Browns Snag Lockdown Cornerback With Top Pick in NFL Draft

Getty The Browns selected Greg Newsome in the first round of the NFL Draft.

The Cleveland Browns addressed a need on the defensive side of the ball and selected the Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome with pick No. 26 in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“We thought he was one of most well-rounded corners in draft,” general manager Andrew Berry told reporters following the pick. “We had a feeling he might be in the ballpark of our pick. We were about 50/50 in our group. We were pretty happy when we saw him there.”

Here is the NFL.com draft profile overview on Newsome:

Long-limbed cornerback with angular frame and disruptive size and strength. Newsome is well-versed in Cover 3, quarters coverage and press man. He’s equally adept at each, too. It’s hard to get a gauge on his overall long speed, as most of the throws his way were underneath, but it’s worth noting that he’s above average with ball tracking and body positioning to defend the deep throw. While the takeaway totals are nothing special, his length, timing and sheer competitiveness make tape study of the contested catches he’s allowed for completions a very short watch. He has the footwork and skill level to cover downfield without getting into receivers prematurely, but for now, those pass interference penalties from press-man are a concern. Newsome is a competitive, scheme-diverse outside cornerback with good size, speed and explosiveness. He has the talent to become a good starter within his first two seasons.

The Browns fell into several quality options with the No. 26 pick, but ended up pulling the trigger on Newsome, addressing a need in the secondary. Former first-round pick Denzel Ward is a lockdown cornerback when healthy, but there are some questions opposite of him due to the health of Greedy Williams — a second-round pick in 2019. The Browns signed CB Troy Hill in the offseason, but he’s expected to work mostly out of the slot.

Here are some of the recent top picks by the Cleveland Browns:

Recent top picks Cleveland Browns:
• 2020 (No. 10 overall): Jedrick Wills, Jr., OT, Alabama
• 2019 (No. 46 overall): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
• 2018 (No. 1 overall): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
• 2017 (No. 1 overall): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
• 2016 (No. 15 overall): Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor


Browns Open to Moving Around the Board

Expect to see some wheeling and dealing from Browns general manager Andrew Berry the rest of the draft. The Browns have nine picks, which is plenty of firepower to move around if they have an opportunity to get a guy they like, or stockpile more picks for the future.

“In general, how I view the draft is we really go into the mindset of really trying to maximize the long-term impact on our roster,” Berry told reporters earlier this month. “It is less about filling a need or some level of instant gratification on the roster and more about a longer-term focus on the team. That all being said, I like where we are picking, and not just at 26 but at 59, 89, 91, 110 and so forth. There are plenty of opportunities where we can add young players who can grow with us over the next several years. To your question about moving off of the pick, I think the positioning in this draft allows us to be very flexible, whether that is moving up, down or sitting and picking. Largely, that will be dictated by how the board falls ahead of us.”

As for Berry, he’s had a busy day. On the morning of the draft, he and his wife Brittan welcomed Eden Ruth Berry to the world.

Here’s a recap of what the Browns have left in the draft.

Browns 2021 Remaining Draft Picks
Round 2 (59)
Round 3 (89)
Round 3 (91, from Saints)
Round 4 (110, from Eagles)
Round 4 (132)
Round 5 (169, from Rams)
Round 6 (211)
Round 7 (257, from Bills)


Browns Have Been Focused on Defense

After adding some key pieces to the offense the last two offseason — like wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., running back Kareem Hunt, tight end Austin Hooper and tackles Jedrick Willis and Jack Conklin — the Browns have had a renewed focus on bolstering the defense.

The Browns have made plenty of big additions this offseason to the defense, adding Hill, safety John Johnson, defensive end Takkarist McKinley, linebacker Anthony Harris and defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

Another massive addition came earlier this month when former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney decided to ink a deal with the Browns, teaming up with fellow top selection Myles Garrett.

Like many others, Clowney has noted the culture shift in Cleveland that has come with the new players and head coach Kevin Stefanski.

“They are winning. They have a great team,” Clowney said. “They are definitely a winning team. They won 12 games last year, right? More than what the team I played for won last year (laughter). I like this division for one. I think it is great competition. I get to play with great players beside me. That was one of my other decisions. I have decided the guys beside me are always going to be help, whoever I play with. Me and those two decisions were who I was going to play with. That was basically it – who I can play with and who is going to help me get further in my career.”

The Browns Super Bowl odds are +2500, which makes them a top 10 contender, per Vegas Insider.

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