Even after signing two pass-rushers in free agency and spending the No. 6 pick on Barkevious Mingo, the Cleveland Browns felt the need to further address the pass rush with Armonty Bryant. Bryant is the epitome of a small-school player, but he is talented.
Obviously, Bryant, coming out of East Central Oklahoma, isn't the most refined player. However, he has potential and could provide value down the line.
In Cleveland's 3-4 defense, the 6'4", 263-pound Bryant fits as an outside linebacker. With 36" arms, he possesses incredible length, and he's a solid athlete as well.
Athletically, Bryant is well above the typical seventh-round pick. He ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, but he is faster and more explosive on tape than the number suggests.
Bryant isn't the smoothest of pass-rushers off the edge, though. He shows good burst with an explosive first step, but he lacks the smooth hips to bend the edge and get to the quarterback.
Was the Armonty Bryant pick a good selection?
However, Bryant's strong, active hands are extremely helpful as a pass-rusher. His long arms and powerful hands help him disengage from blockers and win at the point of attack.
Bryant does need to add strength, however. He isn't powerful enough to properly use his leverage and drive offensive linemen into the backfield. He will also struggle against the run, as offensive linemen drive him backward.
Though he looks natural in space, Bryant does need to develop coverage skills. He played defensive end in college, so he is inexperienced dropping back and playing in coverage. His tight hips could prove detrimental there, as well.
In the future, Bryant profiles as an athletic pass-rusher. He isn't there yet, but his natural ability is intriguing. Bryant has the pure physical ability of a double-digit sack artist, though he will likely never reach that pinnacle.
Because he is natural in space and struggles some against the run, Bryant's best fit comes in a 3-4 defense like Cleveland's. With time, he could end up starting opposite Barkevious Mingo.
It is extremely unlikely that Bryant sees playing time as a rookie. He is raw, and the Browns actually have solid depth at pass-rusher.
The offseason additions of Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves and Mingo in addition to Jabaal Sheard leave Bryant on the outside looking in. He is a good option for the practice squad as a rookie.
This is a pick for the future, not the present. Cleveland is hoping it may have found a diamond in the rough, but that won't be apparent for a number of years.