According to PFF, the Indianapolis Colts are the ‘favorite landing spot’ for Penn State edge Jayson Oweh—among the 2021 NFL Draft’s top defensive line prospects:
EDGE JAYSON OWEH, PENN STATE: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Indianapolis’ edge unit ranked 25th in pass-rushing grade this past season, and the team’s two most productive players at the position, Justin Houston and Denico Autry, are hitting free agency. The Colts need a fresh young face to play wide nine along their defensive front, especially considering at least one of either Autry and Houston will depart and neither 2018 second-rounder Kemoko Turay nor 2019 second-rounder Ben Banogu has shown much to get excited about. Look no further than Jayson Oweh, a man with absurd explosiveness.
The former Penn State Nittany Lion reportedly ran a 40-yard team in the low 4.3s. Now, we all know to take that with a grain of salt, but watching the tape, it wouldn’t be surprising if the 6-foot-5, 252-pound edge defender pulled it off. Oweh’s get-off is truly remarkable.
The physical tools are clearly there with Oweh, but the pass-rush toolbox and production to back it up are not. He did look like a completely different player against the run this past year, raising his grade in that facet from 59.5 in 2019 to 89.7 in 2020, but he was inconsistent as a pass rusher.
Oweh carved up Indiana’s tackles in his season-opener for 10 pressures. He then proceeded to record just 10 pressures over the next six games combined, and those same Indiana tackles would go on to produce some of the worst pass-blocking grades in the FBS.
That said, Oweh’s tools are too good for Indianapolis to pass up. With the right coaching, he can be a monster in the NFL. He’s worth the risk.
The 6’5”, 252 pound redshirt sophomore defensive end recorded 38 tackles (20 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, and a pass defensed during 7 starts for the Nittany Lions in 2020—earning First-Team All-Big Ten honors from the conference’s coaches.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah currently ranks Oweh as his 33rd best prospect overall, having fallen six spots recently:
33. Jayson Oweh
Penn State · Edge rusher · Sophomore (RS)
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 else they’re saying on Oweh:
Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh is a nice developmental prospect on day two. Didn't record a sack in 2020 but had five in 2019.— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 16, 2021
Ideal size (6-5, 257), freakish athlete w/burst off the line, lateral mobility, motor. Likes club/rip & works down the line as a run defender in a hurry. pic.twitter.com/TBTxmbHVin
#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.
Penn State edge defender Jayson Oweh has declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 26, 2020
Oweh: 4th ranked ED in his class pic.twitter.com/p7wkCh7C3D
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
It’s no secret that the Colts will heavily be in the market for a long-term answer at edge—maybe adding two pass rushers when it’s all said and done—whether it’s in this year’s NFL Draft or through free agency.
Both of this past year’s veteran defensive end starters Justin Houston (32) and Denico Autry (30) are free agents and are not locks to be re-signed—while the Colts could use an infusion of youth, speed, athleticism, and bend regardless coming off the edge.
While Indianapolis has some young developmental pass rushers in the stable, 2018 second round pick Kemoko Turay, despite flashes earlier in his career, hasn’t shown he’s fully recovered from a season-ending ankle injury he suffered early in 2019.
Meanwhile, 2019 second round pick, Ben Banogu, was a healthy scratch down the stretch of this past season and needs to take a significant leap forward in 2021.
Oweh made a greater impact than his sack total output indicated, and he’s the type of raw, ‘toolsy’, athletic pass rusher that the Colts could look to take a chance on during ‘Day 2’.