Last season, the Cleveland Browns made the National Football League (NFL) Playoffs for the first time in eighteen years with an 11-5 record. The Browns then pulled off another surprise and smoked Pittsburgh in their American Football Conference (AFC) Wild Card Game. Cleveland almost pulled another rabbit out of their hat, but could not take advantage of an injury to Patrick Mahomes in their next playoff game.
Optimism is high for the Browns, but the enthusiasm is sort of tempered because Cleveland has not qualified for back-to-back playoff berths since the 1980's. The Browns are looking to add some more consistency this season in order to avoid a setback. Since the NFL Draft took place in Cleveland, the Browns were able to see how the talent was in person in spite of the pandemic because a person can easily hide their true character on a Zoom screen. Here is how Cleveland drafted.
Round 1, Pick 26: Greg Newsome II - CB - Northwestern. (6'0", 192 lbs). Newsome II was one of the reasons why Northwestern had one of the best defenses in college football last season. He is a versatile lock-down corner that has no problems with playing in zone or press coverage. He makes multiple plays in each and every game (1 interception, 10 pass breakups in six games last season). He has the opportunity to compete for the second cornerback spot this season and should start right away.
Round 2, Pick 20: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - LB - Notre Dame (6'1 1/2", 221 lbs). Owusu-Koramoah makes plays all over the field. He is strong enough to make tackles, but is also quick enough to cover tight ends and running backs on passing plays. His statistics prove his versatility (62 tackles, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups). He should see time right away in nickel defenses on passing downs. He sort of dropped in this draft because of his size putting in between a safety and a linebacker.
Round 3, Pick 28: Anthony Schwartz - WR - Auburn (6'0", 186 lbs). Schwartz has speed to burn at wideout (636 receiving yards, 3 TD). His speed could help in opening up opposing defenses that look to stack against the Browns vaunted rushing attack. "May the Schwartz be with you!"
Round 4, Pick 5: James Hudson - OT - Cincinnati (6'5", 313 lbs). Hudson only started one full season in college football, but he made the best of that by being the starting left tackle on a team that went undefeated during the regular season. He will be a reserve at both tackle spots for the Browns.
Round 4, Pick 27: Tommy Togiai - DT - Ohio State (6'1 1/2", 296 lbs). Togiai was able to bring pressure up the middle (4.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 pass breakups). Togiai could have been drafted higher, but he missed the National Championship Game due to COVID protocols. Nevertheless, he should see some time in the defensive tackle rotation on passing downs.
Round 5, Pick 9: Tony Fields II - LB - West Virginia (6'0", 222 lbs). Although Fields II is size-wise a safety in regards to the NFL, he led the Mountaineers in tackles with 88 at linebacker. He could possibly see some time at the outside linebacker position because he the instincts to disrupt the opponents running game.
Round 5, Pick 25: Richard LeCounte III - S - Georgia (5'10 1/2", 196 lbs). LeCounte III had an awesome season with 3 interceptions and 4 pass breakups. He went so low in the draft because he was involved in a dirt bike accident in November. He thought he was in the Supercross instead of playing football. He should of stuck to playing Excitebike during the season. Fortunately, he is physically healthy now so he will be fighting to see some playing time in the defensive backfield.
Round 6, Pick 27: Demetric Felton - WR - UCLA (5'9", 189 lbs). Felton is a versatile all-purpose player on offense. He played at running back last season and led the Bruins with 668 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns. He also caught three touchdowns along with averaging 21 yards per return on kick returns. The Browns could use him either out of the slot or out of the backfield on third-down plays. Cleveland will also have the capability to use him in gadget plays as well. He will also compete to return kicks as well.
Grade: From the picks that Cleveland made, the Browns definitely made an impact. Cleveland loaded up by helping out the back seven in pass coverage while adding depth to both lines. Adding receivers was absolutely mandatory because the Browns will have to make teams pay even more this upcoming season for stacking up against their rushing attack. I give the Browns a B.
All stats are from NFL.com.