subscription) Penn State edge rusher Jayson Oweh to Cleveland. Drafting on the edge is obviously a position of need, but Oweh will set up a battle of the “Eye test” vs “Analytics.”
I write this because Oweh recorded zero, I repeat, ZERO, sacks in his final season at Penn State, a season in which he earned the starting job and saw his playing time jump considerably.
It’s crazy, right? Using a first-round pick on a guy who’s supposed to tackle the quarterback, who didn’t tackle the quarterback in college? It’s a move the Browns of five years ago would definitely make, as their fans would sit around on draft night with their heads in their hands.
Oh, but analytics. This front office loves data like Winnie the Pooh loves honey, and it just so happens that Oweh is an analytic darling.
1. Despite not recording a sack, Oweh was the 18th highest graded edge player in college football, according to Pro Football Focus.
2. While he didn’t record a sack, he had an 18 percent win rate as a pass rusher (this is considered good). This number is supposed to demonstrate “explosiveness.”
3. Pro Football Focus loved Oweh as a run defender, as he finished with a grade of 89.9 in that department. Oweh had 20 tackles in his final season and 6.5 of those takedowns went for a loss.
4. He looks the part, standing at 6-foot-5, 252 pounds.
I won’t pretend the Jayson Oweh whisperer. I didn’t see Penn State play this season. That said, you don’t need to be a veteran GM to know you’re drafting Oweh on potential.
If he hits on that potential, great. The Browns found their bookend to Myles Garrett. If he misses, well, you’ve got yourself another Emmanuel Ogbah.
It’s a Catch-22 in that if you take Oweh, you’re football fans are ticked for reaching for a guy who doesn’t have a resume. If you pass and Oweh is a star, you’re an anti-analytics dinosaur.
Ultimately, I would pass on Oweh, just because Ogbah is still fresh in my mind. Oweh clearly needs some time to develop, and frankly, the Browns don’t have any to spare. The window to win is open right now and Berry has to find a player that will help them accomplish that goal.