Richard LeCounte-2021 NFL Draft-Cleveland Browns
Who can make a play like this for Georgia on Saturday? Mike Griffith feels that Richard LeCounte III will be missed greatly against Florida. (SEC Media Portal)

Cleveland Browns select Richard LeCounte in 2021 NFL Draft

Richard LeCounte was Kirby Smart’s first public commitment after he took over as the head coach of the Georgia football program.

LeCounte will be heading to the Cleveland Browns after he was taken in the 5th round with the No. 169 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

LeCounte was the seventh Bulldog taken in the draft and the third member of the Georgia 2020 secondary to be taken in this year’s draft.

After arriving at Georgia as a 5-star prospect, LeCounte developed into a leader and three-year starter for Georgia at the safety position.

LeCounte was in the midst of a great season before suffering season-ending injuries in a traffic accident on Oct. 31 following Georgia’s 14-3 win over Kentucky.

Georgia was able to get LeCounte back out there for one last play, which clearly meant a lot to both the safety and Smart as well.

“His story was very special,” Smart said of LeCounte on Georgia’s pro day. “There were a few minutes there where I didn’t know what had happened, and that was a scary moment. It makes you realize that there is a lot more to life than football.”

Injuries still seemed to be hampering LeCounte at his pro day, as he ran a 4.76 40-yard dash.

“I definitely could have done better, there’s always room for improvement, but I think I lit it up in the drills and did what I had to do there,” LeCounte said after his workout.

If LeCounte is able to return to pre-injury form, he brings a ton of potential as a playmaking safety. In just five games last season, LeCounte came down with three interceptions, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

ESPN’s Louis Riddick praised his ability to be a deep-field safety. Todd McShay called LeCounte the Alpha-Dog and leader of the defense. Kiper said the 40-yard dash time cost him the ability to be a second or third-round pick.

LeCounte also improved as a run defender throughout the course of his Georgia career, even if he is not the biggest safety at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds.