The regular-season debut for the Cleveland Browns is just around the corner but that won’t keep Andrew Berry and the front office from their neverending quest to build the best roster in the NFL.
While the Browns have a nice stable of depth at defensive back, cornerback Gareon Conley was a name that Cleveland was recently linked to in an article by Bleacher Report. The former Ohio State standout missed all of last season, playing most recently with the Houston Texans in 2020.
Conley is the poster child for how quickly the league can move on from a player. He was traded for a third-round pick in 2019 (granted it was by the Texans with Bill O’Brien calling the shots), and now there isn’t a team who has added him to the roster. Based on his talent and potential, that shouldn’t be the case. Conley has struggled at times, but he only allowed a 52.2 percent completion rate when targeted in the eight games he played with the Texans.
Being an Ohio State product and an Ohio-native, Conley would be a solid get for the Browns’ practice squad, giving the team a reliable veteran option if — like last year — the injury bug were to strike.
The Browns kept cornerbacks Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II, Greedy Williams, Troy Hill, MJ Stewart Jr. and AJ Green on the initial 53-man roster. Tim Harris is the only cornerback on the Browns practice squad.
Rookie Greg Newsome Wrangles Starting Role
Speaking of cornerbacks, the starting unit for the Browns will include Ward and Newsome — the team’s first-round pick in this year’s draft. The Browns officially announced the news on Wednesday.
“I’ve been here a very long time working hard,” Newsome said. “There’s been some ups and there’s been some downs but I’m just trying to get 1 percent better every single day and it would lead me to success ultimately.
“It’s been fun, it’s been a lot of work, but we’re finally getting to the real action.”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has been very complimentary of Newsome in camp, especially for his ability to learn from his mistakes.
“He has done everything that we have asked him to do,” Stefanski told reporters. “He has practiced every day. Made a mistake and corrected it. I just see a player who has continued to take each one of these days and trying to get better.”
Newsome unseats third-year CB Greedy Williams, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury but was penciled in as the starter when camp started. Williams started all 12 games he appeared in as a rookie.
Williams has been hampered by a groin injury he suffered in the preseason but is expected to be active for Week 1 against the Chiefs.
Browns Confident in Newsome
Newsome will get quite the test out of the gate against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 1.
“What a way to start off your rookie season,” Newsome said. “I’m definitely super excited to have the opportunity to play a team like that.”
Newsome will be part of an overhauled defense that could include as many as nine new starters come game day, with Ward and star defensive end Myles Garrett being the holdovers. Veteran linebacker Anthony Walker is confident in Newsome based on what he’s seen so far.
“The way he came in, the way he studies, the way he prepares, the way he takes what he learns from the meeting room to practice is huge,” Walked told reporters. Just a guy you can tell loves the game of football.”