The Browns added another playmaker to their defensive backs room Thursday night with the first-round selection of CB Greg Newsome II with the 26th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
We're highlighting five things to know about Newsome, who was a defensive stalwart at Northwestern.
1. Newsome is 6-foot, 192 pounds and started 18 games across three seasons in Evanston. His breakout season was in 2019, when he led the Wildcats with 11 passes defensed and emerged as one of the top cornerbacks in the Big Ten. Newsome's stock as a top cornerback was solidified with another big season in 2020, when he led the conference with 10 passes defensed in six games and recorded his first career interception. Newsome was also a First Team All-Big Ten selection and allowed .44 yards per coverage snap, which was the lowest of all players in the 2021 draft class.
2. Newsome all but secured his status as a player worthy of the first round with a massive pro day. He recorded a 4.38 40-yard dash and a 40-inch vertical jump — both of which were among the top measurements of all cornerback prospects. "With his agile footwork and anticipation,Newsome attaches himself to receivers and stays under control in coverage," wrote The Athletic's Dane Brugler in his 2021 edition of The Beast. "He has terrific eyes to sort and make plays."
3. Newsome missed at least three games in each of his three seasons at Northwestern, but Executive Vice President and GM Andrew Berry said they were comfortable with Newsome's medicals. Berry cited Newsome's age — 20, which makes him one of the youngest players of the entire draft class — as a reason to believe his body will only become stronger. "We were very comfortable with it," Berry said. "Our medical team was very comfortable with it. That's not something we had major reservations about."
4. Newsome was the ninth defensive player selected in the draft, which arrived much later than most mock draft analysts and insiders expected. He was also the second first-round player to be selected by Northwestern, which hadn't had a first-round pick since DT Luis Castillo in 2005.
5. Newsome will be the second new cornerback added to the roster this offseason. That room now features Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams and free-agent signee Troy Hill, who excelled as a slot cornerback in 2020. With Newsome's addition, the room should have ample depth and talent to make significant improvements in 2021.