Garrett, Watson, and some LBs : Sporting News Mock for Browns

(Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Trash the mocks you have read until now. With the NFL Combine and the start of NFL free agency behind us, the mocks from even just a week ago have been altered drastically. Team needs and even some evaluations of draft prospects has changed, so it is time for the mocks to change with them. The Sporting News’ Eric Galko’s mock draft was updated Monday night to adjust for these shifts.

The Cleveland Browns were able to revamp their offensive line and sign wide receiver Kenny Britt, while losing wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to the Washington Redskins. So, any relevant mock should take these signings into account.

The Picks:

No. 1 DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

The Browns will be drafting Myles Garrett or trading down to a team searching for a quarterback. Garrett can help rebuild the Browns’ defense.

If it were possible for the Browns to select Garrett as the top overall pick right now so that he could start working out in the Browns facilities and get to know the team more, I think the Browns would do it. But, unfortunately, he cannot be officially named the No. 1 pick until April 27. After the defensive end showed just how much of a freak he is at the NFL Combine, Garrett all but locked up the No. 1 pick by the Browns, if he hadn’t already.

No. 12 QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson

The Browns may have to move up to get Deshaun Watson if he is, in fact, their target. Watson impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine in interviews, and all but assured himself a top-15 pick.

Unlike in years past, NFL Draft experts are having a hard time declaring who the best quarterback is in the draft. Is it Clemson’s Deshaun Watson? North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky? Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer? Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes? Experts cannot determine a consensus top quarterback come April. Each of them have reasons why they could be the best one, but all four also have reasons why they aren’t as well.

Galko believes Watson will be selected by the Browns and the second quarterback off the board, behind only Trubisky (Bills at No. 10) and just ahead of Mahomes (Cardinals at No. 13). Along with being inconsistent at times, Watson’s arm strength could be his biggest deficiency. At the combine, his fast ball thrown was 49 miles per hour. How bad is that? Current Browns quarterback Cody Kessler, who isn’t known for his arm strength or throwing the deep ball, threw 55 miles per hour at the 2016 Combine. In fact, the difference between Watson and Mahomes (60 miles per hour) is the same as between an 83 mile per hour fastball and one clocking in at 100 miles per hour.

No. 33 LB Haason Reddick, Temple

According to both Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller (lists Reddick at No. 20 on Big Board) and CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler (No. 11 on Big Board), nabbing a guy like Reddick at 33 would be a steal. Considered the second-best linebacker and top weak-side linebacker in the draft, he would solidify the Browns’ linebacking corps for the foreseeable future, joining Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins.

Although he was under-sized for the positions he played for Temple, his athleticism makes up for it. He has the explosiveness and quickness to lock-on to opposing players, whether they have the ball out of the backfield or in coverage. Reddick not only worked as a linebacker at Temple, but also lined up at defensive end. He should be a weakside linebacker with abilities to both rush the quarterback or drop into coverage in Greg William’s defense. Considering he came into college as a cornerback and was a safety (and running back) in high school, the linebacker has experience at all three levels on defense.

No. 50 LB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

Well, looks like Galko wants the Browns to load up at linebacker, even though two of the best players on the team’s defense are already taking up two linebacking spots. Like Reddick, McKinley doesn’t have ideal size at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds if the Browns want to put him on the line of scrimmage, but he has the athletic ability to make up for it. He also seems to have the relentless effort and work ethic on the field to always get better.

Projected to be a first round pick by many prior to the Combine, he will have shoulder surgery, which could possibly make him miss training camp, hence the reason why he has fallen on many draft boards.

Miller believes he is the best 3-4 outside linebacker, if new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams decides to use that front defensively.

Last word

The draft is loaded with talent all over the field on defense. With the way the Browns secondary struggled for much of 2016, they can improve immensely this off-season in the draft alone. Whether it’s in the front-seven or secondary, there are plenty of players in the upcoming draft that will not only fill holes, but be upgrades for the Browns.

That said, if Watson is head coach Hue Jackson’s guy, they should get him at No. 12. They need to find their franchise quarterback sooner rather than later, so if Jackson believes that Watson is the quarterback of the future, there is no pick in the draft that is “too high” to select him if you’re the Browns.

With so many picks and so much talent in the draft, the Browns must hit on the majority of their picks. They can ill afford to miss on many picks, unlike they have over the years. So far this off-season, the front office has done a good job at improving the team in free agency, now it’s time to see what they can do in the draft.