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2021 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Pick Greg Newsome II at No. 26

Cornerback rounds out rebuilt secondary for the Browns.

Iowa v Northwestern Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

With the 26th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected cornerback Greg Newsome II from Northwestern.

The 6-foot and 192-pound Newsome was a first-team Big Ten selection and a third-team All-American in 2020 for the Wildcats, finishing the season allowing just a 31.6 percent completion rate to throws in his direction, according to clevelandbrowns.com.

Scouting Reports

When the Dawgs By Nature community compiled our 2021 Browns Big Board, Newsome was listed as the No. 13 overall player. Here is a scouting report from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, who had Newsome as his third-ranked cornerback on his board and the No. 18 player overall:

A three-year starter at Northwestern, Newsome was the left cornerback in former defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz’s man/zone scheme, lining up primarily from off-coverage. After leading the team in passes defended (11) as a sophomore, he was No. 1 in the Big Ten in passes defended (10) as a junior and led the FBS in passer rating against (15.77) — of the 10 completions he allowed in 2020, only one was 10-plus yards downfield. With his agile footwork and anticipation, Newsome attaches himself to receivers and stays under control in coverage. He has terrific eyes to sort and make plays, but he needs to turn the pass break-ups into interceptions.

Overall, Newsome comes with durability concerns, especially against the rigors of the NFL, but he is a route magnet with fluid transitions and natural instincts. He projects as a press-man NFL starter as a rookie.

How He Fits the Browns

Newsome should fit in well with the Browns and be in line for playing time this fall. Troy Hill, who was signed in free agency, is best suited for the slot position, and while everyone is hopeful that Greedy Williams can come back after missing the entire 2020 season with a nerve injury in his shoulder, that is not a guarantee.

The Browns are now covered with the selection of Newsome who should push Williams for playing time, even if Williams is healthy. Health is also a bit of a concern with Newsome, however, as he missed at least three games in each of his three seasons at Northwestern.

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