Draft Digest: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State

Athletic freak named first-team All-Big Ten despite no sacks last season

Penn State defensive end Jayson Oweh

Packers.com consulted more than a dozen mock drafts from reputable national outlets and compiled a list of players most frequently mocked as draft selections in the bottom third of the first round (picks 20-32).

Between now and draft day, when the Packers are slated to select at No. 29 overall, those players will be profiled with thumbnail sketches in a new series entitled "Draft Digest."

Today's player is …

Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State

Height/Weight: 6-5, 257

Key stats: Recorded five sacks in 11 games in 2019, but then none in seven games in 2020, though he did have 6½ tackles for loss last season.

College honors: Names first-team All-Big Ten in 2020.

Background: So how is an edge rusher who didn't have a single sack in 2020 being discussed as a first-round draft pick? Meet the intriguing case of Oweh. After posting five sacks in 2019, including a pair of strip-sacks in one game vs. Michigan State, Oweh was expected to dominate QBs last season. That didn't happen as far as sacks go, yet the Big Ten's coaches still voted him first-team all-conference in recognition of his constant disruption (38 tackles, 6½ TFLs). Then he put up insane testing numbers for a 250-plus-pound defender – a 4.36 40, 39½-inch vertical and 11-2 broad jump, among other measures – at Penn State's pro day. Speculation as to how high Oweh could be drafted based on his raw athletic ability is all over the place, but how quickly he can become a productive edge rusher at the next level is also still in question.

Potential fit with Packers: The Packers have no immediate need for an edge rusher, not with Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith, plus Rashan Gary, all back for 2021. But with the salary-cap crunch of this year expected to carry over into next year, and with 2022 being the last year of the current contracts for both Smiths, it's not crazy to see the Packers looking long term and choosing a player like Oweh if he's clearly the best available prospect when the No. 29 overall pick rolls around. Oweh is a project and needs time to develop, which is what the Packers have at the position. It's the same approach Green Bay took with Gary, drafting him No. 12 overall in 2019 right after the Smiths had come on board as free agents.

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