When the 2013 NFL Draft was all said and done, the Cleveland Browns only ended up drafting five players, as they opted to acquire a veteran receiver and add better picks for the 2014 NFL Draft. ESPN's Mel Kiper was quick to grade this year's draft for each team in the NFL with his early impressions.
Kiper has two criteria that combine to form his overall grades: how well a team addressed their specific needs, and the type of value they were able to get considering their position on the draft board.
Browns' Top Needs Heading Into Draft, Per Kiper: CB, QB, G, ILB, TE
Grades: Kiper gave the Browns a C+, which had sub-grades of a C for fulfilling needs, and a B- for getting good value. Here was Kiper's overall description for the Browns regarding his logic:
Summary: "I don't know if it's a good thing, per se, but the guy who will impact the Browns most in 2013 might not be the player they took at No. 6 overall. At No. 68 overall, they took Leon McFadden, a much-needed CB who knows how to operate on an island. As I look at the depth chart, I don't see a reason why McFadden can't break camp as the starter across from Joe Haden. That's not a small deal because it also maximizes Buster Skrine, who will be able to spend more time in the slot, where he's much better.
Now, that first pick was Barkevious Mingo, a player I'm at once infatuated with as a talent, but skeptical of because of what I considered production that didn't match up with his talent. Now, Mingo adds depth at outside linebacker, but he's going to need some developmental work because he played with his hand on the ground at LSU. After that, there isn't a lot here that you'll see in 2013.
Jamoris Slaughter could provide depth at safety. The lack of a second-round pick really hurt the Browns, who could have used a higher-rated guard -- though I do think Garrett Gilkey has the chance to start eventually -- and I thought would have been wise to add another inside linebacker. But Josh Gordon is developing and Davone Bess should provide Brandon Weeden with another solid target in the passing game. The hope is Mingo becomes a star, and McFadden can perform early. The good news is, both could happen."
Overall, it doesn't sound like Kiper really hated our draft or anything, and based on his scale, a C+ is designated as "average." Kiper probably didn't mention the additional picks we acquired in 2014 because it does not really help this year. However, I do question the language of saying "the lack of a second-round pick really hurt the Browns," knowing full-well that it was also the reason why we were able to get Josh Gordon with great value a year early.
As for our division rivals, here is how each of them graded:
- Baltimore Ravens: A- overall (A- needs, B+ value)
- Cincinnati Bengals: A- overall (B+ needs, A- value)
- Pittsburgh Steelers: B overall (B+ needs, B value)
Along with the Rams, the Ravens and Bengals were tied for Kiper's highest grades in the draft. Overall, the AFC North drafted very well in 2013.