While former Washington State Cougars standout linebacker Peyton Pelluer didn’t hear his name called at the 2019 NFL Draft, he will get a chance to continue his football career with the Cleveland Browns. According to Cougfan.com, Pelluer will try to earn a roster spot at Cleveland’s rookie minicamp next week, a move Pelluer appeared to confirm with this tweet.
This is different than signing a UDFA contract, a la James Williams, as Pelluer receives no signing bonus and isn’t guaranteed a spot on the offseason 90-man roster. Pelluer has to impress the Cleveland coaches enough that they offer him a free agent contract.
Cougfan notes that the Browns’ new defensive line coach is Tosh Lupoi, who is married to Pelluer’s sister and offered Pelluer a spot as a grad transfer with the Alabama Crimson Tide a year ago.
After a broken foot truncated what was supposed to be his senior season in 2017, the NCAA granted Pelluer a sixth year of eligibility, and he made the most of his additional season. Pelluer was the clear leader and anchor of WSU’s defense as he led the team in tackles (98), tied for the team lead in both tackles-for-loss (10.5) and sacks (4.5), and forced two fumbles.
One of those forced fumbles came at a crucial point in the Alamo Bowl, and also led to a recovery. With WSU clinging to a 21-20, fourth quarter lead, Pelluer met Iowa State running back David Montgomery, stood him up, and took the ball away, setting up the Cougar offense at the Iowa State 30 yard line. Three plays later, Max Borghi was in the end zone with what proved to be WSU’s winning touchdown.
That touchdown and the win that resulted might not happen without Pelluer’s critical play. Just like how WSU probably doesn’t beat Boise State in 2017 without Pelluer’s interception and touchdown, which gave the Cougs legitimate hope. The three-time all-Pac-12 Honorable Mention linebacker ends his career with 351 tackles (202 solo), 35 tackles-for-loss, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
There are other plays Pelluer made throughout his WSU career that were either game-changing or game-saving, and hopefully he gets a legitimate chance to make those kinds of plays for the Browns or another NFL team. Like any free agent, Pelluer will almost certainly need to excel on special teams if he wants to stick on a roster. I have no doubt he will pour every ounce of effort into doing just that.
Best of luck in Cleveland, Peyton.