The Cleveland Browns had one heck of a busy day on Thursday, selecting three players in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns started out the day with the most obvious choice at No. 1, selecting defensive lineman Myles Garrett of Texas A&M. The Browns then made a pair of trades that netted a 2018 first round pick, safety Jabrill Peppers of Michigan and tight end David Njoku of Miami (FL).
Cleveland entertained the football world with the active day. But, the 2017 NFL Draft is far from over. The Browns still have two picks on Day 2, (No. 52 of the second round and No. 65 of the third round), and five picks on Day 3 (three fifth round picks and two sixth round picks). And there is still a lot of talent left on the board. So with that, let’s take a look at some of the top talent that could be good fits for the Cleveland Browns.
Joe Gilbert’s 2017 NFL Draft Coverage: Safeties, Cornerbacks, Inside Linebackers, Edge Rushers, Interior Defensive Linemen, Interior Offensive Linemen, Offensive Tackles, Tight Ends, Wide Receivers, Running Backs, Quarterbacks, Big Board, Mock Draft
RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Dalvin Cook is my top running back and the No. 10 overall player on my big board. Cook is a back with great elusiveness and big play ability that can really change a game. He is a versatile player with the ability to impact the run game and pass game. He probably fell to Day 2 because of health and off field concerns. But on Day 2, he is a great value. The Browns may bot have a huge need for a running back, but his value may be too hard to pass up.
IOL Forrest Lamp, Western Michigan
Forrest Lamp is my No. 1 offensive lineman and the No. 13 overall player on my big board. Lamp is a really good athlete with the feet that teams love to have in their offensive lineman. He is a player with versatility to play multiple positions on the offensive line. His drop is surprising given the lack of talent in the offensive line group. I am not sure he is really a player the Browns would target, given their lack of need on the line, but his value is something to consider on Day 2.
S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Obi Melifonwu is my No. 3 safety in the draft and the No. 19 overall player on my big board. Melifonwu is a freak athlete with the ability to play both safety positions. He plays sideline to sideline with the size to really set a tone in the run game. I was shocked that he fell out of the first round, given his athleticism and upside. The Browns took Jabrill Peppers already, but the Browns need more help in the secondary, so the Connecticut safety is still a possible target for Cleveland.
ILB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
Zach Cunningham is my No. 2 inside linebacker and the No. 20 overall player on my big board. Cunningham is a good athlete with the ability to play sideline to sideline. His ability to cover receivers, tight ends and running backs is also a huge asset for him. There were multiple inside linebackers, Haason Reddick and Jarrad Davis, who I would not have taken over the Vanderbilt linebacker. The Browns need a third inside linebacker to go alongside Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey, so he is a fit for the Browns.
CB Teez Tabor, Florida
Teez Tabor is my No. 2 cornerback and the No. 24 overall player on my big board. Tabor is a player I am higher on than most people. He is a corner with good size, along with the movement skills to fluidly move around and cover all over the field. His fall is not a big shock because of his lack of great athletic testing. The Browns need cornerbacks, so Tabor may be the answer for them.
DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State
Malik McDowell is my No. 2 interior defensive lineman and the No. 25 player on my big board. McDowell is a unique defensive lineman with the rare combination of length and athleticism. He may be one of the highest upside players at the position. But, his production consistency and other concerns probably pushed him to Day 2. The Browns could use the versatile defensive lineman to find help next to Danny Shelton.
S Budda Baker, Washington
Budda Baker is my No. 5 safety in the 2017 NFL Draft. Baker has the range and athleticism to be a free safety or nickel corner in the league. His athleticism allows him to cover all types of receivers, allowing him to play in man and zone coverage. But, he is hurt by his lack of size, likely causing the fall to Day 2. The Browns still need more help in the secondary and so Baker’s versatility to be a free safety or nickel corner should be appealing to Cleveland.
EDGE Tim Williams, Alabama
Tim Williams is my No. 5 edge rusher in the 2017 NFL Draft. Williams is a pass rushing machine who can immediately come in and help a team’s pass rush. He is very athletic with the burst to blow past any offensive tackle. He probably fell to Day 2 because of a lack of run defense skills, making him a limited down defender. The Browns could definitely upgrade the pass rush more and Williams would be a great pick for that.
DL Caleb Brantley, Florida
Caleb Brantley is my No. 3 rated interior defensive lineman in the 2017 NFL Draft. Brantley has good size for the interior line with quickness to burst up field. His hands and strength are assets for him, allowing him to control the line of scrimmage. He is still available on Day 2 because of an arrest during his pre-draft process. The Browns are in need of defensive lineman, so Brantley could definitely aid this need.
DL Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte
Larry Ogunjobi is my No. 4 interior defensive lineman in the 2017 NFL Draft. Ogunjobi has one of the highest upsides of all the interior defensive linemen. His combination of athleticism and strength really is a great combo for a player in the trenches. He was most likely going to be a Day 2 player, so him being on the board is not a shock. Ogunjobi is a perfect fit for the Browns, filling in the hole at the three technique on the defensive line.
WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
Cooper Kupp is my No. 4 rated wide receiver in the 2017 NFL Draft. Kupp is a highly productive college receiver, who has good athleticism and size. His hands are strong with the ability to make tough catches through contact. He was expected to be a Day 2 pick, so no surprise he is still available. The Browns need a bigger receiver to replace the loss of Terrelle Pryor, so Kupp could be a good replacement.
CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
Chidobe Awuzie is a versatile defender who can play multiple positions in the defensive secondary. His ability to stay with receivers all over the field is one of his top skills, using good feet and athleticism to stay attached to the receiver. He has good size for the position. The former Colorado star was expected to be picked late first, early second, so his availability is not a huge surprise. The Browns need corners and Awuzie could be the answer.
QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
DeShone Kizer is my No. 4 rated quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. He may have the highest upside of all the quarterbacks in the draft, including the ones already selected. His arm strength, size and athleticism are on a level most quarterbacks do not have. But, he is still available because of a lackluster 2016 college season. The Browns need a quarterback and so the team could look to take a chance on Kizer to develop elite skill set.
Other Notable Names: CB Sidney Jones, Washington; CB Quincy Wilson, Florida; S Marcus Williams, Utah; ILB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State; EDGE Carl Lawson, Auburn; DL Montravius Adams, Auburn; WR Zay Jones, East Carolina; WR Juju Smith-Schuster, Ohio State; RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma; RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo; QB Davis Webb, California