As the 2015 NFL Draft draws near, the Browns and other NFL clubs have entered the "diamond in the rough" phase. At this point, each NFL team tries to identify hidden gems to select in the later rounds.
One such little-known player is Kyle Emanuel, a defensive end / outside linebacker who the Browns will visit sometime this week, according to Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski.
Emanuel hails from North Dakota State University, an FCS powerhouse. The Bison have won three National Championships in four seasons and have sent 20 players to the NFL in the past 10 years.
Emanuel enjoyed a successful career at NDSU, playing 61 games and starting 50. His senior season was particularly fruitful, as Emanuel led the Bison with 32.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks. Playing primarily as a defensive end, Emanuel helped NDSU roll to a 15-1 record and an FCS national title. At the end of the season, Emanuel received the Buck Buchanan Award for the best defensive player at the FCS level.
Despite his experience as an end, the Schuyler, Nebraska native projects as more of a strongside linebacker in the NFL. Standing at 6'4, 254 pounds, Emanuel has the build of an outside backer rather than a defensive end. As NFL.com's Gil Brandt wrote on March 30:
"He was a top performer in his position group on the bench press. Emanuel -- who has 30 3/8-inch arms -- had a good pro day workout, and has people from the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers coming in to work him out at linebacker this week."
Emanuel displays many positive qualities, as CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler attests. The projected fifth-to-sixth round selection displays a good balance of aggressiveness and intelligence. However, as Brugler also writes, "he lacks a natural fit in the NFL and will need to star on special teams while he tries to learn a new position."
The Browns could certainly use another edge rusher and a hard worker on special teams. Using a late round flier on Emanuel seems like a reasonable move for the Browns.