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Analysis: A lot to like in preseason opener, starting with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Here’s a fun exercise for Browns fans: Imagine what Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will look like when he feels completely comfortable with the playbook.

The second-round rookie linebacker admittedly is still catching up after missing the first five training camp practices after testing positive for COVID-19, but he showed the traits the Browns coveted when he was at Notre Dame on Saturday night in the 23-13 preseason-opening win over the Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Browns were most attracted to his speed as they transformed the linebacker position and the entire defense in the offseason. It showed up time and again against the Jaguars.

He blitzed up the middle to sack Gardner Minshew, he shed a blocker in space to make a tackle for loss and finished with a game-high eight tackles, including three for loss. Seven of the stops were solo.


“I’m glad that I got that experience, I’m glad that I got those reps to be able to catch up some of what I lost in those 10 days,” Owusu-Koramoah said.

Rookie cornerback Greg Newsome II was impressed but not surprised.

“He’s a stud. He’s a beast,” he said. “He’s really not even close to where he’s going to be at all. He played a great first game.”

Owusu-Koramoah liked how he played physically but wants to improve mentally.

“It was a lot of mistakes I made out there,” he said. “A lot of details I need to clean up and a lot of fundamentals I need to clean up.”

Mack Wilson was the weakside starter throughout the first couple of weeks of camp, but the shoulder injury he suffered Saturday could clear the way for Owusu-Koramoah to move into the starting lineup in practice this week. He may never relinquish the spot.

Mack Wilson getting MRI on shoulder after early injury Saturday

That’s thinking two steps ahead. For now, Owusu-Koramoah making plays without being fully up to speed should be enough to make fans smile.

Here are some other bright spots from the preseason opener:


Second-year receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones’ start to camp wasn’t a fluke.

Not that anyone thought it was.

With Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry not playing, Peoples-Jones was the No. 1 wideout and top target for quarterback Case Keenum, who started in place of Baker Mayfield, who rested along with the majority of the starters.

Peoples-Jones’ one-handed catch along the sideline for a first down was his best highlight. He demonstrated his deep speed last year but in camp and Saturday night, most impressive has been his ability to secure the ball in traffic, taking advantage of his big body and strong hands.

He had three catches for 26 yards.

Commentary: Browns have all the tools to Hammer out a season to remember


Rookie Demetric Felton was drafted in the sixth round out of UCLA and listed as a running back. He proved Saturday he can handle slot receiver in the NFL.

Playing wideout exclusively, he caught four passes for 44 yards. He also made a great move to get open in the end zone but the pass was late for an incompletion. His quickness is a nightmare for defenders inside, and his hands are legitimate.

Felton also returned a kickoff for 10 yards, a punt for 4 and covered kicks, making a tackle.

He’ll play running back at some point in the preseason, because the coaches want to see exactly how he fits in the offense.


No. 3 quarterback Kyle Lauletta completed 19 of 27 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. The Browns will likely keep two quarterbacks on the regular-season roster, but Lauletta took a huge step in securing a place on the practice squad.

For a guy with only five regular-season NFL passes, and no completions, that’s a win.

** Keenum was also solid, as an experienced veteran should be. Coach Kevin Stefanski was looking for the backups to run a smooth operation, and he had to be pleased.

** Receiver Davion Davis was a late addition to the camp roster but made the play of the game with a 27-yard touchdown catch from Lauletta on a jump ball into the end zone.

** Defensive end Porter Gustin welcomed No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence into the NFL with a sack. The Browns are looking for pass rush production from the backup ends.

** Rookie safety Richard LeCounte III, a fifth-round pick out of Georgia, had an interception, dropped another and added a sack.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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