Area scout Colton Chapple (5.1.21)

 

Opening statement:

“We ended up taking (S) Richard LeCounte (III) from the University of Georgia with our fifth-round pick. This guy has been a three-year starter for them. He comes from a really small town Riceboro, Georgia. Highly recruited out of high school, graduated early and came out and started contributing immediately. Has played both the field safety and the boundary safety. Played under a really good head coach in (Georgia Head Coach) Kirby Smart, a defensive-minded coach. Very excited to get a very experienced, productive safety to come in and compete for us.”

 

On if a player being highly recruited out of high school is taken into account during the draft process:

“I think it is just a small piece of the puzzle. The majority of the evaluation and what you look at is the tape that he puts out year after year. It is really almost just like a starting point for us, and then from there, it is up to the player and what he puts on tape to where you kind of see him valued at the end of his college career.”

 

On LeCounte being named the most improved defensive player at Georgia in 2019 and if there was a noticeable change in his game from year to year:

“He was obviously behind a pretty talented group of safeties and secondary players at Georgia, but every year he got more playing time, and every year he proved himself to be a guy who could make plays in the back end there. You definitely saw him take a jump. I think the biggest jump really was that 2019 season where he was a full-time starter opposite of (LA Rams S) J.R. Reed. It was something that, especially looking at him in the summer before this year started, really kind of excited you and wanted to make you watch a little bit more this year to see how he could almost build on that progression moving forward for his last year there.”

 

On if LeCounte has fully recovered from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident last year:

“He is. It was pretty scary. He was coming home from a game and just wrong place, wrong time. I am pretty sure he was in the hospital for a brief stint. He was able to return. They had him suit up for the Cincinnati game in their bowl game, and he was able to take a few snaps in their victory formation there and then did a full workout for us at his pro day in the spring. We are assuming that he is 100 percent ready to go, and hit the ground running once we get him on campus here.”

 

On if LeCounte is a prototypical safety or more of a hybrid:

“When I watch him, he is a guy who plays really well in the post as more of a free safety type. Excellent coverage skills especially in zone. He plays with great eyes and anticipation and sees the field really well. I think that the best thing that he does is play zone coverage versus the pass. You will see some of his highlights, he will come down in a hurry in supporting the run, and he looks to run through you as a tackler, which was surprising not being a bigger guy who is like some of the guys we have on campus here. It is exciting to see him both in the run and the pass game and what he can offer for us.”

 

On if LeCounte is expected to have a role on special teams:

“I think that is always something you want in a prospect, especially on Day 3, but we kind of expect all of our guys to play on special teams. I do not think it is our first-rounders will not and our second-rounders will or that type of deal. He has a special teams history in college. The way to get on the field as quickly as possible usually in an NFL camp is through your performance and your production on special teams. We are going to expect Richard to come in and compete both on the defensive side of the ball and in all four phases of our special teams units.”

 

On what the Browns have accomplished during the past two offseasons:

“I have learned to never underestimate (Executive Vice president of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew Berry. The fact that he set the tone early as soon as he got hired he said ‘We are going to be aggressive in adding players and adding competition to our roster.’ He’s been able to follow that up in every single phase, whether it is trades, whether it is free agency or whether we are seeing it now with the draft, his second draft as a decision maker for us. It is really cool to see just the evolution of the roster. I think that even with (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski now and his staff, you get really good healthy conversations on where we are just in terms of depth, what we want to add where we think we are really strong and just going back and forth. To your point now, it is really cool to see over just a brief stint of these past two or three years to see how that roster has evolved and how we have gotten better. I think you have seen that on the field, as well.”

 

On if the Browns have accomplished everything the team wanted to in the draft so far:

“That is an interesting question because I think the most important thing you want to do in a draft is add talent to your roster and add competition to your roster. When you are able to just go best player available based off of your board and based off of how your scouts, your coaches and your decision makers feel, that is when you walk away from it after today feeling really good about where you are in terms of just building a roster standpoint. In that regard, it is nice to not be handicapped by just drafting based strictly for need, and it is almost a perfect storm when a need lines up with best player available. That is when you kind of start hitting on all cylinders.”

 

On the transformation the Browns have made on defense this offseason:

“To add the pieces that we have added, it is something where we were 11-5 last year and we are trying to improve upon that. Yeah, we are trying to beat other teams in our division and other teams in our conference and make that extra playoff push, but we are really just building on something that we think is pretty special in this building right now and just trying to take it one day at a time, one practice at a time and one game at a time and try not to look too far ahead or get too caught up with how the roster looks on paper. At the end of the day, it is always going to depend on how we perform on Sundays.”

 

On Berry having a baby during draft week:

“I was joking with him because I saw him before the second night of the draft, and I said, ‘What are you doing here? Get home.’ If I was in the same situation, he would tell me to go home to my wife. HE is extraordinary to work for. Nobody else like him. It is just a privilege to sort of work under him and learn from what he has been able to do in his short regime already here in Cleveland.”

 

On what he learned most from Berry:

“It is something that Andrew will never tell you, but he is usually the smartest person in the room at the time, but you’ll never know it. He will absorb all of the comments, he will be able to summarize it and then feed it back to you and pose any questions that he might still have. In terms of just the amount of information and everything on his plate, the fact that he is able to do that on a consistent basis and do it in the very calm demeanor that you see day to day, that is just who Andrew is. It is really, really impressive to sit back and watch that.”

 

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