In the fourth installment of the weekly “Mock Draft Wednesday” series1, I present you with mock draft version 4.0 of the Cleveland Browns 2020 NFL draft, with the team landing a franchise tackle, the foremost free safety, the most elusive running back in college football, and an FCS tight end with star potential:
The 6-foot-5, 322-pound junior could be a long-term solution for the Browns at the tackle position. Per Kyle Crabs of The Draft Network: “Phenomenal talent. He’s got grace and nimble feet despite his looming stature — making him a prototypical NFL offensive tackle prospect. He’s got a great presence about him in both pass sets and run blocking, very effective in physically dominating the opposition regardless of what direction he’s tasked with going. Impressive reach, incredible strength and a dynamic lower half…”
Per Pro Football Focus (“PFF”), the Hawkeye tackle allowed a quarterback pressure on only 3.5% of pass-block snaps (40 quarterback pressures on 1,138 pass-blocking snaps), while only allowing multiple pressures in two games in the 2019 regular season. Further, Wirfs 90.2 grade was the highest among all tackles in the Big Ten Conference who played a minimum of 325 offensive snaps (PFF), resulting in a First Team All-Big Ten selection and being named the conference lineman of the year. He is primed to protect quarterback Baker Mayfield for the foreseeable future.
Tristan Wirfs is a terrific blend of athleticism, awareness, and upside. With so many teams at the top of the draft in need of an OT, he should hear his name very early in April. pic.twitter.com/pyujZjz7DS
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) January 15, 2020
Let’s be honest with each other: free safety Damarious Randall will almost certainly not be back with this team in 2019. He was benched during the 2019 season for an unspecified disciplinary reason and underwhelmed when he did play, grading as PFF’s 39th overall safety (minimum 300 defensive snaps). In fact, he has not graded, nor had a wins above replacement (WAR) higher than 30th at the position group over the past three seasons.
Winfield, Jr. was selected as a unanimous First Team All-American for his 2019 performance (the first Gopher to do so since 2005). The sophomore recorded 80 total tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and intercepted seven passes (4th-most in FBS) this season. He is a playmaker by every definition of the word, with elite athleticism, ball skills, and coverage potential. The injury concerns are there (he only played four games in each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons), but let’s hope that is behind the youngster.
Moss accumulated 4,752 scrimmage yards, 41 touchdowns, and 5.7 yards per carry over his college career with the Utes. The 5-foot-10, 222-pound back is best-known for his ability to break tackles, wherein he had the third-highest single-season broken tackle per attempt average of any running back over the past six seasons (PFF). Further, he is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield, with 28 receptions for 388 yards in 2019, while only dropping one pass. The elusive 2019 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year would be the perfect complement to Nick Chubb:
Zack Moss' lateral cuts are absurd. He's such an agile back with great COD and balance. pic.twitter.com/BoWrgBPTUC
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) January 11, 2020
Trautman’s stock has been on a meteoric rise of sorts lately, as he was one of the standout performers at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He has earned praise from the likes of the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah (video clip below) and The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid, who had him on his “Most Impressive” Senior Bowl list:
I am a HUGE Adam Trautman fan (Dayton TE). He has a really good feel as a route runner and he’ll more than hold up in the run game. pic.twitter.com/zaTuBXzobf
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 23, 2020
The 6-foot-6, 253-pound specimen recorded 916 receiving yards on 70 receptions (13.1 yards per reception) and 14 touchdowns his senior year with the Flyers on his way to being named the Pioneer Football League’s Offensive Player of the Year. If his success in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) deters you, it shouldn’t. Some familiar league names hail from FCS programs, e.g. Jimmy Garopollo (Eastern Illinois), Kyle Juszcyk (Harvard), David Johnson (Northern Iowa), Carson Wentz (North Dakota State), and J.C. Tretter (Cornell) to name a few.
Trautman is not only a dominant force in the passing game, he is well-versed in the run-blocking aspect of football. Case in point:
The Minnesota Vikings offense placed an emphasis on two-tight end sets under the tutelage of Kevin Stefanski, deploying “12” personnel (one running back, two tight ends, and two wide receivers) on 35% of offensive plays, which was the second-most in the league (Sharp Football). As a result, the Browns will need another playmaker at the position in 2020 and I believe Trautman would be a near-perfect addition.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior officially declared for the NFL draft on New Year’s Eve. Davis had 54 receptions for 616 yards and four touchdowns over 11 games this season with career marks of 99 receptions for 1,201 yards and 11 touchdowns. There are some injury concerns, as he missed the entirety of both the 2016 and 2017 seasons resulting from a torn ACL. However, he could compete for the wide receiver three spot behind Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher had rave reviews for the young man: “It’s amazing that when you develop a person that the player grows with him. When they start seeing themselves have success there, they know it’s important but maybe not why. I’ve been extremely, extremely happy with him with his production and development as a person, as a player, and as a team leader.”
Round 6, Pick 168- Nate Landman | Linebacker (Colorado)
Browns defensive leader and Pro Bowl snub Joe Schobert is set to make some dough this offseason. Reportedly no contract talks have occurred between Schobert’s agent and the Browns brass, which is not a good sign for a player at his caliber. As such, the middle linebacker may fall victim to the “not my guy” mentality in 2020.
As a result, Colorado linebacker Nate Landman is the pick here. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior is known for his tackling ability, power, patience, and aggressiveness. There are some doubts regarding his man coverage ability, but has the opportunity for growth with the proper coaching.
Round 7, Pick 222 (via Green Bay Packers)- A.J. Green | Cornerback (Oklahoma State)
Green was a four-year starter at Oklahoma State, who finished his career with 147 tackles, six interceptions, and 21 passes defended. The cornerback is best known for his size (6-foot-1 and 190 pounds) and his physical style of play. He plays at his best when in press-man coverage, not dissimilar to current Browns cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods is interviewing for the Browns defensive coordinator opening today in Berea and is the overwhelming favorite for the position. His defensive scheme emphasizes cover-1, which makes Green a seemingly natural fit in the system.
Who are your favorite prospects heading into the 2020 NFL Draft? What do you see as the team’s biggest needs?