The 2022 linebacker class was a subject of uncertainty before the season. But the group aged pretty well over the past few months. Nakobe Dean and Devin Lloyd have ascended to the top of the board, but they’re not the only ones who used the 2021 season to their advantage. Another such linebacker is Oklahoma LB Brian Asamoah, who could surge into the early rounds of the NFL Draft with his scouting report.
Brian Asamoah NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Oklahoma
- Current Year: Redshirt junior
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 222 pounds
- Wingspan: 80″
- Length: 33 3/8″
- Hand: 9 3/4″
Brian Asamoah Scouting Report
Scouting reports take all observations about a player and compartmentalize them into simple paragraphs and sections. But sometimes, when sifting through these observations, you lose the sense of where and when these observations were noted.
For a few prospects, it’s more important than others. Some players have a linear progression and don’t develop much through a season, either due to stagnation or pre-existing dominance. But others show immense growth from their first to last game in a given year. That needs to be a part of their profile. And that’s what Asamoah showed in 2021.
Asamoah’s athletic profile
While Asamoah has shown immense growth over the past year, one thing has always remained static in his evaluation: athleticism. Asamoah may be one of the best athletes in this linebacker class, and that’s saying a lot. The Oklahoma LB is highly explosive and flashes freaky range. He can close ground quickly and run down offensive players from behind as they turn upfield. When he finally triggers and closes on plays, Asamoah can hit an impressive second gear.
The Oklahoma LB gears up incredibly quickly in short spaces, but there’s more to his game than straight-line explosiveness. Asamoah is a smooth and spry lateral athlete. He’s light on his feet and an easy mover in space with twitchy corrective athleticism. He can change directions easily and adjust leverage on the fly. Moreover, Asamoah has exceptionally fluid hips for his size. He can quickly transition and chase, and he can also sink his hips into transitions with minimal lateral stiffness.
Asamoah’s athleticism translates incredibly well in all phases. The Oklahoma LB has the explosiveness to be disruptive on the blitz, but he also has the athleticism to feign rushes and shade out into zone coverage. In the box, Asamoah has the lateral agility and burst to adjust his tackling angles on short notice. He can leverage his burst into contact force and use his proportionally long frame and strong upper body to consistently wrap up as a tackler.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Asamoah has everything you want athletically, but the most exciting part of his scouting report is that he visibly developed over the course of 2021. When he’s patient, he flashes great processing ability, as he’s able to diagnose plays and close in with quickness. The Sooners product seemed to improve at patiently reading plays in 2021 — an ability that will be vital in the NFL.
Going further, Asamoah knows how to use his traits once he’s dialed in on plays. In run defense, he generally takes good angles in the box. He can identify ball carriers and swerve in for stops. He flashes physicality coming downhill, and he’s willing to blow up blocks and disrupt running lanes. Furthermore, Asamoah has shown that he can read blocks, surge into lanes, and wall off runners with his frame. He’s able to use targeted physicality and micro-movements to pry himself past blockers.
In pass defense, Asamoah’s upside is tantalizing. The Oklahoma LB’s feet are fast and sudden, and he can quickly bounce off his backpedal and close on opponents. He actively adjusts his hip alignment in zone coverage to maximize leverage against routes around him, and he can peel off in coverage and engage underneath routes with force. Asamoah does a fairly good job following the quarterback’s eyes, and he can use his lateral agility to shield receivers. He can also identify swing routes and erase them.
Among other things, Asamoah is urgent in pursuit and a fiery competitor. He’s shown he can wrap up and bring down comparable players without help. Additionally, he has the versatility to occasionally shade out as an overhang slot defender in some alignments.
Areas for improvement
Asamoah’s linear growth is incredibly encouraging, and it’s something you can capitalize on early if you’re an NFL team. But the Oklahoma LB still has room to be more consistent in a few areas. In his less inspiring processing moments, Asamoah needs to do a better job watching the ball. He can be easily misled by play fakes, and he can be over-aggressive and give up running lanes by trying to surge into the backfield. Like many young linebackers, Asamoah still needs a better balance of patience and decisiveness.
Moving ahead, Asamoah can be more proactive and aggressive in red-zone situations, where there isn’t as much time to hesitate. He can also find better gap discipline at times, as he doesn’t always maintain his positioning in run defense. The Oklahoma defender can get re-routed by blocks in the open field retreats upfield to evade blocks at times, playing himself out of position. Asamoah’s slightly lighter frame can make it difficult for him to disengage second-level blocks. When linemen latch on, it can be hard for him to break free.
Asamoah’s positioning can improve at times as well. The Oklahoma LB can take better angles in the open field to get around blocks. Furthermore, he overshoots tackling angles at times, losing his balance when he tries to recover. Asamoah gives up too much cushion in zone coverage occasionally, and he can be late to break when shadowing routes, sitting down in zones too early.
Finally, Asamoah can stand to get a little stronger at the NFL level. He also has room to add to his pass-rushing arsenal.
Asamoah’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
An important question to ask in scouting is, “Does a player lack the capacity to perform a certain task, or does he have the capacity but lack consistency?” Asamoah proved this season that he has the capacity to do most of what a linebacker needs to do — athletically and mentally. He has the lateral agility and twitch to maintain positioning in tight spaces. He’s physical and abrupt as a playmaker in congestion. And yet, when he flips his hips, he has near-elite pursuit speed and range toward the sideline.
Mentally, things are trending up for Asamoah as well. Early on in 2021, he was too aggressive and pre-emptive with his movements at times, and he’d play himself out of position often. He may have over-corrected a bit later in the year, as he sometimes appeared too tentative. But Asamoah clearly made a note to be more patient and consistent when reading plays.
Linebackers shouldn’t fully commit to a play until they know what they’re seeing. Quick processing is necessary to trigger with speed and not to lose ground while reading. Slowly but surely, Asamoah has improved there. He’s shown the necessary processing capacity, and he’s a near-elite athlete with all the necessary traits, physicality, and competitive edge.
At the moment, Asamoah is in the middle of a strong crop of linebackers in the Day 2 range. But if he tests well and stands out at the Senior Bowl, he could surge into the top 50. He’s a stellar fit as a 4-3 WILL or SAM or a 3-4 ILB, but he could grow to become a MIKE as well.
Asamoah’s Player Profile
College scouting departments have their work cut out for them. Everyone wants the four-star and five-star guys, but the truth is, there aren’t enough of them to go around. Sooner or later, you have to dig deeper — into the massive pool of three-stars, two-stars, and others. That’s where finding diamonds in the rough becomes a true skill.
Oklahoma found one such diamond in 2018 when they signed Asamoah. The Columbus, Ohio native was a mere three-star recruit with a 4.91 40-yard dash on record. Still, a 33.4-inch vertical showcased unearthed athletic upside. At the time, he was an under-the-radar signing, but Asamoah would eventually grow to be a valuable part of the Sooners defense.
Asamoah’s career at Oklahoma
Coming into college at just over 200 pounds, Asamoah needed a redshirt year to better prepare for the collegiate stage. The Oklahoma LB sat out in 2018. Afterward, he came into the fold as a redshirt freshman in 2019. He logged valuable experience as a rotational LB and special teams player, racking up 22 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and a deflection.
Asamoah’s quick growth led the Sooners to name him a starter in 2020. He started nine of 11 games. Along the way, he registered 66 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections, and a forced fumble — all while earning second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors.
Asamoah’s raw talent shined through in 2020, but the 2021 campaign was a massive step forward in his development as a complete football player. Asamoah led Oklahoma with 80 total tackles and logged 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and 2 forced fumbles. He was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and also earned second-team All-Big 12 honors alongside fellow linebacker Nik Bonitto and DT Perrion Winfrey.
Asamoah earned 11 tackles and a sack in a loss against Oklahoma State, which would be his final game as a Sooner. Ahead of Oklahoma’s bowl game — the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oregon — Asamoah announced that he’d be declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft. At that moment, he opted out of postseason play and began preparation.
Asamoah’s NFL Draft ascension
There’s still work for Asamoah to do, even after his successful 2021 campaign. Nevertheless, the best is yet to come for the Oklahoma LB. He can still become a more consistent processor and proactive playmaker in coverage and against the run. But all the athletic tools are there for Asamoah to be an NFL starter. And if he keeps growing, he can become a productive one.
Round 1 is likely too rich for Asamoah. However, in the Day 2 range, he can rise from late Round 3 to Round 2 with a strong offseason. Testing well will confirm his athletic potential. Meanwhile, an appearance at the Senior Bowl will also be crucial. There, he can show his coverage prowess against tight ends and face running backs in blocking drills. If Asamoah makes use of those opportunities, he can become a top-50 pick.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Brian Asamoah
Positives: Undersized run-and-chase linebacker who stands out in pursuit. Athletic, fast, and quick getting out to the flanks. Immediately locates the ball and the action, displays good change-of-direction skills, and has an explosive closing burst. Fires upfield on the blitz and against the run and plays with reckless abandon.
Quick to the sidelines and cuts off the corners from ball handlers. Gets outstanding depth on pass drops and easily stays downfield with fast running backs. Covers a tremendous amount of area on the field, breaks down well, and uses his hands to protect himself. Leads by example on the field.
Negatives: Must improve his ability in coverage and does a lot of face-guarding. Really needs a free shot at the ball, as he gets caught up in the traffic.
Analysis: Asamoah is outstanding pursuit linebacker who plays big-boy football with fierce intensity. His lack of size will cause mismatch problems. However, Asamoah could be a great fit on the inside of a 3-4 scheme that allows him to use his pursuit talents.