Browns draft Gophers’ Lehan in 5th round

Brian Stensaas

Minnesota senior cornerback Mike Lehan waited anxiously for his phone to ring good news from an NFL team all Saturday. And on Sunday, it finally did.

With the 152nd overall pick in this year’s draft, the Cleveland Browns selected the six-foot, 185-pound Hopkins native in the fifth round.

The Browns were one of the teams Lehan met with following Minnesota’s 29-14 win over Arkansas in the Music City Bowl. Lehan had a stellar showing in his final college game, picking off two passes and recording a season-high seven tackles.

Lehan is the 12th Minnesota player to be drafted since coach Glen Mason took the reins in 1997. Also, the Gophers have now had a player drafted in five of the past six seasons.

Lehan said he feels capable of being an NFL cornerback – rather than a safety – and though he hoped to be drafted higher, he feels fortunate to be given a chance.

“It’s not where you begin, it’s where you end,” he said. “In a few years, I hopefully won’t even remember that I was drafted in the fifth round. I just want to make the team and play.”

Lehan, who is slated to graduate in May, will travel to Cleveland on Thursday and attend the Browns’ mini-camp through the weekend.

Meanwhile, Lehan said teammate Antoine Burns was picked up as an undrafted free agent by Cleveland and fellow Gopher Jermaine Mays was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings.