Following on from last season’s virtual draft, Cleveland is hosting celebrations this year with a handful of potential draft picks that are in place and socially distant due to COVID-19.
Here’s a pick-by-pick look at how each player picked Cleveland will fit.
AP Photo / Tony Avelar
Round 1, No. 26 in total: Greg Newsome II, CB, northwest
My opinion: The Cleveland Browns entered the off-season to improve every level of their defense. Taking a first corner in the 26th election was the finishing touches to overhauling a defense that should be significantly improved in 2021. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Newsome allowed an opposing QBR of 3.4 last season as the main defender in coverage was third best in the FBS. With Newsome, free agent signatory Troy Hill, The return of Greedy Williams from the end of the season shoulder injury and pro bowler Denzel WardCleveland has the potential to boast a deep and talented cornerback rotation.
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Defensive Overhaul: Taking Newsome into account, all free agent signings (including DE) are considered Jadeveon Clowney and S. John Johnson III), the return of opt-out DT Andrew Billings and comebacks from Williams and S. Grant Delpit (who also missed the last season due to an injury), up to 10 main actors who were not on the field in 2020 could be represented in the Browns defense Myles GarrettRising Dominance and the Browns have the goods to unleash one of the league’s most enhanced defenses next season.
It pays to hang back: When other teams competed against offensive stars at wide receivers and quarterback, the Browns waited when several top defensive perspectives fell. That gave Cleveland several opportunities to step up their defense at 26, including Notre Dame LB. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Alabama DT Christian Barmore and Georgia Edge-Rusher Azeez Ojulari. Newsome’s cover skills were too tempting to miss out on, however.
What’s next? The Browns are not done setting up their defenses yet and could use Day 2 to potentially bolster their front seven. But don’t rule out Cleveland adding a receiver in the second round, especially if one of the fast slot receivers is still on the board.