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Jayson Oweh’s Pure Athleticism Makes Him Intriguing NFL Draft Prospect

Back in 2018, a budding four-star recruit out of Howell, New Jersey decided to commit to Penn State football. Now, three years later, Jayson Oweh has cemented himself as an NFL Draft prospect with the potential to light up the league.

Oweh played his high school ball at the Blair Academy and was rated the second-best player in New Jersey in the 2018 class. He was a late bloomer and started playing football only midway through high school. Still, he came into the Nittany Lion program and initially played understudy to the likes of Shaka Toney and Yetur Gross-Matos.

Oweh played only four games in his freshman year in order to maintain his ability to redshirt. He accumulated four total tackles in those four games, along with two sacks that both came against Kent State.

Entering the 2019 season, Oweh was a redshirt freshman who still didn’t have a solidified spot on the Penn State defensive line. He made an appearance in all 13 games that season, racking up 21 tackles, five sacks, and two forced fumbles. Despite the lack of playing time, it became obvious he was a prime candidate to have a breakout 2020 season.

Oweh played in and started seven games for the Nittany Lions in the shortened 2020 season. He eclipsed his season-high for tackles with 38 in six fewer games, which was good for fourth on the team. Despite Penn State’s struggles in 2020, Oweh had big games against Ohio State, Maryland, and Nebraska. His season was cut short after obtaining an injury versus Rutgers.

Despite Oweh’s injury, his 2020 campaign earned him multiple All-Big Ten selections as the redshirt sophomore opted to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2021 NFL draft.

The main factor that stands out about Oweh is his athleticism. To put it simply, the kid is a freak of nature.

Coming in at 6’5″ and 257 pounds, his physical frame is impressive itself, and Oweh stood out during Penn State’s pro day. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times, and had a 39.5-inch vertical. Pro Football Focus draft analyst Micheal Renner called Oweh’s pro day an “all-time” performance.

Producing numbers like that at Oweh’s size is extremely eye-popping, to say the least. Still, NFL scouts have questions about Oweh’s football IQ. Despite a big 2020, Oweh remains a relatively inexperienced football player. He started playing the game only midway through high school and started in just eight games during his college career.

One stat that also stands out against Oweh is the fact he had zero sacks in 2020. It’s easy to look at that number and be discouraged about the defensive end, but he still feels he had a dominant career at Penn State.

“In terms of the zero sacks thing, it’s obviously there,” Oweh said at Penn State’s Pro Day. “But if you really are a savant of the game, you really understand what’s going on. You watch the film and don’t just look at the box score, you understand that’s not even who I am, that’s not the type of player I am.”

Even with zero sacks, Oweh still had 6.5 tackles for loss in 2020.

According to NFL.com, Oweh has a prospect grade of 6.44, making him a boom-or-bust player, according to those metrics. In many eyes, he’s a raw talent that still needs refinement when it comes to the facets of the game of football.

In order for Oweh to be a success in the NFL, it all comes down to the situation. It may be detrimental to his development if he’s thrust into too big of a role too early in his career. Oweh may be a project, but his athleticism is something you can’t teach, and it should give him a great base to be successful at the next level.

Most mock drafts have Oweh as a late first-round or early second-round prospect. In the latest PFF mock draft, Oweh is projected to go No. 22 overall to the Indianapolis Colts. ESPN insider Todd McShay doesn’t have Oweh going until No. 58 to the Baltimore Ravens.

When and where Oweh goes is a tough prediction to make, but whoever takes the defensive end will have a raw talent on their hands with some serious potential still to come.

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About the Author

Connor Donohue

Connor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from the great state of New Jersey and is proud of it. Lover of the greatest city in the world, New York City, he strongly dislikes the city of Philadelphia and will not hesitate to tell you that. He's also been cursed as a Penn State fan since birth. If you want to call him a bum or maybe go out on a date with him, follow him on twitter @ConnorDonohue00 or email him at [email protected]

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