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Browns end with Pittman, Steptoe

Jeff Walcoff, Staff Writer

04.29.2007

The Browns closed out the 2007 NFL Draft by selecting LSU defensive linemen Chase Pittman (213th overall) and Arizona return specialist Syndric Steptoe (234th overall) in the seventh round.

Pittman, picked at 213 overall, was a4-3 defensive end during his college career, which started at the University of Texas. Pittman (6-foot-5, 273) started 25 of 26 games in his LSU career and was selected to play in the Senior Bowl in January.

During his college career he managed 71 tackles (17.5 for loss) with 11 sacks. In 2006, he recorded 27 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

"We felt he has some potential to develop into a 3-4 defensive lineman," Phil Savage said. "Many of you were around when we had Rick Lyle, who ultimately had a career in the NFL. He was likened to this kid."

Steptoe has a good chance of being the team's new punt returner to replace Dennis Northcutt, who signed with Jacksonville earlier in the offseason.

During his Wildcat career (44 games), he returned 80 kicks for 1,757 yards and 61 punt returns for 596 yards with 2 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8, 194-pound prospect also contributed heavily with 131 receptions for 1,874 yards and 6 scores.

"He'll have a chance to come in and compete for the punt return job," Savage said."We were looking for a player that might help us either win a game or not lose one. If this kid can go out and field punts cleanly, he might prevent us from losing a game, particularly in our stadium with the wind."