The Cleveland Browns filled out the final spot on their practice squad with an impressive signing, bringing aboard former Minnesota Vikings starter Ifeadi Odenigbo.
Odenigbo started all 15 games he played in last year with Minnesota, notching 3.5 sacks and 35 tackles. He has 32 games of NFL experience.
Odenigbo was originally a 2017 seventh-round (220th overall) pick by the Vikings out of Northwestern. His career totals include 59 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Odenigbo also had stints with the Cleveland Browns — in which he was inactive first three games in 2018 — and Arizona Cardinals (2018) before playing the last two seasons on the Vikings’ active roster (2019-20) and spending this past offseason with the New York Giants.
The Browns are in need of depth at defensive end, keeping just three on their initial 53-man roster — Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Takkarist McKinley. The Browns did sign Joe Jackson for additional depth after putting linebacker Jacob Phillips on injured reserve.
Browns Expected to Start Malik McDowell
One of the great stories of the preseason was former first-round pick Malik McDowell getting his career back on track and earning a roster spot with the Browns. But McDowell has not just earned a roster spot — he’s expected to start during Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Cabot lists the projected started on the line as Myles Garrett, Malik McDowell, Malik Jackson and Jadeveon Clowney.
McDowell was the 35th overall pick by the Seahawks in 2017 draft but never played a down for the NFC West squad. Shortly after the draft, he suffered what was thought to be a career-ending injury during an ATV accident.
McDowell was arrested four times after the crash, including an incident that was caught on tape at a convenience store when he wrestled with a police officer. He was sentenced to three months in jail.
“I will say my real hunger when my situation became what my situation was,” he told reporters during camp. “Actually, while I was in jail, it gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do in life and where my life was heading. That really gave me the motivation and push to try to fight back to get back what I lost.”
McDowell Able to Play Multiple Positions
McDowell was a highly-touted prospect. At Michigan State he appeared in 36 games, registering 90 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception. McDowell showed off that potential in the preseason, proving to the Browns that they were right to take a chance on him.
“He is very powerful – you saw that on tape – but also has versatility to play either tackle position and to slide out and play D end for us, so he has versatility in that way,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “The beauty of our sport is the tape is your resume. When you’re out there on the practice field and it’s showing up and it also shows up in the game film, that’s who the player is.”
Sheldon Richardson played a similar role for the Browns last year when the defensive end depth was tested. Richardson is now in Minnesota, however, and the Browns defense could include as many as nine new starters when they take on the Chiefs. Cleveland is a six-point underdog against Kansas City for their Week 1 matchup.