Browns bolster defense with linebacker leap
The Cleveland Browns continued their defensive revamp on Friday by moving up seven spots in the second round to draft highly-rated linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out of Notre Dame.
Owusu-Koramoah is the eighth major addition to the defense that new Browns general manager Andrew Berry has made this offseason and a number of NFL insiders have been impressed.
Since free agency began, Berry has signed defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Takkarist McKinley, safety John Johnson III, cornerback Troy Hill, linebacker Anthony Walker and defensive tackle Malik Jackson.
On day one of the 2021 draft in Cleveland, the Browns selected Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II as Owusu-Koramoah slipped from his projected first-round spot.
But the Browns kept the linebacker in mind and even texted his representative to explain their reasoning before pulling off a trade with the Carolina Panthers when he fell within reach of their next selection.
"I did get a message specifically from my agent and I was getting these messages from different GMs as to why I wasn't getting picked and things like that," Owusu-Koramoah told reporters on a Zoom call, via Akron Beacon Journal.
"One of them from Cleveland was like, 'We had no issues with him. We just didn't expect him to be on the board, so we were planning to just get a corner.' Cleveland was pretty sound already, and they were expecting to get a corner [in Round 1]."
And former Super Bowl-winning Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy loved the selection, tweeting: "They just drafted a phenomenal defensive player. When I watched Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah play for Notre Dame last year he reminded me of a young Derrick Brooks. I think he'll be a great open field defender."