The Browns on Saturday selected Georgia S Richard LeCounte III in the fifth round with the No. 169 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
LeCounte III, a former five-star recruit, was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs, registering eight interceptions over those three seasons. He was a first-team All-SEC selection after posting 26 tackles and three interceptions in six games.
"When I watch him, he is a guy that plays really well on the post as more of a free safety type," Browns player personnel scout Colton Chapple said. "Excellent coverage skills especially in zone. He plays with great eyes and anticipation and sees the field really well.
"I think that the best thing that he does is play zone coverage versus the pass. But you will see some of his highlights, he will come down in a hurry in supporting the run and he looks to run through you as a tackler which was surprising, not being a bigger guy that is like some of the guys we have on campus here, but it is exciting to see him both in the run and the pass game and what he can offer for us."
LeCounte's senior season came to an abrupt end in early November when he was hospitalized following a motorcycle accident. LeCounte dressed and appeared on the field for the final snap of Georgia's bowl game and worked out for scouts at his Pro Day.
"I am ready to learn. I am ready to work. I am ready to get to it," LeCounte III said. "It has been an overwhelming process, as you guys know, from my accident in October to now. It has been a long journey. The things that I am able to bring to the table are unmatched. I was able to recover 100 percent, and I am ready to get on a roll."
LeCounte III led the Bulldogs in tackles as a sophomore and finished third on the team during his junior season. He was recognized as the defense's Most Improved Player in 2019, when he led the SEC with three fumble recoveries and finished second with four interceptions.
"He was obviously behind a pretty talented group of safeties and secondary players at Georgia but every year he got more playing time and every year he proved himself to be a guy that could make plays in the back end there," Chapple said. "You definitely saw him take a jump. I think the biggest jump really was that 2019 season where he was a full-time starter. It was something that, especially looking at him in the summer before this year started, really kind of excited you and wanted to make you watch a little bit more this year to see how he could almost build on that progression moving forward for his last year there."
LeCounte III is the seventh player to join the Browns through the 2021 NFL Draft. Northwestern CB Greg Newsome (1st Round, No. 26) was selected Thursday, Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (2nd round, No. 52) and Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz (3rd Round, No. 91) were added to the roster Friday and Cincinnati T James Hudson (4th round, No. 110), Ohio State DT Tommy Togiai (4th round, No. 132) and West Virginia LB Tony Fields II (5th round, No. 153) were selected earlier Saturday.
"I knew wherever I go, I am able to get out there and showcase my talents," LeCounte III said. "I am so glad that the Cleveland Browns gave me a shot to show what I can do. I can't wait to get out there and run around."
The Browns hold one more pick on Day 3 in the sixth round (211).