BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms on a contract with cornerback Pierre Desir, one of their six picks from the 2014 NFL Draft, the team announced Thursday morning.
After choosing offensive players with two of their three picks in the second and third rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Browns spent their fourth-round selection (No. 127 overall) on Desir, a product of Lindenwood University.
Desir, a 6-foot-2, 206-pound cornerback, earned the Cliff Harris Award, which is given annually to the top small-college defensive player, as well as invitations to both the 2014 Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game after he registered 33 tackles, 27 of which were solo stops, defended eight passes and intercepted four others in 2013.
"As a football player, I'm a playmaker," Desir said in a conference call with the Cleveland media after the draft. "I'm a student of the game. I always come in and work hard, on and off the field, and do whatever I can for the success of the team.
"What helped me was to watch how the receivers played, watch a lot of film. I give a lot of credit to the coaches and my teammates for allowing me to be put in a situation to make plays. I just studied the game, listened to what my coaches told me and made plays when the opportunities came."
A three-time NCAA Division II All-American and four-time All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association honoree, Desir ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, had a 1.63-second time at 10 yards and possessed a nearly 78-inch wingspan in pre-draft workouts.
After finishing second among all levels of NCAA football with nine interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, Desir was a 2012 American Football Coaches Association All-American, the first-ever Lindenwood player to earn that honor.
Combined between his career at Lindenwood and Washburn University, Desir intercepted 25 passes, which he returned for 305 yards and two touchdowns. He also averaged 23.22 yards on 27 kickoff returns.
"Desir is long, athletic and he makes plays on the ball, so when you pop on the tape, does he separate himself from the other guys, and this guy consistently did that," Browns scout Bobby Vega said. "One way to project a guy is how he plays against better competition. Another way is the degree of separation from the rest of the competition. This guy consistently did that.
"When you're playing cornerback, you've got to not only be able to stay with a receiver, but be able to locate the ball, and his ability to track the ball in the air, he's a long guy, so he can outreach certain receivers. He was able to put it all together. Those are the things that excite you about the guy. When there was a chance to make a play on the ball, he succeeded."
Fellow Browns scout Chisom Opara said the team felt comfortable drafting Desir out of a small college because of the way he played on the all-star game circuit.
"He went to the East-West Game, where he was able to play up against people, and he was good enough in that environment to earn a promotion to the Senior Bowl, where he was able to match up against even better competition," Opara said. "As the process unfolded, this guy checked off a lot of boxes for the questions you may have from a small-school kid."