2013 NFL Draft: Weak draft? Fits for Browns at No. 6

Bjoern WernerThe NFL Combine is well underway this weekend. We’ve already had our usual pair of incredibly impressive speedsters (West Virginia’s Tavon Austin and Texas’ Marquise Goodwin) and plenty of updates from the Cleveland media.

But as all of these measurements and assessments take place, it begs the question: What is going on with this draft class? I’ve been monitoring draft boards for a monthly update at WFNY for a while now: November, December and January. It might just be or it might just be these sites, but there seems to be a whole heck of a lot of back-and-forth movement among the top 15 picks or so.

The Cleveland Browns own the No. 6 pick. They have a new owner, new front office and new stadium deal heading into 2013. Yet for now, there has been no consensus emerging over possible favorites for their selection. Is this yet another sign of a weak draft class with no can’t-miss prospects?

Let’s take a look again at what some big boards say, share some of the latest Cleveland draft updates and then look into various ways we can find what will fit for the Browns at No. 6.

For the third time out of four updates, my aggregate big board rankings this month will be simply an average of these four different sites: Scouts Inc., Mel Kiper at ESPN, Walter Football and CBS Sports’

This time, I’m only sharing what worked out to be the relatively consensus top 12 among these four big boards. There’s lots of movement again from last time, with two players not previously in the top 15 joining the fold (Floyd and Vaccaro), and two from the top 10 last time dropping out entirely (Te’o and Ogletree).

Here’s the latest update:



You can clearly to see the continued big board volatility, especially in the monthly rankings of guys such as Bjoern Werner, Eric Fisher, Chance Warmack, Jarvis Jones and the newcomers.

The position (clearly fluid based on system and fit) breakdown of these top 12 players is as follows:

2 OT (#1 Joeckel, #6 Fisher)
3 DT (#2 Loutulelei, #9 Floyd, #10 Richardson)
3 DE (#3 Werner, #5 Moore, #11 Mingo)
1 CB (#4 Milliner)
1 OG (#7 Warmack)
1 OLB (#8 Jones)
1 S (#12 Vaccaro)

The most difficult aspect of this draft, regardless of overall strength or depth, is the fact that there is no clear indication what the Kansas City Chiefs might do at No. 1. A franchise desperate for a threat at QB, there is likely no passer worthy of a top 5 pick in this draft. So that throws a wrench into the usual plans for a top selection, thus leaving the door open for more confusion at the next few picks all the way on down to No. 6.

Going more in-depth with the latest Cleveland reports, here are some of the many storylines we’ve seen over the past few days at the combine:

—- MLB Manti Te’o (highest ranking: #14 by Kiper) won over the crowd at the combine on Saturday. His heartfelt interview was a turning point in media coverage toward the former Notre Dame star. It still remains unlikely that this positive trend will bring him to the top 10 of the draft, but it’s definitely a good start.

—- OLB Dion Jordan (highest ranking #9 by Kiper) is out for 3-4 months following shoulder surgery. Yet, earlier in the week, the Oregon product shared that he is getting the majority of interest from 3-4 defenses. He might be a reach at No. 6 following this injury news, but there likely will be some team shortly after the Browns that takes the risk here.

—- Rumors indicated this weekend that up to a dozen teams have taken OLB Jarvis Jones (#8 consensus ranking) completely off their big board due to his spinal stenosis condition. Dropping from the consensus No. 1 pick in November to now possibly not going in the top 10, this has been a huge injury tumble for the former Georgia star.

—- Off-the-field issues continue to hurt fellow Georgia defensive star OLB Alec Ogletree (highest ranking: #12 by ESPN and WF). He has apologized profusely for his recent DUI charge and some analysts are saying he is the better Te’o as he could actually serve as a more proficient MLB in the NFL. We’ll see if he can climb back into the top 10.

—- The unsung hero of the combine? That would have to be BYU DE Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah (highest ranking: #11 by WF). I absolutely loved the Sports Illustrated profile on him from December. He’s a freakish talent but incredibly raw, so he likely wouldn’t be a good immediate-playing-time fit for the Browns. But he’s getting very favorable reviews out in Indianapolis.

—- Remember DT Johnathan Hankins? The Ohio State junior was a consensus top-5 pick back in November and December. Now? His highest big board ranking among these four is a #15 from WF. It wouldn’t be all that crazy if he drops out of the first round entirely. This has been a gigantic collapse from his previous status.

—- Just moments ago this morning, Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson ran a sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard dash. Previously, he was in competition with California WR Keenan Allen for the top wide-out billing in the draft. Patterson’s work-out in Indianapolis contrasted with Allen’s work-out decline could catapult Patterson into the top 12 (at least). Patterson’s previous high big board ranking was CBS at #19.

—- Rumors surfaced Sunday morning on Twitter that USC QB Matt Barkley (highest ranking: #18 by CBS) won’t fall past Arizona at #7. The Cardinals have been rumored to be connected to a number of QBs already this draft cycle and Barkley is just the latest. Certainly, this could give the Browns added leverage for a possible move down later into the first round.

—- Related to Cleveland’s quarterback needs, the team again made it clear they don’t have plans to go with a QB at No. 6. Florida State QB E.J. Manuel could potentially be a potential fit and there might be others still remaining in the second round (via trade) or later. For now though, it appears the Browns will simply add to the competition via free agency.

Now, let’s move on to who might be available and who might interest the Browns with the No. 6 pick in the draft in April.

More likely than not, all things being equal, these two players will be off the board in some form or another before Cleveland has a chance to select a player: OT Luke Joeckel and DT Star Loutulelei. That’s about it in terms of any guarantees based on a large sampling of mock drafts and big boards.

After that, it appears for now that DE Bjoern Werner is slightly most likely to also be off the board. Looking through mock draft databases at Walter Football, FF Toolbox, DC Pro Sports Report and more, he’s got about a 60-70% chance of going somewhere in the top-5. He’d be close to a sure-fire pick by the Browns, however, if he did indeed slide all the way down.

Just after Werner, DE Damontre Moore from Texas A&M probably has a 55-65% chance of being taken before the Browns. This just goes to show the incredible volatility of mock drafts and big boards. With Jones falling and falling, even Moore, the most accomplished pass-rusher in college football in 2012, might not necessarily go in the top 5.

Despite being ahead in the big board rankings, CB Dee Milliner from Alabama comes in fifth in the percentage likelihood rankings, with probably about 30-40% probability of going in the top 5. Would the Browns be interested in investing so heavily in another CB to solidify a formidable pass defense alongside Joe Haden? Possibly. But for now, his most likely landing spot could actually be in the 7-9 range.

In terms of Werner-Moore-Milliner, I’d expect most likely that one of those players is available at No. 6. For now, it’s probably a 35% chance all three are gone, 60% chance exactly two are gone and a 5% chance that two are remaining for the Browns to pick between.

This then leaves the door open for a large variety of other contenders for Cleveland, hence why we continue to see so many conflicting reports, rumors, mock drafts and more. Will they reach for an unproven athlete like Ansah? Does Jones’ health status not scare them as much as other teams? Would they consider an unexpected fit, such as Warmack? Or even, what about the other defensive-line prospects like Floyd, Richardson and Mingo?

There are a whole slew of angels and storylines that will continue to emerge from Indianapolis this week and other locations leading up to April 25. But now, with a more structured understanding of what the Browns might be working with, hopefully you’ll be able to align all the noise in the context of likely consideration sets at No. 6.

Photo: Ross Obley/FSU Sports Information

  • Jaker

    I love EJ Manuel, but I’m not sure if the Browns will be able to get him in the 3rd round, he’s probably a 2nd round pick. But if he does happen to fall into round 3, I think we should take him.

    At the NFL, you can’t teach Arm strength, mobility or Size, but you CAN teach field vision, decision making, ball security and intelligence. This is why I like Manuel. The things he excels in are the ones you need at the next level (strength, height, size), and the things he needs help with or seasoning with (ball security, decision making) are most definitely fixable at the NFL, IF he is given time to learn and a solid QBC, OC and HC. Thats why I think he’d be a good fit to the Browns in round 3, if he makes it there. I think if they’re patient, he can develop into the QB that Chud likes.

  • BenRM

    While I don’t disagree that he has all the raw talent in the world, as someone who has watched most of his games the last two years (my sister went to FSU, so she always has the game on) the guy just doesn’t have it upstairs.

    If you thought some of the decision making we’ve seen at the Browns QB position over the last few years was infuriating, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  • Jaker

    So far, the Browns have met with 8 guys officially. It’s still early, and I’m sure they’ve met with others that haven’t been reported, but this is just a look so far at what they might be thinking…

    Josh Hill, TE, Idaho State (EastWestGame)
    Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma (Combine)
    Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia (COM)
    Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA (COM)
    Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado (COM)
    A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State (EW)
    Will Pericak, DL, Colorado (EW)
    Brian Winters, OL, Kent State (COM)

    Personally, I like Jones if we trade down into the teens and pick up some more draft picks. Not worth the risk at 6, but could be worth it if he checks out ok with team Docs and if we get him at a bargain 10 picks later.

    I also like these three TEs, it should be known that Kasa’s coach at Colorado is now our TE coach. Im very excited for whichever TE we end up drafting/signing because we definitely have the right guys to bring them up.

  • Stew

    Jamarcus Russell.

  • Jaker

    That’s why I’d like him in round 3, where you are able to draft more risky QB selections. I haven’t seen him as much as you so I’m assuming I missed some red flags (the Florida game was discerning), but out of the QBs in this draft, he’s one of the very few I’d like to see in Berea this summer, given the appropriate selection.

  • Jaker

    “IF he is given time to learn and a solid QBC, OC and HC”

    I even capitalized the “IF”. I’m not saying he’s gunna be a stud, I’m just saying that in a weak draft class for QBs, this guy might be worth the risk of a third round pick. Also, we are talkin third round, not first overall.

  • Parker

    This early in the draft process things will be rather fluid, more fluid given the qb situation in this class. After free agency you will see more clearer needs being established. That will allow the boards to settle out. In my opinion if your browns you move down and add picks and simply take the best available on your board. Personally I like Zach dysert the qb from Miami in round 3. Has good size and a good deep ball for this offense

  • If they take a QB in the 3rd round I really hope its Nassib…I think he will be one of the better QBs out of this draft in 3-5 years

  • timmycouch

    the value of this years draft is looking to be in the 20-30 pick range….of course it is the year where it would be best to select a top 5 high impact player.

    At least the one positive in this is it seems like it is a pretty defensive heavy draft and joeckel will take up at least one of the picks ahead of us. I really like jarvis jones.

  • What qualification does Walter Football have to be included in the rankings? Ill answer for you, none. Its a fan site, guy has zero football background

  • eldaveablo

    Assuming he checks out medically, I’d take Jarvis Jones any day of the week and twice on Sunday. He’s the impact player the Browns need on defense. He is a sack machine and also racks up tackles for losses. Also, he is an ideal fit for the defense the Browns will be running – and the type of player the Browns need. Don’t over think it. The pick is Jones.

  • mgbode

    agree with you and Jaker. I think he was better in college than Ryan Mallet (another “all skills but no brain” guy). Mallet went in the 3rd. If we can get Manuel in the 3rd, then I’d like that pick.

    And, a big part of the reason I like Manuel for the Browns is because I trust Norv and Chud.

  • mgbode

    one of the other issues with Jarvis is that he’s alot older than most of the draft picks. I love his production though. If he checks out medically, then I will not be upset with having him at our selection even without a trade-down. There definitely are risks being taken at that point though.

  • mgbode

    it’s a fan site, run by a Steeler fan, who takes constant pot-shots at the Browns. I’m not saying, but I’m just saying.

  • mgbode

    Jacob, I disagree with you on Werner. He’s a 4-3 DE. That’s what I thought when I saw him and that’s what I have been reading as well. And, anyways, I don’t think he’s as good as Moore.

    My thoughts on the top10 possible guys:

    Browns won’t take because we don’t need them or they don’t fit our system at all:
    Joeckel, Fisher, Star, Floyd, Richardson, C.Patterson

    I just don’t feel the positional value warrants the pick:
    Chance Warmack

    Not good enough even if taken top10:
    Geno Smith, Mike Glennon

    Guys that are boom/bust and are impossible to get a true read on:
    Ansah, Jordan, Mingo

    My favorites for our #6 selection:
    Moore, Milliner, J.Jones(pending medical)

    My favorites after a small trade-down:
    Vaccaro, Rhodes, Mingo

  • BenRM

    I suppose I don’t mind that. As I said, his talent level is clear. I guess I would mind it a lot less if we had a 2nd round pick still.

  • BenRM

    I like Milliner based on draft position.

    I am incredibly scared of Jarvis Jones. It screams “this will not work out if he’s drafted by Cleveland. When the Patriots nab him in the 2nd round, he will be a Hall of Fame-er.”

  • JK

    My thoughts exactly concerning Jones, I’d love to have him but I just feel like if we draft him, in two years he wont be in the NFL, but if the Pats/Steelers/Ravens nab him, he’ll be killing us for years.

  • paulbip

    Warmack is the best OG to come along in the last ten years and will be all pro for the next 10 years. The browns have nobody at OG.

  • mgbode

    and yet there are some people that like Cooper (UNC) better. Not many, but a few. I just don’t like drafting OG’s top10 when you can get a guy like Vasquez in FA (and there are good OGs every year in FA it seems).

    you cannot find good pass rushers in most FA years. that is what I want the most out of the draft

  • mgbode

    I can see that. Milliner is having shoulder surgery as well, always a risk to draft a player that high coming off surgery no matter how ‘minor’

    I really want to solve CB and OG and maybe FS in FA though. Then, draft the best pass rusher available in the draft. After Moore, it’s a scary leap to figure out who the right guys is going to be (Jones only because of his injury and age, but still)

  • BenRM

    I missed that he was having shoulder surgery. Although, as far as shoulder surgery goes, it’s better for a guy like a DB to get it than a QB or front 7 type guy.

  • paulbip

    I’m the only guy that loved the Mack trade. Everybody wanted Sanchez. Richardson had absolutly no holes to run through last year. The OG run blocking had to be some of the worst in the league. I would take one of the highest rated players at his position in the last 10 years to come out of college no matter where i drafted.