According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, the Indianapolis Colts will select Penn State pass rusher Jayson Oweh with the 21st overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft in his recent mock draft:
21 Indianapolis Colts
Jayson Oweh · Edge rusher
School: Penn State | Year: Sophomore (RS)
The Colts could go with a cornerback here, but they covet elite length and explosiveness off the edge. Oweh might be too tempting to pass on despite his need for pass-rush polish.
Now, some Colts fans may blow a gasket here if either North Dakota State’s Trey Lance or Ohio State’s Justin Fields fall to #12 and to #15 respectively, and Indianapolis makes no attempt to move up and snag one of the top quarterback prospects.
It’s a fair gripe too.
However, as it relates purely to Oweh, he recorded 38 tackles (20 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, and a pass defensed during 7 starts as a redshirt sophomore for the Nittany Lions.
Oweh is a long, lean-muscled edge rusher. He is more disruptive than productive on 2020 tape. As a pass rusher, he explodes out of his four-point stance and flashes an effective chop/rip and an occasional up/under move. However, there are too many snaps where he doesn’t have much of a plan. He does have the ability to bend at the top of his rush and collected a lot of QB hits on the tape I watched. He didn’t have any sacks to show for it in 2020, though. He plays too high against the run, but he uses his length to press out tackles and set the edge. He will get washed by down blocks when aligned inside. Overall, Oweh is an intriguing talent with his best football ahead of him.
Here’s what others are saying on Oweh:
• Gregory Rousseau— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) October 28, 2020
• Kwity Paye
• Jayson Oweh
• Aidan Hutchinson
• Azeez Ojulari
• Quincy Roche
• Joseph Ossai
• Carlos Basham
There’s plenty of others to name, but this EDGE class has a lot of depth. Lots of different structures and skill sets.
#PennState EDGE Jayson Oweh (reported numbers):— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) October 26, 2020
• HT/WT: 6’5, 252, rSO
• 40: 4.33
• Vert: 36”
• Broad: 10’7”
Former basketball player that was convinced to play football in HS. Finished his season debut with 4 QB pressures.
Two edge-rushers with Day Two grades I think could be starters—Jayson Oweh (Penn State) and Ronnie Perkins (Oklahoma). Both have athletic traits of starters.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 12, 2021
Jayson Oweh (9) & Shaka Toney (6) had 15 QB pressures between them in @PennStateFball OT loss to Indiana— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 25, 2020
Oweh will be a riser in #2021NFLDraft throughout this season... Only 1 start coming into 2020
Was on @BruceFeldmanCFB Freak List over the summer - 4.33 40 & 36.5" Verical pic.twitter.com/OpJcs2cir6
Now, the Colts obviously have a long-term need at pass rusher, as veteran defensive end starters Justin Houston (32) and Denico Autry (30) are set to become free agents this offseason, as is rotational defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad.
Despite showing initial flashes of promise, Colts’ young pass rusher Kemoko Turay appears to be working his way back from a prior season-ending ankle surgery and hasn’t consistently put it all together on the field yet.
Meanwhile, soon-to-be 3rd year pass rusher and former 2019 second round pick Ben Banogu has been underwhelming to begin his NFL career—as routinely a healthy scratch down the stretch of this past season. He needs to take a big leap forward in 2021.
That being said, their pass rush stalled a bit late in the season, and there’s improvement to be had for what appears to be around a league average pass rushing unit collectively—especially coming off the edge (as All-Pro DeForest Buckner is a force in the interior).
Oweh is a talented defensive end prospect to watch for the Colts, but I cannot help but wonder whether the team has bigger long-term needs at both quarterback and left tackle to address this offseason.