Cleveland Browns Draft Profile: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
How would Asante Samuel Jr. fit with the Cleveland Browns?
The Cleveland Browns have made two massive upgrades to the secondary with the additions of John Johnson III and Troy Hill, but the team still lacks a boundary cornerback to start opposite Denzel Ward. There are quite a few quality prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, one of which is Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr., a feisty, instinctive, and consistent player who plays much bigger than he is.
Samuel measured in at 5-10, 180 pounds, which would normally be enough to relegate a player to the slot. But Samuel played on the boundary for his entire career, and held up extremely well. He isn’t the most explosive athlete, but he’s very quick and agile, and given his fantastic instincts and feel for the game, Samuel can hang with just about any receiver.
Over the past three seasons, Samuel picked off four passes and broke up 29 others. He wasn’t targeted a whole lot because opposing quarterbacks knew better than to test him.
Instincts and feel
When watching film, it’s easy to see that Samuel is the son of a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion. The game of football comes naturally to him, and he has an innate feel for route concepts. He’s always around the ball, and his fantastic instincts just make his short-area quickness all the more deadly.
Quickness and agility
There are plenty of players who display great instincts, but very few have the physical ability to make as many plays as Samuel does. His explosion and agility testing was fine, but his tape shows a much more quick and agile athlete. No one can cover Tyreek Hill, but Samuel could likely at least keep up with him within 15 yards.
Samuel may be small, but he doesn’t play like it. He’s an excellent trash talker, is physical in press coverage, and is a willing tackler. He doesn’t shy away from contact and his physicality will wear down and frustrate opponents throughout a game.
Size and strength
Really the only issue with Samuel’s game is something that isn’t part of his game at all. Samuel is just undersized, which can’t be improved upon. He can be thrown around by larger receivers because he’s just 180 pounds.
It’s a concern, but as long as Samuel is sticking with receivers, that will do. If he needs bracket safety help in order to survive against the Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins, and D.K. Metcalf’s of the world, so be it.
But Denzel Ward (who has many of the same strengths and weaknesses as Samuel) would likely be dealing with those players anyway, or perhaps even the much taller Greedy Williams, provided he can return strong from his nerve injury,
PFF mock draft simulator average draft position: 39.7
NFL Mock Draft Database average: 44
If Cleveland were to select Samuel 26th overall, Browns fans should be happy. He’d be a very good pick and an instant starter.
However, it is also possible that the team could move down a bit, add some draft capital in 2022, and still land Samuel a bit later on. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about this front office, it’s that value will always be maximized, and if they feel they can add a future pick and still get Samuel, they’ll do that.
He’s small, but Asante Samuel Jr. hasn’t let his lack of size stop him from becoming an elite collegiate cornerback. Pairing him with Denzel Ward would give the Cleveland Brown an extraordinarily quick boundary tandem, which is what the team needs to slow down offenses like Kansas City and Buffalo.