The need for adding to the offensive line can wait a minute. The need for adding to the linebacker group, cannot.
Head Coach Ron Rivera has expressed on multiple occasions that the team is in need of improving the linebacking group, starting all the way back to Week 9’s embarrassing loss to the Giants. Alfred Morris and Wayne Gallman had a field day against the WFT, rushing for over 140 yards and touchdown. Morris, had a staggering 7.4 yards per carry, which is nearly doubles his career average of 4.3.
At that point Rivera knew he had enough. Since then has stated numerous times this offseason, in which his team coming off a division championship and wild card playoff appearance at a mere 7-9, that he would love to keep LB Kevin Pierre-Louis on the squad. Or at worst, find a player of his caliber but younger.
Why KPL you ask? Because defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and his staff viewed Pierre-Louis as their best coverage linebacker out of the group, with the ability to bring the heat once called upon. But, both sides didn’t reach the goal of retainment, and KPL has now moved on to the Houston Texans. His departure now leaves a hole in a unit already not up to Rivera’s par, so to speak.
Hello 2021 NFL Draft!
“With the 19th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Washington Football Team selects…”
Here are two prospects that I’ve been following during draft season. Washington would be served well if they choose either one of the players.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah – Linebacker, Notre Dame
Explosive. BOOM. Sheesh. These are just a few words to describe this young bull. JOK, short for obvious reasons, would be another freakish athlete to add to this already NFL fearing defense. Although he’s considered undersized, he draws huge comparison to former Clemson linebacker and current Arizona Cardinal, Isaiah Simmons. Simmons was a hot prospect coming into the NFL last season, and many view him as the future of the linebacker position. A player that can do it all. Simmons was selected 15th in the 2019 draft.
Here is where Koromoah stacks up. Below you will find stats of the Hampton, Virginia native. He played his best ball; over two separate respected conferences.
Based on 2019 and 2020 seasons – stats according to ESPN.com and sports-reference.com
2019 SEASON (INDEPENDENT CONFERENCE)
- 79 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 4PBUs, 1 FF
- Best Game – vs Iowa State – Bowl Game – 9 tackles (7 solo), 3 sacks and a forced fumble with a fumble recovery
2020 SEASON (ATHLETIC COAST CONFERENCE)
- 61 tackles, 11 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 3FF, 1 INT
- Best Game – vs Clemson, W 47-40 2OT – 9 tackles (7 solo), 1/2 a sack, and a forced fumble
My take: This kid can flat out get after it, and we all know how much Del Rio and Co. love to do that. He’s available to fit any scheme on any style defense. He definitely completes the linebacker trio the Washington Football Team is looking for. Measures of 6’1 215 lbs considers him undersized for the league. But, and I mean a big but, a player like him with lighting sideline to sideline speed, and freakish athleticism to cover TEs and SLWRs at his position? It’s a no brainer. Washington should seriously consider drafting the First Team All-American Honors and Butkus Award winner out of Notre Dame, Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah.
Zaven Collins, Linebacker, Tulsa
Imagine Logan Thomas as a linebacker. That’s Zaven Collins. Line him up on the edge. Line him up inside. Wherever this kid is positioned, he’s gonna dominate. The student athlete made two house calls out of his four takeaways. As a linebacker, Collins, 6’4 260 lbs, in most professional opinions was slated to be selected in the 2nd round or later.
That was until he had is pro day. Posting a 4.6 forty-yard dash time, great strength and vertical game, his results have launched him into the first round pick conversations. Some experts even have stated he’s an every down backer, and a tackling machine. Since I displayed stats from last two seasons for JOK, I present Zaven Collins.
2019 SEASON (AMERICAN CONFERENCE)
- 97 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 FF
- Best Game – Navy – 13 tackles, (5 solo)
2020 SEASON (AMERICAN CONFERENCE – ONLY 8 GAMES – COVID19)
- 54 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 PBUs, 2FF, 4 INTS (2 returned for TD)
- Best Game – Central Florida – 10 tackles (7 solo), 1 INT
My Take: The Tulsa product seems like a total package linebacker that could most definitely succeed in Del Rio’s defense. A fundamentally sound guy that can replace the role Pierre-Louis occupied, that can play every single down for you and produce at a high level. On film he doesn’t seem as explosive or as a player ready to rip your head off. What he does show is he’s not letting you break his tackle whatsoever; with his height and great ball-hand skills, he presents a challenge for taller TEs and SLWRs.
Everyone Has An Opinion, Here’s Mine
The 2021 NFL Draft is less than a month away, and the Washington Football Team is on the clock. They’ve actually been on the clock ever since the first waves of free agency ended. Better choose wisely here.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah is the better option of the two to take a chance on at 19 for the Washington Football Team. Two years ago they chose to start making offenses ‘Sweat’. Last year, they chose to add an elite ‘Predator’ to the mix. Add JOK to this list, havoc will be created for opposing offenses, especially in the “NFC Least”.
Zaven Collins is a sold projected starter that will contribute to this Top-Five ranked defense. He doesn’t present fear or extreme athleticism, and maybe he excelled so well cause of the competition he was up against. But, being a more pedestrian player that gets the job done without all the fireworks has proven to be productive as well. Ryan Kerrigan for example.
If JOK isn’t there at 19 for some reason, and Zaven Collins happens to be, you have to take Collins. Although if both players are available when the Commissioner reads the card, the name should start with a J. The Washington Football Team should keep the drafting game-changers trend going in this years NFL Draft.
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