Jayson Oweh 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report
An exciting and naturally toolsy prospect, Jayson Oweh is the edge prospect in this year’s class who could have the highest ceiling. But is he just too raw to risk on day one? Kevin Sayer breaks down Oweh’s 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report.
Jayson Oweh NFL Draft Profile
Jayson Oweh, Edge - Penn State
Height - 6’4’’
Weight – 257lbs
Class - Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown - Howell, New Jersey
Jayson Oweh was a four-star recruit from Blair Academy where he was a two sport athlete playing basketball and football playing as a tight end as well as strong side defensive end. He received offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Miami, Alabama, Florida and Notre Dame before committing to the Nittany Lions.
He was expected to contribute right away however he redshirted his freshman season appearing in four games.
In 2019 he was named Big 10 Freshman of the Week and named to BIG10 Team of The Week after his performance against Michigan State where he sacked the opposing QB twice in the game and forced two fumbles.
He appeared in 13 games – only starting once – gaining five sacks and two forced fumbles.
In a frustrating and disjointed 2020 where Penn State had their share of opt outs and injuries Oweh started seven games achieving 38 tackles of which 6.5 were for a loss but with zero sacks.
Despite the reduced season he was named in the Associated Press & PFF ALL-BIG10 Second Team and joined teammate Shaka Toney in receiving All-BIG 10 First Team Honours.
Appeared on Bruce Feldmans “Freaks List” for his reported 40 time of 4.33.
Human beings with the specifications of Jayson Oweh don’t come around too often. The combination of length, speed, first step and long levers are an enticing skill set for a defensive line coach.
Oweh uses his long limbs combined with a wide base to stack and hold his gap in run support, being especially productive on inside runs. This area of his game has improved from 2019 to 2020 as he was often moved too easily losing his balance and struggling to disengage. His patience on options and play action belies the inexperience shown in other areas of his game as he keeps his eyes on the ball at the mesh point sticking to his assignment.
He has lined up at either end of the defensive line but looks more dangerous in a wide 9 standing position allowing him to take advantage of his first step. His anticipation of the snap is among the best in the class, and he will often make a lineman overset to compensate. Add this with his first step where he rockets out of his stance and he becomes a very dangerous proposition. He attacks the bend in a hurry and shows considerable athleticism for a man of his height showing true lower body flexibility to dip and attack with his body at an angle.
Whilst rounding the apex he’s aware enough to reach up to the QB’s throwing arm in their throwing motion to try and affect the play.
There is zero concern on motor or effort, he’ll chase down the backside of plays or lost causes even when knocked down, making plays further downfield.
In 2020 Oweh found more consistency in attacking an inside gap, adding a long arm to his pass rush arsenal. His only true go to move is a chop rip combination where he shows sharp flashes of his hands when using it.
The lateral ability, light feet and change of direction are all excellent but you’d love to see him use these gifts more when rushing the passer, there’s so much he could do now but doesn’t and needs to be coached so the pass rushing instincts become more natural than planned pre-snap.
Strong tackler, when a ball carrier is within his reach he wraps up with his long arms and maintains a good grip not letting an opponent run away from him.
At his current weight and frame, he struggles to disengage from drive blocks or pulling guards. Whilst he more than has the pace to chase from C-gap to the sideline on outside runs, when a lineman gets his hands on him, he again struggles to maintain his balance, flailing his arms to disengage. The Ohio State game this year is a prime example of how often he was pushed to the floor in both run and pass defense.
He lacks true core strength in his upper body and is the same weight now as when recruited. The Penn State strength and conditioning program is a renowned program yet Oweh whilst young, doesn’t appear to have gained any mass during his time there. It’s unclear if this is deliberate or not as his pace and speed for his current size are borderline ridiculous.
The disadvantage of this is he plays without any real power or snap; he can of course win at the next level as a speed rusher but there’s little pop in his hands and as the placement is wildly inconsistent. This immediately puts him at a disadvantage when taking on stronger opponents. As mentioned above that lack of strength in the run game is evident.
The raw pass rush plan is on display in most games, but the sack production he had in 2019 was at times against tight ends or against players who made little effort to stop him. With his change of direction skills and athletic profile an inside swim counter or spin would work wonders for him.
The frustrating pass rush plan was never more on display than against Minnesota in 2019 when he was trying to bull rush right tackle Daniel Faalele who weighs in nearly 150lbs heavier than Oweh.
There are not enough examples of awareness or skill in bringing everything together when control is lost in the pass rep. Once his chest is given up and a tackle has a lock on him, he loses ground, He’ll then try to use his hands in swatting away his opponents’ arms/hands. However as mentioned above the lack of power in his hands makes this a struggle and by this point the tackle has already won.
When trying to feign an outside to inside move he had a habit in the games watched of dragging a trailing foot through the turf, almost like a wide receiver. This would immediately put him off balance and if a tackle or guard were close enough, he could easily be thrown to the floor.
Frustratingly bends from his waist at times, his length and arms are his best asset!!
It’s easy to see the potential at the next level as he has the intangibles to be a double-digit sack monster in multiple seasons. His size, burst and speed are everything you would look for at the position and with some added core strength he could purely from a prospect standpoint be the most sought-after body type in the class.
The Penn State pro day numbers are completely absurd and borderline “Superman” stuff, so you have to take notice.
This however leads me to the most difficult evaluation I’ve completed in this year's edge class; he is so raw! He has only been playing the game for five years and has played in less than 20 collegiate games starting in eight – seven of which came in this very abnormal season. The lack of pass rush plan and instincts can all be attributed to lack of experience but you're banking on him putting all this together at the next level which will be a jump up in competition.
The run support has improved but the Ohio State game sticks in the mind at how easily at times he was manhandled. There will (like Rousseau) be a coach who cannot wait to work with him, however where do you draft a player like this? Very rarely in the NFL do prospects with low college production in sacks translate to success at the next level (Danielle Hunter and Cam Jordan are recent examples against the trend).
I personally simply couldn’t risk a first round selection on projection alone yet some teams will be enticed into the “what if…”. Oweh remains a fascinating prospect and I can’t wait to see where he lands and hopefully become a huge success.
NFL Draft Projection
2nd round selection. (3rd round would be a realistic landing spot based on film yet he could go bottom of the first!)
See where Oweh is ranked amongst the rest of the defensive edge prospects: Our full edge rankings here.
Our full Big Board is available to view here.
Penn State Vs Ohio State - All-22
Penn State Vs Iowa - https://youtu.be/cL8ktREcF3k
Penn State Vs Michigan - https://youtu.be/fsK70G867rU
Penn State Vs Memphis - All-22
Penn State Vs Minnesota - All-22