Greg Newsome II did everything Browns coaches asked of him in his first NFL training camp.
Newsome, the 26th overall pick of the 2021 draft and one of the most promising cornerbacks of the draft class, was one of the most heavily used defensive backs in practices over the six weeks of camp. He was one of the best players from the Browns' two days of joint practices against the New York Giants, and he jumped at the opportunity to learn how to play the slot position when his coaches wanted him to grow his skills even further.
Newsome has checked all of the boxes normally expected of a first-round pick and is poised for a significant role in his first NFL season. That's why he was named the team's Maurice Bassett Award winner, an honor voted on by local reporters and annually given to the Browns' top-performing rookie at training camp.
"Greg is doing a nice job competing on the practice field and in these games," head coach Kevin Stefanski said after a recent practice. "Understand that he is a rookie, but he is a kid – like I mentioned the other day – who is not making the same mistake twice. He is very diligent about his work."
Check out the best photos of Greg Newsome II in advance of his rookie season
Newsome proved he was worthy of first-round status in his junior season at Northwestern, where he led the Big Ten with 10 passes defensed and allowed just 12 catches, according to Pro Football Focus. He earned first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-American honors in 2020 and ended his college career with 25 passes defensed.
Teammates of Newsome who are previous winners include Harrison Bryant (2020), Mack Wilson (2019), Baker Mayfield (2018) and Myles Garrett (2017).
"He has been making plays out here and doing what he is supposed to do," fellow CB Denzel Ward said last week. "He has been doing his job, but he has just been consistent every day with his technique, execution and making plays out there. He can play on the inside in the slot and he can play outside corner. I know the coaches and the team are very excited about that and being able to use him in multiple places. He is definitely ready for all of that."
The Maurice Bassett Award has been around since 1985. Bassett played for the Browns from 1954-56