Over the next two weeks, we're breaking down the Browns' 2017 NFL Draft class — from Myles Garrett to Matthew Dayes — and how they might contribute next fall.*
Former Houston cornerback Howard Wilson, drafted by the Browns with the 126th overall pick, averaged an interception every 15 targets. While a knee injury could very well sideline him this season, the rangy defender figures to someday compete for a role on Cleveland's secondary.
How was his spring?
One day into rookie minicamp, Wilson suffered a broken kneecap that sidelined him for the remainder of offseason workouts. It was indeed a tough blow for the team's lone rookie cornerback.
"It's disappointing but this is a part of playing football," Wilson said in May. "It was kind of a freak thing. I was just running around and my knee just kind of locked up on me. I didn't think much of it but the training staff wanted to get the proper testing so I got the MRI. I'm a positive person so I will have the surgery, work hard in my rehab and look forward to getting back to out there and helping this team win some games."
Head coach Hue Jackson echoed a similar sentiment at the time, especially since minicamp would've offered Cleveland a chance to see where Howard might ultimately fit into the depth chart.
"He will be out for a while, significant time. We will deal with it accordingly. His spirits are high. He understands it. He understands what he is dealing with," Jackson said. "He has already started the process of getting his mind beyond that so he can get himself back as soon as he can."
Howard totaled nine interceptions in three seasons, including one year as a full-time starter in 2016. He earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors with five picks, 54 tackles and five pass breakups.
They said it:
"When the ball is in the air, I just get revived or something. When I see the ball, I come alive. That's that money, that's the name of the game – getting that ball. When it brings itself up, I just have to go get it. I just enjoy getting it."
— Howard on making plays in the secondary
What to expect in the fall?
Howard will miss significant time this fall and potentially the entire season as he recovers. That said, the cornerback will still have the chance to watch and learn from the likes of cornerbacks Joe Haden, Jamar Taylor, Jason McCourty and Briean Boddy-Calhoun.