Browns Draft Recap

Browns Draft Recap

Ayden Fahlstrom
2 years ago
3 min read

Rather than being one of the first teams to draft in each round, the Browns were slated to pick much later, thanks to their most successful season in over 20 years. However, Cleveland still managed to leave their hometown draft with several players to be excited about, especially in the first couple rounds.

Here is a recap of the Browns 2021 draft.

Day 1

Cleveland had a variety of options for this pick, slated at 26th overall. They could target linebacker, defensive tackle, or even wide receiver. But ultimately, need and value matched when the Browns selected Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II.

Newsome doesn’t have a lot of areas of concern. He has talent and experience, playing a big role in Northwestern’s big season last fall. While he does have some durability concerns over the last couple seasons, Newsome could be starting right away if all goes well.

The selection of the cornerback Newsome maintains the theme of revamping that particular position group. Not only was Troy Hill signed in free agency to play in the slot, but 2019 second round pick Greedy Williams will be back as well after missing all of last season. The only constant is 2018 first rounder Denzel Ward, who also missed some games with injury.

Day 2

Ask any draft expert about the biggest steals in the draft, and you’ll often hear the name Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah come up. That’s because the Notre Dame linebacker, who some projected as a late first rounder, fell all the way to 52nd overall before being snatched up by Cleveland.

The selection of Owusu-Koramoah wasn’t entirely free, as the Browns traded up seven spots and relinquished one of their third round picks while also acquiring a fourth round pick. But J.O.K. is one of the more unique players in the entire draft, a linebacker-safety hybrid who adds a brand new dimension to the middle of the field and upgrades the team at outside linebacker in a big way.

Despite trading a third rounder to move up for Owusu-Koramoah, Cleveland still had one more pick in the round to spare, selecting Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz. Speed is the name of the game with Schwartz, someone who actually had more rushing touchdowns than receiving touchdowns in college. But if he is able to become a more polished receiver, the wide receiver corps may have added a key ingredient.

Day 3

After targeting speed and skill on the first two days, the Browns went heavy with their two picks in Round 4. With the 110th pick, Cleveland selected Cincinnati offensive tackle James Hudson, a player who can give the team some needed depth behind starters Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin. 22 picks later, they went with a defensive lineman who presented good value at that point, selecting Tommy Togiai from Ohio State.

The Browns then had two more picks in Round 5, going defense for both. The first was West Virginia LB Tony Fields II at 153rd overall, who projects as a depth option in the middle. Then with the 169th pick, Georgia safety Richard LeCounte was added to the mix.

With no picks in the seventh round, Cleveland selected UCLA WR Demetric Felton in the 6th round, pick 211 overall, closing out their draft.

Final Thoughts

The Browns were no doubt applauded for their decisions to take Newsome and J.O.K.. Both of those players should play big roles on their defense and might even be starting right away. The selections of Schwartz and Hudson were also intriguing, with questions on both but potential high ceilings if used correctly.

If there is one area of concern, the pass-rush was not addressed in any meaningful way. Serious questions remain about the effectiveness of free agent acquisitions Jadaveon Clowney and Takk McKinley, with the depth behind them lacking as well. 

However, with not a lot of weaknesses going in, the Browns still did a good job addressing most of their needs. This was a strong draft class that has the potential to be great based on the ceilings of some of their Day 2 and 3 prospects.

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