Yes, you read correctly. AJ Green, the Browns new cornerback could, in theory, line up against AJ Green, the famed WR for the Bengals this season.
Green, a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist, was seen as the cream of the crop of UDFAs having been widely expected to be drafted. A poor performance at the combine saw his draft stock plummet. Green is a perfect example of how some teams will view testing vs tape. Check out the tape below, you will see a good coverage corner with good ball skills and an eye for the ball. A plus tackler who is always keen to get involved, and plays much faster than his 4.62 40 at the combine would suggest. The Browns are paying him $145000 dollars in guaranteed salary, and let’s be clear, that is a lot of money when talking about UDFAs. This means the analytic driven Browns front office is betting on the tape:
The old adage that you can never have too many cornerbacks has never been more correct in the league. With a cornerback room looking like Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, Kevin Johnson, Terence Mitchell proving himself an able deputy, whilst holding his own when asked to start, after that the talent in the room appears to disappear pretty quickly. If AJ Green can come in and prove himself on special teams, guys like Tavierre Thomas, Blake Jackson, and Donnie lewis could find themselves in trouble. With Johnson on a short contract and Mitchell part of a previous regime, Green could easily play himself into contention in this DB room, leaving him in the best position of all the UDFAs to succeed at his position.
Fun facts: The Browns are no stranger to Oklahoma State Products. Brandon Weeden, Justin Gilbert, and Emanuel Ogbah all paving the way for Green in the Brown and Orange.
Behind Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi, the Browns had little depth at defensive tackle last season. With the addition of Andrew Billings in Free Agency and Jordan Elliot in the draft, this room is certainly in the mix for a makeover.
The addition of Jeffrey Whatley out of South Alabama is certainly an interesting choice. Whatley, a three-sport start Dale County High School, ended focusing on football during his time in South Alabama. The all-round athleticism he displays on tape is a testament to that multi-sport background. Physically, Whatley has the tools to do the job. What he does with those tools in the coming months will be key in whether or not he sticks in Cleveland.
It will be a massive undertaking for Whatley to make the final roster, with Richardson, Ogunjobi, Billings, and Elliot already penciled in on the roster come September. He will have to battle it out with likes Ekuale, Zimmer, Bryant, and Ankou for a spot. Is this a battle he can win? That remains to be seen, but there is most definitely an opportunity for him to have a run at a roster spot or stick around on the practice squad.
Fun facts: Had the pleasure of chatting with Jeffrey after he was picked up by the Browns, for our Two Green Browns podcast! Very pleasant, intelligent, and motivated young man. Also a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.
You can check out my interview with Jeffrey and more Podcasts from Two Green Browns HERE!
George Obinna presents as a humble, quiet, and well mannered young man. This exterior belies the ferocious nature of what he puts out on the pitch. Obinna was literally the “Sack master of Sacramento”, putting up 33.5 sacks in his four years starting for the Hornets. On its own, that would be pretty impressive but also add 136 tackles (70 solos) and 47 tackles for loss shows just how well Obinna has done in his college career. Having put some bulk onto his frame, he now projects as a DE in the NFL having played earlier in his career at OLB.
The DE room was decimated by the end of the season last year, Myles from the “incident”, Vernon with injury, and a general lack of depth at the position. At times the position was being filled with midseason pickups.
The addition of Adrian Clayborn will bring a great veteran presence to the room. With rumors around Jadaveon Clowney, Everson Griffen, and Olivier Vernon’s contract being very cuttable, this DE room is far from set. Fringe players like Porter Gustin, Trevon Young, and Robert McCray will be looking over their shoulders with the arrival of George Obinna. He has a great opportunity to put his hand up for a roster spot in this room.
Fun facts: George was born and raised in Nigeria and his mother would not let him play football until relatively late into high school.