Cleveland Browns sign LB Hayes Pullard
By Thomas Moore
Nov 1, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Theron West (24) is tackled by Southern California Trojans linebacker Hayes Pullard (10) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns signed linebacker Hayes Pullard on Monday, the team announced on its website.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Pullard was the team’s seventh-round selection and the 219th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Pullard was a four-year starter at USC and was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selection in 2014 after leading the Trojans in tackles with 95. He was the first USC defender to lead the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons, and finished his college career with 377 tackles.
“I just fell into those tackles all four years?” – Linebacker Hayes Pullard
Despite those numbers, many draft experts did not think highly of Pullard, a fact that he says will be a motivator when he arrives at training camp this summer.
“I just fell into those tackles all four years?” Pullard said on the team’s website. “I don’t know how that could happen, but you can only accept criticism, prove everybody wrong, continue to get better and be a peak performer.”
According to his NFL.com profile, Pullard:
"Won’t hit the gas unless it’s necessary. Leverages outside runs and doesn’t give away cutback lanes very often. Athletic mover in space and has functional closing speed. Functional change-of-direction player. Transitions with smooth hips and acceleration to chase perimeter passes. Can mirror in man coverage and has solid ball skills. He’s willing to throw his body into a tackle. Scouts like his leadership."
CBSSports.com had this to say about Pullard:
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"Active athlete with rangy chase skills. Strong take-on skills with good bulk on his frame. Smooth transitional player with fluid movements to break down and rally to the ball. Natural instincts with good timing and anticipation in the run game to sniff out the play. Dissects and tracks the ball well, not getting fooled by eye candy. Physical striker with closing skills downhill, tackling low and wrapping through his target. Aggressive angles with the anger to finish. Highly active eyes and legs. Mature personality with attractive leadership traits. Durable four-year starter and two-year team captain, seeing time at both inside and weakside linebacker, also playing on special teams coverages. Highly productive with 377 total tackles and 20 passes defended, earning All-Conference honors each of the last four seasons."
The signing of Pullard brings the number of draft picks under contract to 10. In addition to Pullard, the Browns have signed offensive lineman Cameron Erving, nose tackle Danny Shelton, cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, linebacker Nate Orchard, defensive lineman Xavier Cooper, defensive back Charles Gaines, fullback Malcolm Johnson, tight end Randall Telfer and wide receiver Vince Mayle.
Do you think Hayes Pullard can make the transition to the NFL?