2020 NFL Draft

5 Browns takeaways from Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft


  1. Follow the leader**

Browns' first round picks defensive end Myles Garrett, safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku on Friday afternoon converged on Berea, where they met with head coach Hue Jackson, executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and the rest of Cleveland's leadership.

The trio of players — including Garrett, the first overall pick and highly-touted Texas A&M defensive end — spoke of a desire to come in and help the Browns turn the franchise around.

But most of all, they said they're here to follow the lead of veterans such as left tackle Joe Thomas and cornerback Joe Haden.

"They're the foundation," Garrett said, "and we're just added pieces to the puzzle and we're trying to complete the picture so we can start to win games again."

Peppers added: "They set a standard, and we're going to follow suit and do what we have to do to help win ballgames."

2.  Worth the wait

Perhaps the biggest news of Day 2 came when the Browns used their second-round pick on Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, who was once considered a top 10 pick by some draft analysts.

Kizer, whose stock fell after an inconsistent 2016 season, was invited to the Draft in Philadelphia but didn't hear his name called Thursday night. In the end, the Toledo native said it was all worth the wait.

"As a quarterback you need to be able to be the same guy every play, every rep. Last year, I wasn't able to do that as much as I would have liked to," he said.

"I think that has a lot to do with mechanics and footwork. There is a lot that goes into being a good quarterback. I honestly think this is the best opportunity for me as far as teams to be selected to and to be around a great coach who can fix those lulls and create some consistency. I can't wait for coach Jackson to go back and continue to allow me to improve from that last year and to take those spurts of greatness and allow that to push forward for a long time."

Jackson said Kizer -- a smart, mobile, 6-foot-4, 233-pound quarterback with a big arm -- fits what the Browns wanted from the position.  "He is a big, physical quarterback who can make all of the throws that I think anybody needs to make in the National Football League," he said. "He's intelligent. He has the characteristics that we're looking for."

Brown added: "He is a guy who has played really good football. Various people, and I have talked about how he obviously didn't have the year that he wanted to have last year and he recognizes that, but he has tremendous skills to work with, rare skills and traits to work with. We like that."

3. You might fall in love Larry Ogunjobi

The UNC-Charlotte defensive lineman and Browns' fourth-round pick might have the most interesting story of Cleveland's rookies thus far.

Ogunjobi, the son of Nigerian immigrants, became the first player from his school to ever be drafted on Friday night. And when asked of that dynamic, he offered a lengthy account about how he discovered football his sophomore year of high school.

"I was 350 pounds and never played football before, and my parents said that I was getting too fat, they took away my game system," he said, laughing.

"They got me a coach and he trained me for about a month or so, and he got me down to about 330. He took me to the high school one day, and I asked him what we were doing there and he said, 'You're going to play football.' I said, 'No I'm not.' He said, 'Yes you are,' and I said, 'No, I'm not. He got the permission slip from the lady at the front desk, and she took it to my mom and my mom signed it and I was on the football field that next Saturday.'"

Ogunjobi, once a two-star recruit at Ragsdale High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, quickly caught on and developed an interest of playing at the next level. His coach told him he needed to get faster, stronger and refine his technique. So everyday after practice, Ogunjobi would head to the YMCA to workout.

"I was still big so I started off running just half a mile and bike five miles. Then it got to a point where I could run a whole mile and bike ten miles. Then to the point where I could run two whole miles without stopping and bike 15 miles, and my body composition started changing."

Ogunjobi dropped almost 100 pounds in the process. He ultimately committed to Charlotte, the first school to offer him a scholarship. The rest was history.

4. Looking ahead

With Day 3 of the NFL Draft set to begin Saturday afternoon, the Browns are poised to complete another double-digit class. Cleveland, which has added five new faces to the roster, is set to add another five in the fifth and sixth rounds.

"For us, it was about trying to improve the roster and getting young guys who are competitive and that embody the values that we cherish in terms of the competitiveness and the toughness," Brown said.

"We have some big, athletic men who are going to be joining our roster and are going to help us play a more physical brand of football. We are excited. We really are. It has been a productive two days, and we have one more to go."

5. Tough decision

Less than 24 hours after drafting Njoku, the Browns parted ways with veteran tight end Gary Barnidge, who spent the past four seasons in Cleveland and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2015-16.

Brown outlined the decision, saying the Browns wanted to give Barnidge a chance to "catch on with another team."

"We want to be respectful of all our vets, and we had obviously drafted a guy in the first round," Brown said. "We want (Njoku) to get out there on the field, and we wanted to give Gary … an opportunity to make a roster and get into a situation where he felt more comfortable continuing his career."

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