BEREA— The Browns picked their cornerback in the third-round.
No, it wasn’t Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu, who was taken one pick after the Browns selected Leon McFadden from San Diego State.
“I didn’t really speak to the Browns, so this was a big surprise to me,” McFadden said in a conference call right after being selected by the Browns. “I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m a competitor and will work my tail off to be ready.”
McFadden said he talked to one of the Browns West Coast scouts and the team at the NFL Combine.
However, GM Mike Lombardi said they were well aware of McFadden.
“We watched him work out and there really weren’t any questions,” Lombardi said. “We liked what we saw of him and we did talk with him and our scouts were through there several times.”
Lombardi thinks McFadden can play inside and outside.
“That is a coach’s call and certainly he has the skills to compete,” Lombardi said. “He’s done both at San Diego State. He has the skills to do that and can play in or out.
McFadden is confident he will be able to compete for playing time immediately.
“I believe my ball skills in man-to-man coverage are strong,” McFadden said. “The main thing I want to work on is my press coverage.”
“I think Leon has good skills,” Lombardi said. “He has the attributes we were looking for in terms of the skills and dimension we want to bring into the organization.”
Lombardi likes the four-year experience McFadden has.
He had a lot of production with 41 passes broken up and eight interceptions in his career. Last season, McFadden was MVP with 61 tackles and three interceptions, including a 96-yard return at Fresno State. He’s very experienced with 45 starts in his four-year career and totaled 188 tackles with three sacks. He also set the school record with passes broken up.
“He has quick feet,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “He’s a playmaker and has some return skills.
“He competes well,” he said. “You get some extra value with kick and punt returner.”
Pro Football Weekly Draft guide had McFadden projected as a second-or third-round pick.
McFadden (5-10, 193) ran a 4.5 in his 40-yard dash. He went to San Diego State as a wide receiver, but was switched to cornerback in 2009.
Pro Football Weekly said McFadden has ‘Fairly small hands and doesn’t have ideal height and body length and top end speed projected more as a slot cornerback.’
However, McFadden isn’t concerned with his measurables.
“I really don’t look at it as a problem as I’m a competitor,” McFadden said.
Lombardi said McFadden is a football player.
“He makes plays on the football and that’s important,” he said. “In the conference he played in they throw the ball a lot.”
Lombardi was asked why McFadden was taken over Mathieu, who was dismissed from LSU for off the field problems.
“I think you do the research on the players and do what you think is best for your organization.”
When asked why McFadden felt he would be successful, he didn’t hesitate.
“I believe I’m going to work hard and have a successful NFL career.”
McFadden has good bloodlines as his father, Leon McFadden, Sr. played nine years of professional baseball, including parts of three seasons in the major leagues with the Houston Astros.
Browns Confirm Bess Trade: The Browns confirmed the trade that brings WR Davone Bess to the Browns pending a physical.
“Bess is a really productive receiver,” Lombardi said. “He’s been one of the top producing receivers in the last few years. He’s been very productive. (The Dolphins) signed a couple other receivers and it was an opportunity for us to bring him in once he passes a physical.”
Profootballreference.com lists Bess as tied for the 7th most productive receiver in the last five years with an average of 64 receptions a season.
In the trade, the two teams exchanged picks. Besides acquiring Bess, the Browns traded their fourth-round pick (104 overall) and second fifth-round pick (164 overall )for the Dolphins fourth round pick (111 overall) and seventh-round pick (217 overall). The second pick (164) was acquired in the trade for QB Colt McCoy.
Schafrath in New York: Former Browns LT Dick Schafrath announced the selection of Browns third-round pick Leon McFadden. Schafrath played at Ohio State before joining the Browns. He was to announced the second and third picks, but the Browns were without a second-round selection.