We’re about a week removed from the NFL Draft, and I am working on my annual column reviewing the Cleveland Browns’ 2021 draft picks. In the mean time, though, Mike Sando, now of The Athletic, posted his annual column in which he rounds up anonymous assessments of teams’ drafts for all 32 teams in the league. Although the Browns had eight draft picks, the majority of Sando’s quotes were about the second-round selection of LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Reason for the Fall?
The biggest reason he fell, per one executive, is that teams were uncertain where they would play him. They liked his ability, but didn’t have enough confidence in knowing if he was a linebacker, safety, or something else:
“Really good player, but nobody really knew where to play him. Is he a linebacker? Is he a strong safety? Not every team had a place for him to play. It’s not to the same extent as the guy the Browns took out of Michigan (2017 first-rounder Jabrill Peppers), but it was a factor in him falling.”
A talent evaluator talked about JOK’s physical and fast nature:
“It’s not like he’s a finesse undersized backer. He’s actually pretty physical. He will throw his body around. You wouldn’t sense that he’s 215 pounds when he plays. He’s definitely going to be a sideline-to-sideline guy and you know, they got faster.”
Another executive relayed that “there’s no way that Cleveland thought JOK would still be there” at that point of the second round. The executive said that his team started looking at their board and saying, ‘Holy shit, OK, we have to start discussing this guy,’ but then the Browns jumped up and grabbed him.
Greg Newsome vs. Other Cornerbacks
The other player talked about was CB Greg Newsome, the Browns’ first round pick at No. 26 overall. Newsome was compared to CB Eric Stokes, who the Packers took at No. 29 overall.
“Stokes is the better athlete, but he still has a developmental component as a former running back still figuring it out. Newsome is cleaner from instincts, the ability to play zone and man, where Stokes could be a better man guy right off the bat. The concern on Newsome is the speed didn’t show up all the time. He was a little handsy downfield tracking the ball, but the big thing was, he missed games.”
- The Steelers’ discussions were all about RB Najee Harris. His talents are being universally praised, but he also had explosive talent and a good offensive line in front of him at Alabama.
- The Ravens drafted a pair of receivers, but with the way Baltimore’s system is set up for Lamar Jackson to run, how much will those receivers really make a difference? Will they be willing blockers?
- The Bengals’ decision to take a wide receiver at No. 5 instead of an offensive lineman was questioned, since good receiver talent would’ve been available in the second round still.