The Cleveland Browns are looking to shore up the defensive side of the football and combat the massive additions some other teams in the AFC have made in order to return to the NFL playoffs.
In 2021, they allowed 29 passing touchdowns, which ranked just 22nd in the league and improving on that mark is of high importance, especially given the fact that Cleveland would have to go up against quarterbacks such as Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes if it makes the postseason.
This week, the Browns signed Parnell Motley, a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback, in order to add some depth to their secondary.
The #Browns have signed CB Parnell Motley
— QC Football (@qcnflfootball) May 18, 2022
It isn’t the type of earth-shattering defensive acquisition teams such as the Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers have made, but he is a young player who could contribute if he’s up to the task.
Here are a few things to know about Motley.
He Did Fairly Well In College
Motley is a native of Washington, D.C., and he played his college ball for the University of Oklahoma Sooners.
While there, he may not have been a big-time star, but he was a very solid player who showed some promise.
His freshman year was quiet, as he played in just six contests and finished with nine tackles (eight solo).
But he started to blossom as a sophomore during the 2017 season when he had 63 tackles (49 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss, nine passes defended and two interceptions, one of which he ran back for a touchdown.
Motley had another 63 tackles (42 solo) as a junior along with three interceptions and 11 passes defended, and he closed out his college career with one interception, 13 passes defended, one fumble recovery and five forced fumbles in 2019, leading the Big 12 in the latter category.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) September 23, 2018
That year, the media selected him to the all-Big 12 first-team for his production.
For his career as a Sooner, Motley ranked fifth in their history with 33 passes broken up.
He Went Undrafted
At pro day, Motley showed decent speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
He was projected to perhaps be taken in the sixth or seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but once it ended, no one had selected him.
Some will scoff at the idea of signing an undrafted player, but there have been some defensive backs who went undrafted and still had success in the NFL, such as Chris Harris, Dave Grayson and Donnie Shell.
Browns fans who have been around for a very long time may also remember Marion Motley, a running back who played for the original team named the Browns when they won multiple championships in the 1940s and 1950s.
Marion Motley ended up reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Motley Has Been With Multiple Teams
The former Sooner has barely gotten snaps thus far in NFL games, having played four games in 2020 and one game this past season.
In all, Motley has notched a total of eight tackles (five solo), one pass defended and one recovered fumble.
He was first signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with whom he played his first two games, before moving on to spend several weeks with the San Francisco 49ers, mostly as a practice squad player.
He finished the season with the Denver Broncos and was a member of the Detroit Lions for the 2021 campaign.