The Browns may not be in a position for a “project” draft pick in the third round. A team with more talent may be willing to spend an earlier pick on defensive end Oluwole Betiku Jr. who has a ton of raw talent but must be developed and coached.
Betiku moved to the United States from Nigeria as a sophomore in high school and has only been playing football since his junior year in high school. After a strong two seasons in California, Betiku was a finalist for the Maxwell Club National Player of the Year and was a top-15 recruit in the country. Betiku wanted to stay close to home and originally committed to USC, but after an injury and limited playing time in 2017, he transferred to Illinois. Betiku led the Illini in sacks last season with nine, and he also recorded 36 total stops. Betiku did miss three games with an ankle injury.
While Betiku’s production last year was impressive, he still needs a lot of work. His five-star recruiting status and athleticism will certainly turn the heads of scouts. Tape will show Betiku currently lacks skill and consistency against both the pass and run. However, Betiku is athletic and powerful, which could tempt teams to draft and develop for a year or two before putting him on the field.
While the Browns need a player who can contribute right away, I still like Betiku as an option. Betiku has shown to be coachable and has improved each year with more repetitions. While Betiku won’t be ready to play a ton of snaps as a rookie, he looks to still go in the third-round just based on potential. I’ll let Berry decide if the Browns can wait to develop, but this guy’s motor and athleticism is tough to not fall in love with.
Stay tuned as we evaluate round four, pick No. 115 later this week.