Browns take Georgia’s Richard LeCounte in fifth round of NFL draft

Georgia defensive back Richard LeCounte, who was injured in a motorcycle accident earlier in the season, prepares to play Cincinnati in the NCAA college football Peach Bowl game on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Atlanta.   Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com���
Georgia defensive back Richard LeCounte, who was injured in a motorcycle accident earlier in the season, prepares to play Cincinnati in the NCAA college football Peach Bowl game on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com���

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

The Cleveland Browns drafted Georgia safety Richard LeCounte with the 169th pick in the NFL draft Saturday. The pick was the 25th in the fifth round.

LeCounte, who is from Riceboro and played at Liberty County High, entered the 2020 season with expectations for a much-earlier selection, but a motor-vehicle accident Oct. 31 left him with injuries that robbed him of most of the rest of his season and has left him needing more recovery time. The effects of injuries likely caused him to fall in the draft.

Some people close to LeCounte said he’s fully recovered, but at UGA’s Pro Day last month, LeCounte ran the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds and 4.82, an indication that he still is at 100 percent of where he was the accident. He was reported to run consistent 4.4s before signing with the Bulldogs.

“I felt good in the drills being able to get out of my breaks and being able to high-point the ball in the air,” LeCounte said at the Pro Day. “I didn’t see the official times, but good or bad, my play-tape shows what kind of player I am and how I use my speed on the field.”

As a junior in 2019, LeCounte started all 14 games for the Bulldogs and finished third in tackles, with 61. He led the SEC in fumble recoveries (3) and was second interceptions (4) last season and was off to a strong start in the five games he played this season. After his injury last season, he returned to play some in the Bulldogs’ victory against Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Earlier in the draft, cornerback Eric Stokes went to Green Bay at pick No. 29 on Thursday. Jacksonville took Tyson Campbell with the first pick of the second round (No. 33). Four other Bulldogs went Friday -- Azeez Ojulari (second round, No. 50, New York Giants), Monty Rice (third round, No. 92, Tennessee), Ben Cleveland (third round, No. 94, Baltimore) and Tre’ McKitty (third round, No. 97, San Diego).

RICHARD LeCOUNTE

Selection: 169th, Cleveland Browns

Position: Defensive back

Ht., wt.: 5-10½, 196

Eligibility: Senior

Hometown: Riceboro

High School: Liberty County

Statistically speaking: Started all 14 games as a junior and finished third on the team with 61 tackles. Led the SEC in fumble recoveries (3) and was second in interceptions (4). Opened the 2020 campaign as a preseason first-team All-American and was playing that way through first five games. Serious motorcycle accident the night after the Kentucky game sidelined him for the remainder of the season with multiple injuries. Family said he’s fully recovered.

Notable: One of coach Kirby Smart’s favorites, as evidenced by his penchant for riding him hard his first two seasons. Known as Lil’ Easy for his easy-going and joyful demeanor.

In Other News