Andrew Berry draft review: Greg Newsome II off to a good start

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With training camp just a few days away, it is a perfect time to do some reviews for the Cleveland Browns. This offseason has been the third for GM Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski together. While their tenures are going to be marked primarily by their decision to trade for Deshaun Watson and move on from Baker Mayfield, there is more to review.

For Berry, returning to the Browns was a chance to make his name outside of that of Sashi Brown. Brown brought Berry to the Browns but proceeded with one of the biggest tear-downs and rebuilds that had ever been seen in the NFL.

When Berry was hired, he made it clear that he would be aggressive in running the front office and that much has been clear.

With his third draft having just been completed, we take a look back at the first two drafts and what has been seen so far. His first selection was LT Jedrick Wills, who we looked at earlier this weekend. This second selection was safety Grant Delpit out of LSU, who we have also covered.

DT Jordan Elliott provides an interesting situation as a player who could start but also could be competing for a roster spot in 2022. LB Jacob Phillips is in a similar situation with injury concerns and lack of opportunities real concerns.

The team’s fourth-round pick, TE Harrison Bryant is another interesting player to look at from Berry’s first draft. With Austin Hooper gone, Bryant has an increased role this year. Another player with a chance to finally have a time to shine is fifth-round pick OL Nick Harris.

We finish looking at the 2020 draft class by Berry with WR Donovan Peoples-Jones.

Now we are on to the 2021 draft class where Cleveland’s first two selections were the highlight as the event took place from “The Land.” CB Greg Newsome II was Berry’s first pick last year:

Strengths

  • Versatility – Newsome showed as a rookie that he could play well in either man or zone coverages. With Joe Woods’ defense, this is an invaluable strength especially for a rookie to be able to do.

  • Physicality – The Northwestern corner is not afraid to be physical both in coverage or run support. He tries to make sure offensive players feel his presence throughout the game.

  • Quickness – Newsome shows great reaction time including the ability to recover quickly or react to a pass. While many focus on straight line speed, change of direction quickness is far more important for a cornerback.

Weaknesses

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

  • Injuries – As a rookie, Newsome missed five games. He missed 15 games in college due to injury, mostly ankle related, as well. He missed games due to a calf injury and concussion last year.

  • “Grabby” – While the corner is very physical, he can get in trouble grabbing for receivers. Whether it leads to penalties (three pass interferences last year) or allows a receiver to get him off balance, Newsome needs to play less with his hands.

  • Turnovers – All three of these are nitpicking a bit but, for a first-round cornerback, interceptions would be a welcome addition. Newsome only had one in college and none last year. He didn’t have any forced fumbles in college or in 2021 either and just one fumble recovery in college.

Outlook

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Berry knocked it out of the ballpark with his first-round pick in Newsome. While there are little things to clean up, Newsome’s football IQ and physical traits are easy to bet on. Creating turnovers will be a big piece of the puzzle moving forward but is not the most important thing for a cornerback.

The Browns decision to trade Troy Hill and make Newsome their primary slot cornerback can actually add to his value. Woods can use Newsome as a matchup piece as receivers move around the formation while Ward locks up on the outside.

The only thing, seemingly, that could change the outlook on this selection is injuries. While they are hard to predict, Newsome’s college time made him a risky pick in that regard. If he stays mostly healthy, Ward and Newsome will give Myles Garrett the backend help that a great defense needs.

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