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Competitiveness fuels McFadden's play

Posted Jun 29, 2013

BEREA -- Browns defensive back Leon McFadden is driven by a competitive spirit and desire to succeed.

BEREA -- When the Cleveland Browns selected defensive back Leon McFadden in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, they got one of the most competitive players eligible this year, according to his former teammate at San Diego State University, Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar.

“He’s a great competitor,” Escobar said of McFadden. “I actually played against him in high school, and he probably won’t admit this, but I was the first one to score a touchdown in high school, the only touchdown he let up in high school. You’re getting a great player, a great competitor, and he’s going to come to work and just improve every day.

“I would split out sometimes and I would think I was open, but he’d be right there on my hip. He’s got those little techniques. He’s good, a great player.”

Initially choosing San Diego State for the chance to play wide receiver when other colleges exclusively wanted him as a defensive back, McFadden found himself behind DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown on the depth chart. Sampson was later drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, and Brown, the San Diego Chargers.

Three days into his college career, McFadden was switched to defensive back, and instantly became a contributor for the Aztecs, starting six games as a freshman. During that first season, McFadden’s competitive nature pushed him to work hard, and that dedication resulted in a sack, and a pair of blocked extra-point kicks.

The 5-foot-9, 193-pound McFadden finished his career with a 61-tackle, three-interception season in 2012. As a senior, he returned two interceptions for touchdowns and earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors.

“I was going against him, and I wouldn’t say he’d lock me down, but he’s strong,” Escobar said. “He’s strong for his size, and he can jump too. I think he’ll be fine going up against those strong receivers.

“I didn’t go up against him a lot, being a tight end, but when I did go up against him, I always told the quarterback I was open. In reality, it was good competition and a friendly competition.”

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