The Cleveland Browns traded back into the Round 4 of the draft Draft, selecting cornerback Howard Wilson of Houston with pick No.126. The Browns traded pick No. 145 and No. 175 of the fifth round to the Denver Broncos, getting this selection and pick No. 252, the second last pick of the draft. They needed help in the secondary, so moving up to get this corner was not a huge surprise. Here is what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had to say about the newest Brown:
STRENGTHS: Took the ball away in high school and continued to do it in college. Averaged an interception (nine total) every 15 targets despite just one season as a full-time starter. Drapes his length over throwing windows. Has impressive burst to ball that brings him into range to make plays on the throw. Has the size and speed to stay with burners down the field. Springy leaper with catch radius to ruin the 50/50 tries. Always monitoring quarterback from off-man and zone. Will take a direct line to the ball when he decides to trigger. Has the hips and feet to mirror and match all over the field. Well-coached and experienced in a variety of techniques. Shows no fear when it’s time to come get ball carriers as a tackler. Goes low and goes hard.
WEAKNESSES: Has very limited experience relative to the rest of the cornerbacks in this draft. Missed most of 2015 with an ACL tear that teams will look into at the combine. Will require additional time to hone his pattern recognition and instincts down the field. Has a very thin frame with skinny legs. Lacks desired muscular definition and needs a full year of work in an NFL weight program to pack on necessary muscle. Plays a little too upright at times. Scouts believe he could struggle early inside a complicated defensive scheme.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Rounds 5-6
BOTTOM LINE: Smooth athlete with excellent length who has a long history of making plays on the football. Wilson is fast and fluid and he’s willing to do his part as a tackler, but he needs more muscle and more experience before he’s ready to handle some of the physical receivers he will see in the league. Wilson’s size, speed and ball skills will be coveted traits and they give him a chance to become a good NFL starter with time.
At Houston last season, Wilson posted 54 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, 10 pass breakups and five interceptions in 13 games, which earned him first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors. Wilson stands at 6-foot-1, 184 pounds. He is a player who still very young, coming out after just his redshirt sophomore season. Cleveland needed talent in the secondary, so getting this high-upside cornerback should be a nice addition to the Browns defense. Here are some highlights of Howard Wilson: