Cornerback is one of the glaring positional needs for the Cleveland Browns heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. However, unfortunately for the Browns, it seems like every first-round cornerback is trending up in the draft instead of down, which the Browns would have benefited from. Guys like Richard Sherman and Asante Samuel Sr. were both third-day picks and turned out to become two of the best corners in the NFL. This year, it’s very likely that Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley and Greg Newsome II will all be off the board when the Browns draft at pick 26.
However, guys like Sherman and Samuel prove that talented defensive backs can still be found in the later rounds of the draft. Instead of reaching for a guy like Eric Stokes or Tyson Campbell, maybe the Browns decide to use the 26th pick on receiver Rondale Moore, or interior-defensive lineman Christian Barmore.
Assuming they use early-round draft picks to address other team needs, these are three late-round cornerbacks that could be Browns draft steals.
Day 2 CBs Who Could be Browns Draft Targets
Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
Michigan State has a history of putting solid secondary players in the NFL. Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes have both had good, not great NFL careers thus far. As for Brown, he’s seemingly gotten better year after year at Michigan State. The only drawback of Brown is his size, he is only 5-10. He also was injured during his 2019 season, which limited his playing time. He could be even better, had he gotten through a full season in 2019. Brown was one of the few Big Ten defensive backs not playing for Northwestern who had a great year. In Michigan State’s disappointing 2-5 season, Brown had 25 tackles and five interceptions. He has a high ceiling and can play multiple positions. Brown will need time to develop at the NFL level. If the Browns can get Brown in the fifth or sixth round, it would be a steal.
Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
After mentioning Sherman earlier, you had to know Paulson Adebo’s name might come up, and indeed it does. If Adebo didn’t opt out of the 2021 fall season, he would be a prospect on the fringe of the first round. However, he did sit out the season, so scouts really only have his previous two years of tape to watch. During his career with Stanford, he recorded eight interceptions, 97 tackles and 27 passes defended. Adebo also has the type of size the Browns front office loves. He’s 6-1 and has the speed to keep up with top receivers in the league. Is he the next Richard Sherman? I’m not saying that, but we’re talking about a guy who would have been a first-round pick had he not opted out. He would be a steal in the late-second, early third round.
Elijah Molden, Nickel, Washington
Elijah Molden was a pick in the second round of our Browns three-round mock draft. Standing at 5-10, he doesn’t have the size that many covet in a NFL corner. However, he is the best “nickel” corner in the draft, arguably by a wide margin. Before the shortened fall season, Molden posted 49 tackles and four interceptions, while also breaking up 12 passes. Molden is the closest thing to Tyrann Mathieu in this year’s NFL Draft. He can honestly play all of the positions in the defensive backfield. It’s too early to tell if his game can match that of Mathieu’s, but if he goes to the Browns, it’s a step in the right direction.
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