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2020 NFL Draft

Penn State's James Franklin on Carl Nassib: 'You're going to love this guy'

James Franklin's message to Browns fans about third-round pick Carl Nassib?

"You're going to love this guy," the Penn State head coach said Thursday in a wide-ranging interview on Cleveland Browns Daily. "He's had to work for everything that he's been given."

Indeed, Nassib — who was taken by Cleveland with the 65th pick in the NFL Draft last week — and the story of how the defensive end went from a unheralded walk-on to the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year last season is a well-known one.

"He wasn't highly recruited, wasn't coming in with fanfare. He had to earn a starting job, had to earn respect nationally, had to earn respect in our conference and did it," said Franklin, who coached Nassib the past two seasons.

"And how many times do we see a guy that's drafted really high or recruited really high and doesn't live up to his potential. This guy's the complete opposite. And I don't want you to take it the wrong way. When people talk about the try-hard guys, they think he's not talented. That's not the case. This guy is talented and works hard. He's going to create the culture you want in the locker room."

Those comments echo a certain sentiment made by Browns coach Hue Jackson and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown last week.

"The guy had 15.5 sacks and he plays extremely hard and it is very important to him. Those are the type of guys we want on campus," Jackson said, adding, "This is the kind of guy we want on campus because he kind of embodies what I'm looking for. The guy plays the game the way it's supposed to be played, and he's played extremely well at a high level in the Big Ten."

At 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds and with an unusual motor, Nassib is expected to add depth to a defensive line that struggled to stop the run last season.

The Browns say they see him as a defensive lineman in Ray Horton's defense, but wouldn't limit what else Nassib — who also dropped back in coverage for Penn State — might be able to do in other packages.

The Browns selected Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib at No. 65 with their first of three picks in Friday's third round.

"I still see him as a 4-3 defensive end being able to play the five-technique. He's (275) pounds right now and he's skinny," Franklin said. "If you needed him to put on 10-15 pounds right now he could do it and still look skinny because he's 6-foot-7. So that's what I think he is."

Franklin playfully described Nassib as "a weirdo" and "a driven, funny, outside the box thinker."

"He's so driven he texted me at 2 a.m. not being able to sleep on a weekday telling me how important winning is to win," Franklin said.

"I love him because he's an individual. He understands the team concept so he won't be an individual in that setting, but he's a guy that thinks outside the box. He's very, very driven, he's very, very motivated. He gets it … from a college perspective, he was a guy who was probably wise beyond his years."

Added Franklin: "He's what you guys want: blue-collared, hard-nosed, appreciative of the opportunity that you guys have given him there and he's not going to have any problems off the field. He's going to maximize his potential, which most guys don't."

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