The Cleveland Browns used their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select corner Greg Newsome 26th overall. Then when linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah began to slide deep into the second round, the Browns traded up to 52nd overall to swipe the hybrid player.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods believes the team snagged two difference-makers who will help transform a sieve into a dominant force.
"Greg and JOK, those guys are very smart players, and they are very competitive players," Woods said last week per the team's official website. "They come out there and they just go hard all the time. They are trying to learn as much football as they can.
"To me, it felt like we got two first-rounders, for sure."
Newsome owns the ideal size at 6-feet, combined with quick feet and the ability to stick with wideouts at all levels in both press and off coverage. JOK is a hybrid linebacker who can cover slot receivers in space, rush the passer and stuff the run. He fell in the draft in part because some teams were unsure how he'd fit in their defense. The Browns have no such concerns.
"They just bring a different element to the team," Woods said of the two rookies. "It's been good having both of those guys involved."
Newsome and JOK are just two additions to a Browns defense that underwent a makeover this offseason. Cleveland also brought in Jadeveon Clowney and Andrew Billings up front and added former Rams John Johnson and Troy Hill in the secondary. If the Browns defense improves to help match a diverse, dangerous offense, Cleveland should be a contender to make a deep postseason run in 2021.