Browns, NFL Draft

Playmaker focus: WFNY Mock NFL Draft Strategies

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Cleveland Browns have been watching the team bomb the NFL Draft since 1999. Last week’s strategy session felt too real. Too many of the obvious traps were demonstrated from over-thinking selections to passing up the BPA to grasping onto the player who has way too much buzz for what transpired on the field of play. Even the Lance Zierlein mock highlighted earlier this week was better. Leonard Fournette has major concerns with his ankle, but he can be a fun player if he overcomes it.

A snap back of positivity is required here. So, let’s have some fun. Let’s focus on what the Browns draft would look like if they took a whole slew of skill position players early. Playmakers only today at WFNY.

The Rules

  • No trades unless the strategy is specifically geared around trades.
  • Demonstrate multiple options at each pick within the confines of the strategy.
  • Use a MSM Big Board to demonstrate feasibility of picks.
  • Select picks at the Browns four picks in Round 1 and Round 2.

The Draft Strategy

The Browns can only focus on drafting skill position players in the draft if they take care of some obvious holes during the free agency period. The team is in a precarious position as having a ton of cap room is nice but selling a one-win team is still difficult. Leveraging players who know the coaching staff might be the way to go if there are such players worth pursuing. Thankfully, there are quite a few.

As noted, there are four offensive line positions up for grabs with Joel Bitonio having an uncertain 2017 recovering from Lisfranc surgery and John Greco likely to miss most (or all) of the year with the same. The Browns have some potential internal options, but they must sign a minimum of two potential starters on the line. The good news is that Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting the Bengals are not expected to retain soon-to-be 27 year old offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, who Hue Jackson coached in his time with the team.

Another position to fill is obviously quarterback as many do not believe Robert Griffin III should see any more snaps, and opinions are varied on Cody Kessler. Here is where signing David Lee to be the quarterback coach can come in handy as he was high on Tyrod Taylor from their time together with the Buffalo Bills. Vic Carucci is reporting Taylor is refusing to restructure his deal, which might indicate he seeks out of Buffalo.

Now, if the Browns can find a 3-technique defensive tackle such as Dominique Easley who defensive coordinator Gregg Williams coached with the Los Angeles Rams, then they will be in business for this strategy.

The Picks

CBS Big Board is utilized for the purposes of these selections.

No. 1 Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Myles Garrett is not only the obvious best player in the 2017 NFL Draft, but he also doubles as the biggest playmaker. He is a player who can create havoc in the backfield with tackles for loss, quarterback hurries, and sacks. The damage he does can also setup other playmakers to take advantage of hurried throws.

No. 12 O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Browns have a history of playmaking tight ends out of Alabama. While Howard might not be the Wizard, he is a special talent that can both block and catch passes. The Browns do have Gary Barnidge, but his poor blocking skills have led to formation issues for the Browns. The ability to have Barnidge and Howard on the field though opens up opportunities for Jackson to squeeze the most out of this offense.

Another option would be to add Corey Davis to the fold as he is the best wide receiver. A trio of Pryor, Coleman, and Davis could prove incredibly difficult to cover.

Other players for consideration
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Jabrill Peppers, S-LB, Michigan
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

No. 33 Marcus Williams, FS, Utah
The complete absence of a true ballhawking free safety on the Browns since Felix Wright would have many giddy over the prospects of watching Williams work. He has the speed, instincts, and ability to cause the havoc deep while Garrett causes it behind the LOS. Williams missed two games in 2016 but still managed to intercept five passes and force two fumbles, which was consistent with his turnover production the prior two seasons. He is a bit under-sized, but a fantastic talent and willing tackler.

Other players for consideration
TraDavius White, CB, LSU

No. 52 Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
Either Myles Garrett or Jabrill Peppers is the best overall athlete in the draft, but Jackson is not too far behind. USC used him everywhere. At receiver, running back, returning kick-offs, punts, and as a cornerback. While he gave up too many big plays, he also broke up double-digit passes and had five interceptions of his own. His athletic skillset is world-class and some refining could make him a lethal addition to the defensive backfield.

Don’t sleep on the Browns picking up a receiver-running combo player to use as an H-Back and in the slot. If they do, then Jackson’s teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster, or Buckeye Curtis Samuel make a whole mess of sense here.

Other players for consideration
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
Curtis Samuel, RB-WR, Ohio State
Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo

Last Word

  • No. 1 Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
  • No. 12 O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
  • No. 33 Marcus Williams, FS, Utah
  • No. 52 Adoree Jackson, CB, USC

The playmaker strategy is one for the bold. The athletic upside players with explosion often are paired by having the most risk as people remembering Barkevious Mingo and Justin Gilbert can explain. However, there is a reason that the potential is so incredible. The players that hit can change the fortunes of games, seasons, and even franchises. It is about time the Browns had some elite playmakers of their own and these guys might just fit that need.

Other mock draft strategy sessions from WFNY

  • NankirPhelge

    On behalf of the Society for the Appreciation and Remembrance of Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin (1790-1847), a French surgeon during the Napoleonic Wars who originally described the fracture of the forefoot with displacement of the lateral four metatarsal bones and disruption of the intermetatarsal ligament, I am dismayed that you did not capitalize Lisfranc.

    Pistols at dawn.

    (Sorry. Feeling unserious and playful today.)

  • RGB

    Playmaker strategy = ignone O-line. Ok…

    1. There is only MYLES.
    12. Jabril Peppers. I believe OJ made his name with big performances in two games against Clemson.
    33. DeMarcus Walker. I had a hard time passing on Dede Westbrook, here.
    52. Budda Baker. But, his size at safety screams Bob Sanders.

  • mgbode

    You are correct. And, when you are correct, you are correct. So, a correction must be made to note the correctness of the corrected item.

  • BenRM

    I am not a fan of drafting any TE that highly. To me, it’s sort of like RB – they are kind of a dime a dozen, and you only grab them that high if they are crazy special.

  • RGB

    NE, who has arguably the best TE in the league, did just fine without him.

  • mgbode

    Fair though finding the talented ones that can both block and catch is tougher than I think is given credit. I also think Howard has a chance to be special.

    I wouldn’t complain if Corey Davis is the pick there instead though.

  • scripty

    To do this exercise – am I assuming QB is a skill position – and in this exercise – has it been filled in free agency?

  • BenRM

    I think Howard will probably be a pretty great TE, but I’m not sure if you’re maximizing your assets taking him at 12.

  • mgbode

    I see that argument. It is fair, but focusing on adding the most playmaking juice into the team, I thought he’d give more than Howard. If Howard ends up being what I think he will, then it’d be worth it.

  • mgbode

    My draft strategy had us signing Tyrod Taylor in FA. You can choose to do differently, sure.

  • tigersbrowns2

    Excellent post … LMFAO !!

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi RGB … Walker & Baker were not options in their category … you are not allowed to think outside-the-box … *smile*

  • tigersbrowns2

    McCaffrey at #12 overall … i see him going late 1st round , or he’ll be there when the Browns pick at #33.

    sticking to the options :
    1 – Garrett
    12 – Peppers
    33 – M.Williams
    52 – Samuel

  • tigersbrowns2

    … #12 was hard. i like Howard , but S needs to be addressed … got 2 of them with Peppers & Williams.

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2
  • BenRM

    Reasonable. In my mind, I sort of want to go defense defense with 1 & 2. But I suppose a lot of that depends on if some of the stud saftey/cbs are available at 12.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi BEN … me too … defense & defense … or defense & O-line

  • mgbode

    defense is the strength of this draft, no doubt.

  • BenRM

    I think OLine is one of the only weaknesses in this draft. Or at least that’s what I’ve read.

  • mgbode

    QB – no top talent, huge dropoff after Top 4 (who are Tier-2)
    OL – agreed, weak interior and tackles
    OLB – not a great group
    WR – sort of sketch as well outside a few guys though it’s tough to pigeon-hole a position that often has some surprises (i.e. QBs affect them a ton both in college and NFL)

  • mgbode

    I have given no such bounds. I only noted who I felt were the best options given the parameters.

  • mgbode

    12 has been the most difficult spot for all of these mocks. It is a fulcrum position in this draft.

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