The Cleveland Browns continued to rebuild the defensive line in the 2017 NFL Draft, and Larry Ogunjobi could see significant time on the field this fall.
The Cleveland Browns exited the 2017 NFL Draft with 10 rookies, several of whom have the opportunity to earn a roster spot this summer.
While much of the attention has been focused on the club’s first-round additions – defensive end Myles Garrett, safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end Njoku – and, of course, quarterback DeShone Kizer, there is more to the draft class that just that quartet of players.
One of the more intriguing selections came in the third round, when the Browns selected defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi in the third round. Ogunjobi began playing football as a sophomore in high school and finished his collegiate career at UNC-Charlotte as a first-team All-Conference USA selection.
And, according to Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda, Ogunjobi may be a “surprise rookie starter” when the Browns take the field this fall:
"Quietly though, (the Browns) might have also added their starting three-technique in Charlotte’s Larry Ogunjobi in the third round of the draft. Danny Shelton, a former first-round pick, has the nose tackle job locked in right now, but the only competition that Ogunjobi has to beat out for a shot as an undertackle is Gabe Wright and Xavier Cooper, two mid-draft selections from a previous staff that haven’t hit, and Caleb Brantley, a sixth-round pick who is accused of battery and may get released before training camp."
"Ogunjobi had 29 tackles for a loss over the last two years as a smaller interior player for a startup program. Playing him next to someone like Shelton, who can occupy bodies and free him up, and opposite of Garrett, who can force a quarterback up in the pocket, could give the Browns an early opportunity to get him on the field. He’s now the third or fourth focus on the line of scrimmage, which should ease his mid-major-to-NFL transition."
In his first two years in charge of the draft, executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown has quickly transformed the defensive line into a unit that should be fun to watch. Garrett and Ogunjobi (and possibly Brantley) join Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib from the 2016 NFL Draft and Shelton to form what, at least potentially, could be the best front line the Browns have had on defense since possibly the early 1970s.
There is still a lot of work to do for the position group to turn all that potential into actual production, but it continues to be refreshing to look at a draft class and be able to see how all the pieces can fit together, rather than everyone wondering how the Browns managed to screw things up again.