Myles Garrett has competition for the best defensive player on the Browns.
If I were to tell you that the Browns had a top-five ranked defensive player on Pro Football Focus not many people would be shocked. Some, at least before this year, could’ve said Denzel Ward, others may have thought Jadveon Clowney was a possibility, but most would’ve said, Myles Garrett.
What If I were to tell you that the Browns do indeed have a top-five ranked defensive player on PFF but it was neither Clowney, Ward, or Garrett but in fact rookie second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Would you believe me?
Believe it or not, Owusu-Koramoah is in fact a top-five ranked player on PFF’s website currently, grading out with a 90.1 for the season so far. Statistically, this would surprise you. He’s played less than 40% of snaps on defense for the season, playing about 51% against Chicago, which was also his highest-rated game of the season. For the season he only has seven tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a half-a-sack but he does have two pass deflections. Not outrageous stats by any means.
Yet, the rookie is doing things that aren’t grading out statistically, like in coverage. As Jared Mueller pointed out, Owusu-Koramoah graded out to a 93.9 in only 23 defensive snaps against Chicago. He had a team-leading 92.5 grade against the pass. Garrett and Greedy Williams were the only two other defensive players to top a 90 for the game.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s pace is unrealistic for the Browns but encouraging
The Browns should not expect Owusu-Koramoah to maintain this pace of play for the entire season. It’s unrealistic for a rookie to be a top-five defensive player for the entire season, especially when he’s not even playing most of the snaps per game at the moment.
That will change, obviously, he’ll play more and more snaps as the season goes on, and when you play you open yourself to more mistakes. This isn’t a knock, it’s a reality. It’s easier to maintain a high success rate with fewer opportunities. The more opportunities you have the more likely you are to flub or make mistakes.
So his rating will drop and that’s ok. Don’t misconstrue that. If he maintains a low 80’s or a high 70 rating on PFF by the end of the year, then that’s a great season for this young man. Saying all of this isn’t to dismiss him but to properly manage expectations. He’s a great pass-coverage linebacker. Truly, Joe Schobert level’s of good. That doesn’t mean he’s a complete player just yet.
Hopefully, he can make more of an impact against the run as the season goes on but right now he’s doing exactly what we need him to do.