From war-torn Haiti to Missouri to Cleveland, Pierre Desir’s path to the NFL is a one-of-a-kind journey.
The Cleveland Browns selected Desir, a cornerback from Division II Lindenwood, on Saturday in the fourth round.
Desir and his family fled Haiti when he was four, and the emigrants moved from home to home during his childhood. A soccer player who found football by accident, he became a father when he was 16, got passed over by major schools recruiting him because of poor test scores, enrolled at Washburn, transferred and then dominated at the Division II level for his Missouri college.
Along the way, he got married and had a second child. Desir and his wife, Morgan, are sweethearts from Francis Howell Central High School near St. Charles, Mo.
“It brings a lot of emotions to the draft because of my family, my wife and my daughters and everyone who’s been through this process with me,” he said on a teleconference. “It brings a lot of added emotions. We are just very excited. We can’t wait for the next step here in our lives to begin.”
Desir, who had 25 career interceptions at Lindenwood, was taken with overall No. 127 pick. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Desir is the second cornerback taken by Cleveland, which selected Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert at No. 8.
Another player from the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association was taken in the sixth round, giving the conference at least three draft picks for the second straight year. Northwest Missouri cornerback Brandon Dixon was drafted with the 195th overall pick by the New York Jets. He joined Desir and Pittsburgh State’s John Brown, a third-round pick by Arizona.
Dixon, 5-11 and 203 pounds, finished last season with 36 tackles, 11 pass breakups and an interception, earning All-America and first-team all-conference honors for the NCAA Division II champion Bearcats.Free-agent signings
• Northern Illinois defensive end Joe Windsor, a Kearney High grad, signed as an undrafted free agent with Dallas.
• Missouri State defensive lineman Anthony Grady signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent.