YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Barring any trades, the Cleveland Browns will select 26th on Thursday night in the NFL Draft. That would be their lowest first round pick since 1995.
Watch the video above as Sports Team 27 breaks down 10 players the Browns could draft in Round One.
Let’s start with linebacker. There are three big names out there with first-round grades. We assume Micah Parsons from Penn State will be long gone by pick number 26, but there are a couple of other interesting options.
Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah piled up nearly 25 tackles-for-loss the last two seasons with the Irish. As a junior, he won the Butkus Award as the country’s top linebacker. He earned all-conference honors after piling up 11 tackles-for-losss and three forced fumbles last season.
Another linebacker who would fit the bill in Cleveland is Zaven Collins of Tulsa. He was a unanimous All-American and winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy which is given to the best defensive player in college football. He stands six feet, four inches tall and weighs 260 pounds. In eight games last season, Collins tallied four sacks, four interceptions, including two that he returned for touchdowns, two forced fumbles, a safety and a fumble recovery.
The Browns have also parted ways with some of their interior defensive lineman. Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson have left some big holes at defensive tackle, so that may me a target group for the Browns on Thursday as well.
Christian Barmore from Alabama is the highest-rated. He’s 6 foot 5, 310 pounds, and a big-time pass rusher from the inside. He had a team-high 8 sacks for the Crimson Tide last year as a sophomore and was a big part of their win in the National Championship.
Another name to keep your eye on as the draft progresses is Washington defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike. He opted out of last season due to the pandemic. He has great strength for his size and was one of the most explosive defensive lineman on the west coast in 2019, making a habit of disrupting plays and getting off the ball quickly.
Defensive back is another position the Browns could use that first-round pick on. They added Troy Hill in free agency, but there are some outstanding DB’s in this year’s draft that will be hard to pass up.
We assume guys like Patrick Surtain II from Alabama and Jaycee Horn from South Carolina will be taken early, but they’re not the only impact players on the board.
Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II is considered one of the top cornerback prospects in this year’s draft. He led the Big Ten in pass breakups despite playing in only six games. This past season he allowed just one completion of more than ten yards downfield while he was covering.
Another name to watch is Virginia Tech Cornerback Caleb Farley. He’s loaded with talent, but also one of the biggest question marks in the draft because of back injury’s each of the last two years. He’s had two surgeries since he last played in 2019 which could cause him to slide. In 23 games over two seasons at Virginia Tech, Farley had six interceptions.
And finally, Asante Samuel Jr. from Florida State is a player to keep your eyes on. He led the Seminoles defense in interceptions and pass breakups this past season. There have been questions about his size, but he’s been one of the best defenders in the ACC the past few seasons.
Round One of the NFL Draft will kick off Thursday at 8 p.m. in Cleveland. We’ll have complete coverage and analysis livestreaming all night at WKBN.com.