Several recent mock drafts have slotted Jayson Oweh to the Jaguars at 25. There are numerous reasons that I find this fascinating.
For one, if the Jags select Oweh in round one, it would mark the third consecutive year they've taken an edge rusher in the first round. Jacksonville selected Josh Allen with the seventh pick in 2019 and K'Lavon Chaisson with the 20th pick in 2020. Adding a third edge rusher to the mix is one of my top priorities in the draft.
Two of my draft principals center around positional value and overall talent. The most valuable positions in football are QB, OT, EDGE, WR, and CB. Adding a player at one of those positions in round one makes sense from a monetary and on-the-field standpoint for every team, every year. But on the other side of the same coin, it's malpractice to pass on players with an elite talent level to attack positions of need or value positions.
Is Jayson Oweh a worthy candidate for the Jaguars at 25?
The 22-year-old edge defender from Penn State weighs in at 257 pounds and stands 6'5''. Oweh DOMINATED his pro day, running a 4.36 40-yard dash, registering a vertical jump of 39.5" and a broad jump of 134". He has long 34.5" arms and also impressed in agility drills. His RAS (relative athletic score) ranks 7th out of 1,336 defensive end prospects since 1987.
What's not to like? Oweh didn't register a single sack in 2020, and in 2019 he had just five. The lack of sacks throughout his career is a little misleading, as he regularly applied pressure on opposing QBs. Over his final two years in college, Oweh registered an impressive pass rush win rate of 13.5%. And in 2020, he took massive strides as a run defender.
To get a refresher course on Oweh, I popped on the tape and watched three of his 2020 performances: WK 9 vs Ohio State, WK 10 vs Maryland, WK 13 @ Michigan
Against Ohio State, Oweh was strong at the point of attack against the run and clearly had a feel for setting the edge. He did very little in terms of pass rush, registering ZERO pressures. He wasn't able to convert speed to power and didn't show any sort of pass rush plan. Ohio State had a masterful game plan on offense. It didn't appear that the Penn State coaching staff allowed Oweh to pin his ears back and attack the pocket all that often. Still, you'd like to see something in the pass rush department.
Oweh put a spin move on tape against Maryland and showed off his athleticism, chasing a receiver down about 30 yards past the line of scrimmage. He also showed an inside move that forced the QB to escape the pocket prematurely. Once again, there was no consistency to his pass rush, but at least there were some moves to build off in this one.
Against Michigan, Oweh showed his speed around the edge but still didn't get to the QB. A lack of pass rush moves showed up yet again. He was stout against the run. His motor appears to always be running hot, but he needs to develop a set of pass rush moves and counters.
Oweh is a project as a pass rusher. He doesn't have a pass rush plan, doesn't convert speed to power as well as you would think, and rarely displays actual pass rush moves. Still, the glimpses into what he could be are staggering, and his athletic profile is second to none in this class. His prowess as a run defender is helpful, but you're not drafting an edge player in round one to stop the run. With his length and athleticism, Oweh projects to be able to drop into shallow zones effectively. Oweh does some things on the field that might not show up on the stat sheet but enables teammates to finish plays. I have a hard time betting on a player like this in round one, although I wouldn't be surprised to hear his name called on the first night of the draft.
If Oweh can develop as a pass rusher, the sky is the limit. He could ultimately prove to be the best EDGE in this class, but on the flip side, if the development doesn't occur, he could also be one of the major disappointments if a team pulls the trigger on him in round one. The Jaguars are going to run a multiple front defense, and Oweh's athleticism and versatility should make him appealing to Trent Baalke, Urban Meyer, and Joe Cullen. He primarily rushed with a hand in the dirt at Penn State; perhaps allowing him to rush from a two-point stance could aid his development.
Bottom Line: I'm not taking a pass rusher in the first round that doesn't have some defined pass rush moves and production. There's too much boom or bust for me. Should he be available in the early-to-mid-second round, I'd be okay with taking a flyer at that point. But there are several pass rushers that will likely be available later than Oweh that I'd feel more comfortable with, including Carlos Basham, Quincy Roche, Ronnie Perkins, and Joseph Ossai. Even later, there are some guys I feel strongly about: Jonathon Cooper, Janarius Robinson, Payton Turner, and Daelin Hayes are among them. In the end, I'd probably let some else take the risk with Jayson Oweh, but there's no denying his upside.
You might wonder why I was higher on K'Lavon Chaisson in 2020. For one, I don't think the 2020 draft class was quite as strong as the 2021 class overall, which is one reason he was a bit higher up in my rankings. But Chaisson was much more productive and younger coming out of LSU in 2020. Oweh is actually older than Chaisson. KC45 consistently showed speed to power down the stretch for the Tigers and was a menace on stunts. Chaisson registered 19 pressures and 4.5 sacks in his final four games at LSU, while Oweh put up just seven pressures and ZERO sacks in his final four collegiate performances. Simply put, Chaisson's transition to the NFL as a pass rusher took less imagination. Oweh could very well end up being the better overall player.
If the Jaguars have the opportunity to select Oweh at 25 or 33, and they elect to go in a different direction, it'll say a lot about how they value prospects. He does have a connection to the coaching staff — Tyler Bowen, the Jaguars' tight end coach, was at Penn State during Oweh's time there. And with Penn State being one of Ohio State's top rivals, Urban Meyer, Ryan Stamper, Chris Ash, and others on the staff have undoubtedly known about this kid for a while.
Follow Jordan on Twitter
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies
Powered by RedCircle
Voted #1 Blog in Jax