Browns, NFL Draft

How I did predicting the 2017 NFL Draft

The Cleveland Browns had an active three days during the 2017 NFL Draft, selecting 10 new players and making four trades. The Browns were able to take a step forward during the three-day event, adding some players who could be the building blocks of the franchise. But with that, the draft was an unpredictable event, even more than usual, making the results hard to forecast beforehand. But, I bravely did (OK not that brave), giving ten bold predictions for what the Browns would do during the 2017 NFL Draft, along with a first round and Browns entire mock draft. Some of the predictions were flat out wrong, some were right on and some had a snippet of being right, making it half right. So toady, let’s go back and see what I was correct about and what I was flat out wrong about for the Browns 2017 NFL Draft and my performance in the mock draft.

1. This may not be that bold or close to a leap of faith, but the Browns will draft edge rusher Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick.

This was the easiest prediction, even though there were a lot of rumors in the days before the draft that had the Browns thinking of taking quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 1 pick. But, the Browns stuck to their plan and nabbed the best overall player in the draft, Myles Garrett. He is a player with game changing ability who can really transform the defense with his talent. The defense now has someone you have to gameplan for and worry about on every play. The Browns made the right pick and did not overthink it.

Verdict: Correct

2. The Browns will select a quarterback in the first round, either Mitchell Trubisky or Patrick Mahomes.

This prediction was wrong and I was fine with being wrong. Mitchell Trubisky was taken way too early at No. 2, while the Kansas City Chiefs moved up to No. 10 to nab Patrick Mahomes, my No. 1 rated quarterback. I probably would have traded up for Mahomes, but I liked that the Browns let the board come to them and they did not panic to find their quarterback. Deshaun Watson was there at No. 12, but I thought that would have been too high for him and the Browns thought the same. This approach of the letting the board fall to them worked out for Cleveland. The Browns were able to land DeShone Kizer, my No. 4 rated quarterback, by standing pat and letting him fall to them in the second round at pick No. 52. Kizer has one of the highest upsides in the draft, so getting him at No. 52 was good value.

Verdict: Wrong

3. The Browns will use the 2017 NFL Draft to heavily address their defense. The Browns will use 75% of their picks on the defensive side of the ball.

This one surprised me. With the strength of the 2017 NFL Draft being on the defensive side of the ball, I thought the Browns would really focus on adding as much pieces as they could. But, the Browns actually had a balanced draft, selecting five defenders, four offensive players and one special teams player. The Browns did focus on the defense more in the early rounds, selecting four of the five defenders in their first six picks of the draft, in rounds one through four. So, the Browns did go heavy on defense early on in the draft, but overall they did not focus as heavily on defense as I thought they would. But, that is not a bad thing, because that likely means the Browns went by the board rather than need.

Verdict: Wrong

4. The Browns will pick cornerbacks like they did with receivers in last year’s draft. The position will be selected multiple times throughout the draft. The team will come out of the event with at least three new cornerbacks to add to their depth chart.

This is another surprising result. With such a deep class of cornerbacks, I thought the Browns would be selecting a handful of corners throughout the seven rounds. But, the Browns ended up just selecting one cornerback in the draft. With the Browns cornerbacks unit being one of the weaker units on the team, the Browns needed to upgrade the position. I thought taking one cornerback was not enough to address this weakness. The Browns had an opportunity to really supply the position with multiple young players, but the Browns chose just one corner and that was in round four on Day 3. Cleveland should have addressed the unit more. Yes, you cannot fix every hole on the team in one draft, but this draft’s strength was the secondary and the Browns had chances to add more corners than they did.

Verdict: Wrong

5. The Browns will not be picking from either of their current spots in the second round, No. 33 and No. 52.

I was partially right on this prediction. The Browns did not select from No. 33 after trading the pick in the trade up to No. 29 with the Green Bay Packers to select tight end David Njoku. But, the Browns did stay at No. 52 where they chose quarterback DeShone Kizer. I liked how the Browns used the second round picks. They were aggressive to move up and get a talented tight end, who was my No. 2 rated tight end and was a huge value at time of the first round. Then, the Browns were patient, staying at No. 52 and getting rewarded with Kizer falling into their laps.

Verdict: Partially Correct

6. The Browns will trade a veteran during the three day event.

I was partially right on this prediction, too. The Browns did not trade a veteran during the 2017 NFL Draft, but they did release a big name veteran in tight end Gary Barnidge. After selecting tight end David Njoku in the first round, the Browns decided to release Barnidge. Cleveland released Barnidge to pave the way for more playing time for both Njoku and second year tight end Seth DeValve. Barnidge definitely declined last season after his breakout 2015 season, but I thought the team could have held onto Barnidge for one more year to mentor the young tight ends unit.

Verdict: Sort of Correct

7. With one of their first four selections, the Browns will add a safety. The leading candidates will be Budda Baker, Jabrill Peppers or Obi Melifonwu. The Browns will not take either Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker because both players will be gone before the Browns pick at No. 12 in the first round.

This was one of the easier predictions for me to make because of the great need the team had at the safety position and the strong class of safeties the 2017 NFL Draft had. After trading down to pick No. 25 in the first round, the Browns chose safety Jabrill Peppers with their second first round pick. The Browns had a chance to get Malik Hooker at No. 12, but they thought moving down and getting a 2018 first round pick was too much to pass up. I was OK with the trade down, but I probably would have taken Hooker at No. 12. But, I do like how the trade down turned out. The Browns were able to still get my No. 4 safety, Jabrill Peppers, at No. 25 along with the 2018 first round pick. I like the value the team got with that package. Also, after studying Peppers more and seeing his personality, I am liking him even more and I think he has the makeup to be a leader on the defense, which has been devoid of one for quite a while.

Verdict: Correct

8. The Browns will not select one offensive linemen in the entire draft.

I was wrong about this prediction, but I like the Browns pick in round five, selecting my No. 5 rated offensive tackle, Roderick Johnson. I thought this was great value for the Browns, picking a tackle who has the size and athleticism that makes him a player with upside to develop into a starting left tackle, in my opinion. Yes, the Browns are pretty set on the offensive line, but teams can never have enough depth on the line. Johnson is a nice developmental tackle to chance on in the fifth round.

Verdict: Wrong

9. With their first four picks of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Browns will draft an edge rusher (Myles Garrett), a quarterback (Patrick Mahomes or Mitchell Trubisky), a safety (Budda Baker, Jabrill Peppers or Obi Melifonwu) and a cornerback (Marlon Humphrey, Gareon Conley, Tre’Davious White or Teez Tabor).

I was partially right on this prediction. The Browns selected an edge rusher with their first pick (Myles Garrett), a safety with their second pick (Jabrill Peppers) and a quarterback with their fourth pick (DeShone Kizer). I was wrong on what quarterback they would select and I was wrong saying they would pick a cornerback. The Browns picked tight end David Njoku with their third pick of the draft. As I said the Browns should selected more corners in the draft, so that position not coming in the first four picks surprised me. But, I really like the pick of Njoku, giving the Browns a real playmaker on offense with what seems unlimited upside.

Verdict: Partially Correct

10. The Browns will make four trades during the 2017 NFL Draft. One of them will be in the first round, while another one will be in the second round.

This is the one I am most proud of all the predictions. The Browns made four trades during the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns traded down in the first and then traded their No. 33 pick to move up in the first round. The Browns made two more trades over the course of the draft to give them four total trades. I gave myself a correct verdict on this one because the Browns did trade a second rounder, it just happened on Day 1. The Browns continued their active trading style, continuing off last year’s multiple trade draft. I really like how the Browns use all options available, choosing the best course of action based on value, whether that’s making a pick or trading out of the pick.

Verdict: Correct

Results

Wrong- 4
Correct- 3
Partially Correct- 2
Sort of Correct- 1

Mock Draft Results

First Round Correct Picks: 3
First Round Correct Player/Team Matches (wrong pick location): 3
Correct Browns Picks: 2
Players correctly predicted to go in first round: 24