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Emmanuel Ogbah making transition, impressing Browns in the process

Emmanuel Ogbah has made a good impression in Berea so far as the Browns enter Week Three of OTAs.

​The second-round draft pick from Oklahoma State has shown flashes of why Cleveland scooped up the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder at No. 32 in an effort to bolster the team's pass rush threat.

And Ogbah — who like so many of the Browns' draft class scored high marks when it comes to character and overcoming obstacles on his way to the NFL — would appear to have the right mindset when it comes to what his role might be next season.

"My goal is to do whatever I can to play on the team, whatever I can do to contribute if I might not start," he said earlier this month. "If I start, I'll still be the best I can for the team, play special teams, wherever I can."

Against that backdrop, Ogbah — the 2015 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year who left Stillwater with 25.6 sacks and 35.5 tackles-for-loss — has earned the praise of his teammates and coaches.

"He's being a good rookie, he's quiet, he keeps his nose clean," veteran linebacker Paul Kruger said, laughing, while on Cleveland Browns Daily two weeks ago.

"But he seems like a great guy, he's eager to learn. We've been talking about different things. But what I see from a football standpoint, he's a guy who's explosive for how big he is, he can really turn the corner well. I see him as a really talented guy who has a huge upside … he just reminds me of a great dane puppy right now, he's a guy in two or three years who's going to be a hell of an impact player."

Demario Davis, who joined the Browns roster during free agency in March, echoed a similar sentiment.

"The first thing that jumps out at you is his size and his range and his long arms,'' Davis said last week. "Anybody with that type of size and those arms — he's an athlete. He can move really good. He can be a good player in this league for a long time."

After all, that's why the Browns drafted Ogbah in the first place despite overtures to deal away the pick during the NFL Draft in April.

"We had a first-round grade on him so we were hopeful and really pleased leaving last night that he sat there waiting on us," executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. "And we had some debate today about whether or not we trade out and frankly the player was just too good to pass up on any other opportunities that were there."

The Browns took to the field as a part of the team's Organized Team Activities.

Like Davis, Browns coach Hue Jackson was impressed with Ogbah's athleticism.

"The guy's 6-foot-4 and he's 275 pounds and has 4.6 speed. He's had 24 sacks in the last two years," he said following the draft. "That was the best guy sitting there and he was too good to pass up. So this guy brings a dynamic on defense."

That's the plan for Ogbah and other rookies like defensive lineman Carl Nassib and linebacker Joe Schobert as Cleveland looks to shore up a defense that struggled last season.

But first, there's something of an adjustment period. And Ogbah currently finds himself making more than one transition.

The first, of course, is the natural step every rookie must take as they adjust to the demands of professional football. The second is playing linebacker in a 3-4 defense that aims to use Ogbah — and his unusual combination of size and speed — off the edge

"We are drowning them with information right now. What you see is a lot of thinking on the field and not as much action as I want, but it is understandable. It is a totally different system to them, different terminology, and I want them to get it yesterday," defensive coordinator Ray Horton said last week after practice.

"They haven't yet, but they will get it. Then, they will be able to use their athletic ability, and I like what we have. We have competition at spots where you can't take a day off because somebody will pass you by. Do I like those guys? I do. Can I say that they are finished products ready to start an NFL game? Absolutely not."

But Horton has been encouraged by Ogbah's progress among others.

"Not to put an anchor around his neck or a burden on him, but I think collectively we were shocked at his first individual drill at how well he was able to move. You see someone in college do it very little, and in our position drills I think it was a collective smile on the coach's faces," he said.

"He is so much more athletic than what he showed on his tape. We knew he could rush, but there is a big difference between rushing and dropping into space.

"When he figures it out, I don't think he knows how good he can be."

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