Instant Analysis: Browns Select Greg Newsome II with 26th Overall Pick

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Greg Newsome II (Northwestern) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over video call after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the number 26 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 26th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Greg Newsome II, corner back, Northwestern.

The 6’0, 190 pounds, with a 4.38 forty time, will be taking his talents Cleveland.

Newsome is as versatile as it gets. Answering the bell at cover 3, quarters, cover two, and at the line of scrimmage. With his instinct, body control, and closing burst, Newsome is more than capable of playing man to man as well.

Newsome’s TDN scouting report is as follows:

Greg Newsome II is an exciting cornerback prospect who will offer an NFL franchise plenty of appeal as a potential starter on the perimeter. Newsome II has showcased strong ball skills and length to pair with high-end levels of flexibility and functional athleticism—that’s a blend that is going to get Newsome II drafted sooner rather than later. This young cornerback prospect did miss a golden showcase opportunity against Ohio State in the 2020 Big Ten Championship Game to put an exclamation point on his resume, but nevertheless, this is a prospect who saved his best football for last. Newsome II is instinctual and offers suddenness in split decisions in coverage; frequently driving to the target and attacking the football in the air. He brings the right kind of attitude to perimeter play both in collision routes and in run support and tackling at the line of scrimmage, but his aggressive angles will need a little work to ensure he’s secured tackles at the catch point before attempting to attack the football and undercut throws. Durability will be a big missing link for those on the outside—Newsome II is yet to play a full season of college ball. Now, he’ll look to sell a pro team that he can play 16 games (or more) in a year. If he can, this is a very gifted player. 

One of the biggest knocks on Newsome’s game is his grabbiness. Downfield Newsome tends to get handsy with the receiver leading to grabs and penalties, but if he can clean up this area, the Browns could reap benefits from this pick.

Newsome will be joining a cornerback group that already consists of Denzel Ward, Troy Hill, and Greedy Williams. Ward and Hill will undoubtedly be the starters of this group, but Newsome could challenge Williams for the slot cornerback position. Worst case scenario Newsome benefits from a redshirt year to continue to learn the nuances of the position.

This is certainly a luxury pick. The Browns can afford to be patient with Newsome as he develops and teams him up with Ward to form one of the best corner duos for the foreseeable future.

Overall, this is another slam dunk pick as the Browns continue to revamp their defense. The Browns will need to continue to find depth on their defensive line and upgrade at the linebacker position. Both of which can be easily done in rounds two and three.

Grade: B+