The Browns traded up in round two to get linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. They thought about taking him in round one.
Via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta said Saturday that Owusu-Koramoah could have been their round one selection, before he became the guy they moved up to select at No. 52, the pick made when the fan dressed like the Macho Man Randy Savage took the stage in Cleveland.
“He was definitely under consideration,” DePodesta said. “I’ll say that.” He added that the Browns “were not really expecting [Owusu-Koramoah] to get quite that far.”
The Browns kept tabs on the Notre Dame linebacker as round two unfolded, beginning at pick No. 33.
“There was a lot of pacing going on upstairs once we got to about pick 42, 43, 44, just trying to figure out if there was a way we could make it happen,” DePodesta said.
G.M. Andrew Berry said that the whole building was pacing together as the second-round picks were made.
“We certainly didn’t expect him to be there when he was, but we’re fortunate that he was, and we think he’s going to add something to our team,” Berry said.
The Browns intend to use Owusu-Koramoah as a three-down linebacker.
“He’s certainly very versatile,” DePodesta said. “I know there’s been talk that he could play strong safety or do lots of different things. I just think that speaks to his athleticism and his versatility, and I think he fits our scheme perfectly at the linebacker spot, and that’s where we plan to play him.”
With a strong defensive line and a potent back end (their first-round pick was cornerback Greg Newsome), Owusu-Koramoah could quickly become the anchor of the second level. And he could be one of the pieces that make Cleveland a perennial playoff team — as well as a potential Super Bowl contender.