The NFL Draft is less than 36 hours away. Crazy, right? Throughout much of the past 20 years, the draft has been the Cleveland Browns’ and its fans’ Super Bowl every year. They put their full attention and focus to the draft and even mock drafts in the weeks and months leading up to late April.
With Baker Mayfield now in the fold, along with plenty of other top-tier talent donning the orange and brown, the draft is no longer what it used to be, at least for the Dawg Pound and their favorite professional football team. Don’t get me wrong, the NFL Draft is still vitally important this year, but there’s just a different feeling and vibe around Cleveland this time around.
Due to the Browns acquiring Odell Beckham Jr., they no longer have a first round pick. At least for now.1 They could potentially trade up into Thursday night’s first round if there is a player that drops and they are in love with, but the value will have to be there.
In case they keep their second-round pick (Pick 49), I am back with my latest WFNY NFL Mock Draft Roundup. I was planning on doing this every Wednesday since doing the first one at the start of February, but it was much tougher following the OBJ trade due to many NFL Draft analysts not mocking past the first round.
Obviously, drafts are very tough to predict. The later the draft goes, the tougher it is to project, too. While there are many variables ahead of the Browns first pick at No. 49 that will likely change what they do, let’s take a look at who some analysts believe Cleveland will take with Pick 49, if they do in fact keep it instead of trading up into the first round or even earlier into the second round:
ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay: CB David Long, Michigan
McShay: Cleveland‘s first pick in this draft comes in the middle of Round 2, and it doesn’t have huge needs. But injuries have plagued the cornerback corps. A physical press corner, Long gives the Browns depth behind Denzel Ward and Terrance Mitchell.
Gardner-Johnson can do the things Jabrill Peppers started to do in his second season in Cleveland.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter: CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
Cornerback is a major area of need for the Browns, so Ya-Sin’s unwillingness to back down from any receiver will give him a shot to start right away.
CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson: DB Deandre Baker, Georgia
Baker is only 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, but he faced off against the best of the best wideouts in the country and rarely lost. He’s not as athletic as Greedy Williams but he’s a more consistent playmaker.
CBS Sports’ R.J. White: CB Justin Layne, Michigan State
*Browns trade with the Atlanta Falcons, move up to Pick 45 to select Layne.
Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell: CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
The Browns grab a gifted cover corner who is a first-round talent to form a tandem with Denzel Ward. This is a great value forCleveland.In 2018, Baker totaled 40 tackles with nine breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble. On one of his interceptions, he dropped the ball in front of the end zone on what should have been a 57-yard pick-six. The 5-foot-11, 193-pounder was very impressive as the No. 1 cornerback for Georgia in 2017. He showed enough speed and athleticism to run with receivers and prevent separation. Baker totaled 44 tackles with nine passes broken up and three interceptions on the year. As a sophomore, he had two picks, five pass breakups and 31 tackles.
Some sources feel that while other corners might go ahead of Baker because of a better size/speed combination, he could be the best pure cover corner to run the route and prevent separation in the 2019 NFL Draft. Baker has some off-the-field concerns, and may not run the fastest times, so that combination could cause him to fall out of the first 10 picks.
The Browns view cornerback to be their greatest need now, as they need a starter across from Denzel Ward. They should be able to find a decent corner in the middle of the second round.
Greedy Williams had a spectacular freshman season with six interceptions. Williams has great size (6-foot-2, 182 pounds) and speed, but teams have given him second-round grades.
NBC Sports’ Ben Standig: OT Kaleb McGary, Washington
The Browns upgraded their talent significantly on both sides of the ball since the end of the 2018 season. Work remains at tackle and cornerback.
Even though Cleveland could use a corner opposite Denzel Ward, the call is the impressive McGary in part because lack of OT prospects later on Day 2.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller: S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
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 with their second round pick or any of their other Day 2 picks? Do you have a can’t-miss guy(s) that if they drop to the late first round, you want Cleveland to trade up and take? Do you want them to trade up at all? If you had a perfect plan for the draft, specifically the early picks, what would it consist of?