Auctioneers at a cattle swap could be a designation referring to the Cleveland Browns front office contingents since 1999. No matter the regime in control or the amount of talent available, the Browns most constant NFL Draft Day experience is utilizing the trade market as much as any team in the NFL.
Early trades are especially common as the Browns have traded up for Trent Richardson, Justin Gilbert, and Johnny Manziel. Trade downs are just as common as the Browns have received Alex Mack, Cameron Erving, Corey Coleman, and- oh- Justin Gilbert again among the bounty of picks received. To keep fans on their toes, sometimes the Browns even stand pat in the first round and take a Barkevious Mingo or Danny Shelton.
With all of that movement, the Browns make it impossible to pinpoint players of interest before the draft. While it is difficult enough to figure out the top 12 players, mapping out every possible draft position and the players that could or should be selected in each spot is a fool’s errand. Therefore, the plan here is to instead give an basic framework of how the Browns might utilize the draft to improve the team.1
Here are the categories that will be covered for each pick. Realize that the selections made are my own and that there will be a wide range of opinions on these players especially the deeper we get into the draft. For another opinion on where players should go, please consult WFNY Joe Gilbert’s Big Board. The first two days of the NFL draft are covered here (i.e. the first three rounds).
Go up and git ‘em: Players who will likely not be attainable at that position and will require a trade up to acquire them. Also, limiting it to players worth investing the resources to move up and only factoring in small moves from that spot.
Stay the course: Players who will likely be attainable at that position and will not require a trade up to acquire them. Also, limiting it to players worth taking at that spot.
Drop it like it’s hot: Players worth making small movement downwards in the draft to gain more resources/picks and still end up with a quality player.
Round 1, Pick 1 (1 overall)
Not applicable when your team had the worst record in the NFL and obtained the first overall selection for their troubles.
Myles Garrett is the obvious and only choice. Warren Sapp and a few other contrarians have done their best to attempt to add some intrigue. However, Garrett has the production, athleticism, character, and high-end tape. When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell steps onto the podium, he will announce “With the first selection of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns take Myles Garrett, defensive end from Texas A&M” as the camera jumps to Arlington, Texas where Garrett’s family and friends will be jumping around in celebration, while possibly exchanging their dinosaur bones for dawg bones to wave around.
There is no reason for the Browns to end up without Myles Garrett on their team. Depending on who you ask, Charles Harris, Soloman Thomas, or Derek Barnett is the next best available edge rusher, but none of them are anywhere near the player of Garrett. Nor are any of the quarterbacks- or other positions- worth the top overall pick. SB Nation’s Stephen White had the most reasoned breakdown of why he did not believe Myles Garrett should be the No. 1 overall pick, but the report read to more as a “Why Garrett is even better than you think” article. Read for yourself.
Round 1, Pick 12 (Z overall)
Despite some hopeful inferences from the San Francisco 49ers, the Browns should not give up the haul necessary to move all the way up to the No. 2 overall selection. There is, however, a potential opportunity to move into the Top 10 to obtain either their top quarterback selection or an elite defensive player as some teams seem desperate to utilize the depth of the draft. The Browns No. 52 overall pick coupled with a fourth-round pick would be worth adding another elite-level player.
Round 2, Pick 1 (33 overall)
Round 2, Pick 52 (19 overall)
Round 3, Pick 1 (65 overall)
Other Cleveland Browns picks in the 2017 NFL Draft
Round 4, Pick 1 (108)
Round 4, Pick 34 (142) (Compensatory Selection)
Round 5, Pick 1 (145)
Round 5, Pick 32 (177)
Round 5, Pick 38 (183) (Compensatory Selection)
Round 6, Pick 1 (187)
Other players to watch later in the draft (in no particular order)
Nate Peterman, QB, Pitt
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois
Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
Taylor Morton, OT, Western Michigan
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
Davlvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
Chris Wormley, DT, Michigan
Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson
Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
John Johnson, S, NC State
Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State
Hardy Nickerson Jr, LB, Illinois
WFNY has walked through numerous mock draft strategies over the past few months in addition to the blueprint above. Here is each of those: