Heading into the offseason, the Cleveland Browns knew they needed to upgrade defensively.
The offensive unit played above expectations in 2020, but the defense struggled heavily throughout the season.
General manager Andrew Berry knew the Browns needed to make some major upgrades in the secondary.
That is exactly why the Browns used the No. 26 overall pick in the draft to select Northwestern defensive back Greg Newsome II.
The rookie defensive back is likely going to be asked to play a significant role right away, but we’ll see if he is up to the challenge.
Newsome Wins The Starting Job
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Newsome and Greedy Williams competing for the No. 2 defensive back spot in training camp.
One of the reasons Cleveland added depth in the secondary was because they were unsure about Williams.
He missed all of last season due to a nerve issue in his shoulder and didn’t play well during his rookie campaign.
The addition of Newsome should light a fire under Williams and hopefully help bring the best out of him.
Greedy Williams picks off Dwayne Haskins. pic.twitter.com/tlq03wu0vm
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) August 9, 2019
At the end of the day, the Browns are going to give the job to the player that deserves it the most.
Obviously, Newsome is new to the system and still has a lot to learn.
Newsome was graded extremely well during his college career and might honestly have a higher upside than Williams.
Cleveland should give both of them a fair chance, but the Browns might be better off with Newsome as the starter in the long term.
Newsome Earns A Top 20 Coverage Grade
At first glance, this might seem impossible considering the amount of talent in the NFL.
However, it’s worth noting that Newsome would be defending the No. 2 receiver.
That would give him a slight advantage since most other elite defensive backs usually cover the opposing team’s best receiver.
Obviously, Denzel Ward would be the No. 1 corner in Cleveland, assuming he can stay healthy.
Newsome could have a legitimate shot at achieving this goal after seeing the numbers he produced in college.
Greg Newsome’s 2020 season (PFF):
🔸12 catches on 34 tgts (35.3%)
🔸93 yards allowed or 7.8 ypc
🔸0 TD | INT | 7 PBUs
🔸Passer rating of 31.7
🔸PFF’s 9th best coverage grade among CBs https://t.co/ujPzlbUoY3
— Paul Bretl (@Paul_Bretl) February 27, 2021
He didn’t play a ton of games during his time at Northwestern, but played like an elite defensive back whenever he was on the field.
Teams learned to try and avoid throwing it towards Newsome because they knew how much of a threat he was on the field.
Best of luck to any opposing quarterbacks trying to take advantage of the rookie corner in Cleveland.
Newsome Plays All 17 Games
The biggest problem for Newsome has been staying on the field.
He only played a total of 17 games during his three years at Northwestern.
Sadly, injuries limited his time on the field, but hopefully that is all behind him now.
Newsome played like a superstar whenever he was on the field, so the injuries never had any long term effects on him.
The NFL added an extra game to the season, so this makes it a little more difficult for everyone to play a full season.
However, it would be fantastic for the Browns to get a full 17-game season out of Newsome in 2021.
Honestly, Cleveland might have the best defensive back duo in the league, assuming Ward and Newsome can stay on the field.