Good morning and happy Hump Day, you guys! Hope all of you are having a great week so far.
It took us until February and the offseason to have our first post about the upcoming NFL Draft for the Cleveland Browns. That has to be some sort of a record, right?
Whether you have or haven’t started looking at mock drafts yet, we have you covered. Throughout the next couple of months, many Wednesday mornings will consist of a WFNY NFL Mock Draft Roundup leading up to the draft in late April.
One thing you will notice is that for the first time since the Browns returned to the league in 1999, a quarterback is not only no longer a need for Cleveland, but with so much talent and potential on the team already, along with plenty of cap space this offseason, there are a number of different strategies the Browns could decide to use. Whether it’s focusing on a certain position(s) or just picking the best available non-quarterback, Cleveland is in a good spot this time around, which is quite a nice breath of fresh air compared to years past.
In terms of just the 17th-overall pick, WFNY’s Michael Bode has already provided us his initial list of players that he would target:
Subset of players to dive in on for Browns Round 1 at No. 17
— michael bode (@mgbode_WFNY) December 31, 2018
Keep in mind, with the NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Days still ahead, along with nearly three months until the draft, plenty of mocks and predictions will change. With that said, it’s still important to see which direction analysts believe the Browns will go as of right now.
Currently holding the No. 17 pick in the first round, there are a number of different directions the Browns could go. With the NFL Draft 78 days away, let’s take a look at the latest mock drafts from some of the most well known NFL Draft analysts:
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller: OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
A run on offensive tackles continues as Yodny Cajuste goes to Cleveland as the team’s new left tackle.
The Browns limped by with Greg Robinson as a Band-Aid at the position after Joe Thomas retired last offseason; and while Robinson did solid work, he’s not the team’s answer for the future.
Cajuste is a top-tier athlete at left tackle, showing excellent footwork combined with good length and strength to handle power and speed rushers. He’s a bit raw in the run game but has the traits to be fine there with some coaching by a pro staff.
Finding a long-term answer at left tackle with the No. 17 overall pick is rare, which is why the Browns would jump all over Cajuste if available here.
Cajuste would be the third offensive tackle off the board, behind Alabama’s Jonah Williams and Washington State’s Andre Dillard.
Also, in his latest mock, Miller went with an entire seven-round mock this time. Here’s who he has the Browns taking with every pick in the draft:
- Pick 49 (Round 2): WR Riley Ridley, Georgia
- Pick 80 (Round 3): CB Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State
- Pick 95 (Round 3): LB Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State
- Pick 112 (Round 4): DL Isaiah Buggs, Alabama
- Round 5: OG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
- Round 5: S Marvel Tell III, USC
- Round 5: EDGE Porter Gustin, USC
- Round 6: WR KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State
- Round 7: EDGE Cece Jefferson, Florida
- Round 7: TE Donald Parham, Stetson
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
From Clemson to Cleveland and a different shade of orange, Wilkins would give the Browns an interior disruptor with the talent and pedigree to upgrade the interior. Wilkins and Larry Ogunjobi inside, along with the edge rushers outside, would be a problem for opponents.
Like Miller, Brugler also has the Browns selecting Ridley in the second round as well.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper: DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
The surging Browns hit on their 2018 draft class, led by Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb. Can general manager John Dorsey do it again? My comp for Simmons is emerging Chiefs star Chris Jones whom Dorsey picked in Round 2 when he was in Kansas City. Simmons is supremely athletic and already advanced in his technique as a pass-rusher. However, he will have to answer to NFL teams about his 2016 arrest during the pre-draft process.
According to draftanalyst.com’s Tony Pauline, Simmons is general manager John Dorsey’s guy and “he will select Simmons” with the No. 17 pick. With Dorsey having a history of giving players with a history of off-field issues a second chance, Simmons’ name being brought up here shouldn’t come as a surprise. In 2016, a video surfaced of the Mississippi State lineman repeatedly hitting a woman when she was on the ground. Simmons was arrested and charged with simple assault and was suspended for just one game.
CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson: CB Byron Murphy, Washington
Before it’s all said and done, Murphy could be the first cornerback drafted. He was that good last season for the Huskies. The Browns could be a player or two from being considered a legit playoff contender next season and adding Murphy solidifies that notion.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
If the quarterbacks don’t go early in Round 1, Wilkins will probably be off the board before this pick. However, if there’s an early run on passers, there will be some bargains, like Wilkins at No. 17.
He also has the Browns selecting Boston College EDGE Zach Allen in Round 2 and Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt in Round 3.
CBS Sports’ Daniel Jeremiah: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
I believe Dillard is the top left tackle prospect in the draft and his pass-protecting prowess is just what Baker Mayfield needs.
MMQB’s Kalyn Kahler: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma
The Browns have their franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield, and now it’s time to shore up protection around him with a study blocker like Ford.
Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
Baker may not do any one thing, in particular, that could be described as ‘elite,’ but his collection of skills has led to elite production. Baker earned a 90.0 grade this past year and a 89.6 grade in 2017.
What say you, Browns fans? Do you have a certain position(s) that you want the Browns to focus on early in the draft, specifically in the first round? Do you have a can’t-miss guy(s) that if they drop to No. 17, you want Cleveland to take?
With all that said, if there is a certain mock draft(s) that you feel as though we should include in these, please let us know. Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!