After weeks or even months of conjecture, mock drafts, and debate, the Cleveland Browns got their man.
Andrew Berry sat tight in the 26th overall position and grabbed one of the top 4 cornerbacks in Greg Newsome II.
And if that sounds like a pretty good pick so low in the draft, Pro Football Focus agrees with you.
Browns CB Greg Newsome II allowed a 0.0 passer rating on 3rd/4th down last season.
Only CB in the Draft class to do so. pic.twitter.com/HrFlbxdD9g
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2021
PFF included the Browns’ latest addition among their biggest steals of the first round.
Writer Anthony Treash says it is “pretty apparent” Newsome is one of the best corners in college football.
His stock might have been tarnished by his injury history at Northwestern.
But Kevin Stefanski said the Browns were satisfied with his medical reports before the draft.
As the draft approached, multiple high-profile drafts had Newsome among four corners off the board by the late teens.
Thanks bro can’t wait to learn from you‼️ https://t.co/5moxv38KjB
— Greg Newsome II (@gnewsii) April 30, 2021
Any thoughts of trading up for Newsome were probably tempered by the number of other players available.
But the cornerback position is one of the keys to Joe Woods’ preferred nickel and dime packages.
And with the injury history of Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward, landing a solid alternative was important.
When Newsome was still available with Cleveland on the clock, Berry’s choice was almost a no-brainer.
Newsome Agrees With PFF’s Assessment
Newsome’s limited number of games might have kept him from being picked higher.
But his scouting report reads like an NFL-ready top corner.
New #Browns CB Greg Newsome II since 2019:
🔒471 coverage snaps
🔒1 TD allowed pic.twitter.com/YgDEUFfXvP
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) April 30, 2021
PFF noted Newsome can play off his man and pressing up close with equal effectiveness.
Treash says his feet are quite easily the best in the class.
He called Newsome quick and balanced in his transitions, and noted his exceptional ability to change course swiftly.
For what it is worth, at least one current Browns player agrees wholeheartedly with the PFF assessment.
That is Greg Newsome II himself who felt he should have been the first corner off the board.
In fact, he told reporters on a pre-draft conference call he should be the top overall pick.
Only one team can get the best CB in the @NFLDraft. @gnewsii | #ProCats pic.twitter.com/XkpEhlJZO6
— Northwestern Football (@NUFBFamily) April 29, 2021
And if that sounds a little cocky, well… cockiness is a good quality in a cornerback.
While injury insurance makes a fourth cornerback important, such a rotation will benefit the team when healthy, too.
Rotating such a lockdown coverage group during the game will assure fresh legs in the fourth quarter.
And as Treash says in his PFF assessment,
Cleveland should challenge Denver for the title of best coverage unit in the NFL next year.
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