Analysis: OSU's undrafted free agent signings, scheme fits

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Despite not having any players drafted, OSU had two former players sign as free agents soon after the 2020 NFL draft. 

With 19 of 22 starters returning to Stillwater, the Cowboys didn’t have a single-player drafted in the 2020 NFL draft. That marks the first time this happened since 2008.

Shortly after the draft ended, undrafted free agent and former Oklahoma State cornerbacks A.J. Green and Kemah Siverand have signed with the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks respectively.

Here’s the breakdown.

 

A.J. Green — Cleveland Browns

It appeared a surefire bet that two-time All-Big 12 cornerback A.J. Green would be drafted, but all evidence points to a slow 40 time tanking his draft stock.

Green’s lack of speed is what likely kept him from being selected, but his size, length and ball skills are enticing traits.

When you pair all that with a 4.62 40 time, you get a guy who most experts viewed to be best suited in a zone-heavy scheme. Which makes Green’s fit with the Cleveland Browns both intriguing and peculiar.

The Browns signed Green hours after the draft concluded, and they paid a hefty amount to do so.

Green was handed a three-year, $2.3 million contract — the most an undrafted free agent can make — but the biggest indicator was the $145,000 Green is guaranteed, which is one of the highest marks ever for someone in Green’s position.

Cleveland has its cornerback duo of the future with Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. And former first-round pick Kevin Johnson appears a lock for the slot corner role, but things are in flux after that.

Terrance Mitchell is the best bet to take on that No. 4 corner spot, but he hasn’t proven to be anything more than a depth piece.

Along with a new head coach, the Browns are bringing in defensive coordinator Joe Woods from San Francisco.

Woods has not only coached impressive defensive backs like Richard Sherman and Aqib Talib, but he’s also turned good into gold. For example, he took a solid cornerback in Chris Harris from a good player into one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL.

Cleveland’s new DC has extensively coached in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. He’s implemented both man and zone coverage. He certainly possesses scheme versatility.

Woods’ presence is great news for Green who gets the chance to develop under a defensive back savant. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweeted that the Browns badly wanted Brown. 

Now they have him.

 

Kemah Siverand — Seattle Seahawks

When Kemah Siverand joined Texas A&M as a 4-star wide receiver, he was a highly-touted recruit with a myriad of offers. From there, he went on to change positions and subsequently changed schools in 2018 finally ending up in Stillwater.

Siverand appeared in all 13 games for the Cowboys in 2019, almost exclusively on special teams.

But NFL teams don’t sign guys because of their special teams' prowess unless they’re kick returners, which Siverand was not.

And that’s what makes this signing so interesting. Siverand didn’t play much on defense and still, Seattle signed him just one hour after the draft came to close.

Seahawks have had good luck with drafting late-round Cowboys. Siverand will join 2018 seventh-round pick Chris Carson and fifth-round pick Tre Flowers in Seattle — both starters in 2019.

It’s tough to project how Siverand will materialize in Seattle, but it’s always a great sign when defensive back guru Pete Carroll has you own his radar.

The Seahawks’ head coach has done a masterful job of coaxing out high-level production out of undervalued prospects that fit his blueprint.

Carroll seeks out plus size and length DBs for his Cover 3 scheme where those rangy corners are tasked with wiping out their respective sides of the field.

That formula has seen late-round picks like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancelor and Bryon turn into studs in Seattle.

Now Siverand is added to the mix. With newly acquired breakout star Quinton Dunbar joining Pro Bowl corner Shaquill Griffin, the Seahawks are talented and deep at cornerback, but Siverand fits the mold.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Siverand certainly has the size to fit the scheme, but his lack of experience on defense makes it tough to speculate.

Siverand will have his work cut out for him to make this roster, but perhaps Carroll saw something nobody else did.

sports.ed@ocolly.com