Cleveland Browns draft grade: A
Taking Northwestern cornerback, Greg Newsome II, was a home run pick for the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. There were multiple different directions that the team could have gone with the 26th overall pick, but Newsome stood out as the best option on the board.
Cleveland Browns cornerbacks struggled mightily to stay on the field last season, and throughout their career. Former fourth overall pick, Denzel Ward, has yet to play all 16 games and Greedy Williams missed the entire 2020 season with nerve damage.
After losing a couple of veteran cornerbacks this offseason to free agency (Kevin Johnson and Terrance Mitchell) the Cleveland Browns needed to add some depth at such an important position. In order to keep up with the high-powered offenses and passing games in the AFC, they need a proper defense.
Newsome, like Ward and Williams, is extremely effective when on the field. While he has struggled with some injuries throughout his college career, he was as good as it gets on the football field.
Allowing no completions on third or fourth down when targeted at Northwestern, Newsome has a knack for staying with his receiver and a nose for the ball. He consistently ranked near the top of the Big Ten in pass break-ups and has the length and athleticism to carry that over to the next level.
Greg Newsome II has been battle-tested against some of the best wide receivers in the nation playing in the Big Ten. He stays glued in man coverage, has great instincts in zone, and has great closing speed and physicality at the catch point to prevent completions.
This pick makes so much sense for the Cleveland Browns, picking towards the end of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. This selection gets a very solid “A” grade from me.