The NFL draft starts in six days for most of the NFL but for a couple of teams, including the Cleveland Browns, Friday opens the doors to college prospects. While teams will never be happy not having picks early in the draft, this year’s class isn’t as good at the top as we have seen in the past.
For the Browns, balancing out trying to win now in 2023 with drafting players for 2024 and beyond will be interesting. After a very busy time in free agency, Cleveland’s roster isn’t full of a lot of holes for this season.
One area where the Browns should look to add a player that could play quickly is slot cornerback. Thankfully for GM Andrew Berry, slot corners are often drafted lower than their skill level would normally dictate. Minimizing a player due to their size should be in Berry’s favor.
This year’s class of slot corners has a few very interesting players. One that doesn’t get a lot of attention nationally has Cleveland’s interest is Baldwin-Wallace’s Anthony Kendall:
Baldwin-Wallace defensive back Anthony Kendall (5-10, 180), 4.44 40-yard dash, 7.01 three-cone drill, 4.35 short shuttle, 39 1/2 inch vertical, 11-1 broad jump drawing interest from #Browns #Cardinals #Cowboys #Rams #Dolphins per a league source #NFLDraft2023— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 28, 2023
In another report, the Browns have had multiple meetings with Kendall.
The last time, BW had a player drafted was 1972 when WR Tom Graham was an eighth-round selection. DB Norb Hecker is the school’s highest-drafted player. Hecker was selected in the sixth round of the 1951 NFL draft. With so few teams, Hecker was the 72nd selection that year despite going in the sixth round.
The athletic Kendall has a chance to be drafted earlier than Hecker, at least in terms of rounds, but his size and the level of competition in college could make that difficult. Kendall’s overall athletic score is pulled down by his size and a bad shuttle time:
Anthony Kendall is a CB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 8.31 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 354 out of 2085 CB from 1987 to 2023.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 29, 2023
First ever player from Baldwin Wallace in RAS, love the logo, but also those explosion drills!https://t.co/Nnl2eSxJOs #RAS pic.twitter.com/w1auVW8Yk8
With his elite explosive ability and great speed, including the 10-yard split time, and an acceptable 3-cone score, the shuttle time is an outlier that could be due to something other than his ability (slipping for example).
Last year, Kendall had 56 tackles, three interceptions and a sack. While his highlight video quality looks like it was recorded 20 years ago, you can see some of the athletic traits show up:
Kendall is projected as an undrafted free agent but, given the team’s extra selections in the middle rounds, Berry could select him in the sixth or seventh round.
Finding an athletic corner that can play slot and help on special teams late in the draft could be a steal given Kendall’s athletic abilities. Being from the Berea school would make it even more fun.