The Browns added a talented and still-ascending edge rusher Wednesday to their defensive line by agreeing to terms with DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
Okoronkwo, a fourth-year veteran, spent last season with the Texans after he was a fifth-round pick by the Rams in 2018. He's appeared in 50 games in his career with eight starts — all of which came last season with the Texans — and has totaled 78 tackles and 9.5 sacks in his career.
"Really excited to join the Cleveland Browns," Okoronkwo said. "I am looking forward to adding to an already talented roster, while playing opposite of Myles Garrett, and to be coached by coach Schwartz in his system, where I've seen multiple players traditionally find success in it. I can't wait to get it going and the goal is to bring a Super Bowl to the city of Cleveland."
Check out photos of new Browns DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who agreed to terms as the Browns' first free-agent pickup of the 2023 offseason
Okoronkwo didn't start in a game in his career until Week 10 with the Texans last season but became the permanent starter the rest of the season and was remarkably productive. He grabbed five sacks and six tackles for a loss in the final six games to secure a career-best season and was also quietly one of the most efficient edge rushers in the league. He slotted third — one spot ahead of Myles Garrett — among all edge rushers with at least 200 pass rushes with a 16.4 percent pressure rate, according to Next Gen Stats. Pro Bowlers Trey Hendrickson and Micah Parsons were the only two edge rushers ahead of him on the list.
"Ogbo will fit in well with our defensive scheme," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He's an explosive player and has capitalized when given opportunities. We feel he can be very impactful by the way he plays the game and we are happy that we are able to add him to our defense."
After a foot injury forced him to miss his entire rookie season, injuries also forced Okoronkwo to miss six games in each of his next two seasons with the Rams and another four games in 2021, his fourth and final season in Los Angeles. He had 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, including two in 2021, with the Rams.
Prior to the NFL, Okoronkwo was a productive edge rusher at Oklahoma and won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior while amassing 75 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. He will become the third defensive lineman on the Browns with Oklahoma roots, joining 2022 draft picks Perrion Winfrey and Isaiah Thomas.
Okoronkwo joins a defensive end room that includes four-time Pro Bowler Myles Garrett, Alex Wright and Thomas and will become an instant candidate to start.