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2020 NFL Draft

Browns dig deep to find OL Drew Forbes, a punishing blocker from a small school

The Browns made an under-the-radar pick Saturday in the way an obscure species of wildlife makes the average person say "a what?"

Drew Forbes, offensive lineman, Southeast Missouri State.


He's a three-year starter at left tackle at Southeast Missouri State and truly, a menace on the field. You don't want to be in his path when he gets out in space and upfield as a run blocker. There's a good chance you'll end up on your back.

Just look at this highlight reel:

The average fan, though, isn't an avid follower of Ohio Valley Conference football.

So to answer your question of "who?" the Browns sent scout Colton Chapple to the podium Saturday. He quickly revealed the Browns had done their homework, their extra credit and a full-blown thesis study on Forbes, who was also one of their top-30 visits in the lead-up to the draft.

"The good thing is that we have seen him work out personally twice," Chapple said. "Myself, I went down there for his Pro Day and then another one of our scouts, (assistant director of scouting) Glenn Cook, went down there and worked him out, as well. We also had him in here on a 30 visit so we were able to pick his brain.

"We were able to see how he learns. We were able to see how he could describe the protection schemes or the blocking schemes. You get those questions answered, but at the same time, on the field you are able to see: OK, things happen a little bit quicker inside, does he have the foot agility to do that? Does he have the reactive quickness? Does he have the strength? That stuff, you kind of figure out once you get him on campus and once you see him going against some of the bigger defensive tackles that he probably did not see during the his time at Southeast Missouri State."

Forbes has excellent, light feet that should make a potential transition to guard smoother for him. He'd fit well as a zone blocker and likely could also execute a variety of traps and longer pulls. He definitely brings the violent strike necessary to blow a hole open on such plays. Chapple called him a "finisher," which is obvious in that reel. Inside the lines, he lives to punish the opponent.

The question for him as he moves up by a large margin to NFL interior play is if he'll be able to clean up his technique. His impact is fantastic, but his hands were a little wild in the small snippets we've been able to see so far. Luckily for the Browns, they'll have plenty of time to work on that. Forbes doesn't need to play right away.

"I think that one of the things that attracted us is the fact that he is athletic enough to play left (tackle), but he also has the versatility to kick inside if we see fit," Chapple said of Forbes. "That is really, I think, a better question for (offensive line) coach (James) Campen, just to see how to get the best five out there, to build depth or wherever he kind of fits in. That is one of the positives from us getting a guy like Drew, because he does have that athleticism and he does have that intelligence where he can play multiple positions.

"I think you have to look for the traits and how he does versus this level of competition. I know that guys can be classified as developmental or NFL-ready. With Drew, we saw really athletic feet. We saw strength at the point of attack. We saw toughness. We saw aggressive nature. All of the things that you look for at this level. With any rookie coming in, it does not matter where you play, there is going to be an adjustment period. He is going to have to learn our offense. He is going to have to learn our calls. But we feel that given the chance, given the NFL coaching, he can develop and he has quite a bit of upside in our minds."

Schools don't make the lineman. One of the greatest guards to ever play, Larry Allen, came from Sonoma State. It's up to the player with the potential to make good on it.

Forbes' upside is evident. Soon, after the much-deserved congratulations and celebration of a major life event, it'll be time to get to work.

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