BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Greedy Williams has already shown the Browns his recovery skills.
After accidentally missing Cleveland’s phone call telling him he was about to be drafted in the second round, the LSU cornerback got in touch with the front desk at the team’s headquarters and asked to speak with general manager John Dorsey.
Then his emotions overwhelmed him.
“Greedy was giddy,” quipped Browns coach Freddie Kitchens.
Considered the SEC’s best cover cornerback, Williams was selected with the No. 46 in the NFL draft on Friday night when the Browns got in on a run of defensive backs. Fearing he might lose a player he wanted, Dorsey traded the No. 49 and No. 144 picks to Indianapolis and selected Williams, a second-team AP All-American last season.
The Browns plan to pair Williams with Denzel Ward, last year’s No. 4 overall pick who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
“Oh my God, me and Denzel Ward are going to tear up the league,” Williams said. “You can go man on the outside all day, and we will lock down those receivers.”
That’s not all the 21-year-old had to offer. In Cleveland, he’ll join fellow LSU alums Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and like the two star wide receivers, Williams doesn’t lack confidence.
“I know one thing: the Browns are going to the Super Bowl this year,” Williams said on a conference call from Shreveport, Louisiana.
He repeated the same prediction two more times.
In the third round, the Browns chose Brigham Young linebacker Sione Takitaki, who had 118 tackles last season. The 6-foot-1, 238-pounder recorded 19 tackles in BYU’s bowl win over Western Michigan.
“This s a physical, physical football player,” said assistant general manager Eliot Wolf. “He plays with violence and we felt like that was something that kind of separated him from other linebackers in this class.”
Takitaki had some issues when he first arrived at BYU. He was briefly kicked out of school after being involved in a fight and an arrest, but the Browns are comfortable he’s matured — on and off the field.
“He really changed his life around,” Wolf said. “This is a kid who came in immature. He’s from California and went to Utah. Probably wasn’t ready to be away from home. And the cool thing about this guy is he is a success story at BYU. You talk to anyone there, they kind of didn’t think he was going to make it after his first year or so, and he completely turned his life around, became a team captain this year. He was just that guy in the program.”
Takitaki credits his wife, Alyssa, for changing him.
“I got really lucky, I met a great girl,” he said. “She was always pushing me to be better. We just fit. She’s a great woman.”
Williams, who earned his nickname as a child for drinking too much milk, said he was shocked to get the call from the Browns. And after he reconnected with them, it began to sink in that his life had changed.
“I was just overwhelmed,” he said. “When I got the phone all from the 216, I was just filled with a lot of emotion. I’m still replaying the phone call.”
Dorsey feels Williams is perfectly suited to play one of the game’s most demanding — and unforgiving — positions.
“In all the evaluations, he has played some of the top caliber receivers in the SEC,” Dorsey said. “If you really go watch him play the game, he is fluid. He is easy. He is a smooth moving corner and he does it effortlessly. Corners in the National Football League have to cover and this guy has all the skill sets to cover players.”
New Browns coach Freddie Kitchens is confident Williams can handle the leap from college to pros.
“You are going to watch these SEC receivers now start going off the board and he has covered every damn one of them. That is the type of athlete he has to cover when he gets into the National Football League,” he said. “It is not going to be too big for him, but he is not a finished product either. There is always an adjustment for any rookie.”
Dorsey was unsuccessful in trading into Thursday’s first round because the asking price was too much. He didn’t have a pick after dealing the No. 17 selection to the New York Giants in March as part of the deal for Beckham.
He was patient as the second round unfolded, but when it started to look like he might lose out on Williams, Dorsey acted swiftly.
“Because of the way the game has changed, you realistically have to have five corners on your team,” he said. “This just gives you another extra guy who can cover.”
The Browns enter Saturday’s final day with five picks — one in the fourth round, two in the fifth and one each in the sixth and seventh.