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Mel Kiper's First Mock Draft: Browns Take DE Bjoern Werner at No. 6


We'll see plenty more of these before the end of April, but Mel Kiper has released his first mock draft of the year. Last year, Kiper had two cracks at getting a Browns pick right in the first round, but he was wrong on both Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright (to be fair, this is a combination the Browns likely would have went with had they not been beat by the Redskins in a trade).

This year, Kiper has the Browns going with DE Bjoern Werner at No. 6 overall. Fans are already a little familiar with Werner, since our own draft affiliate had him going to the Browns in his early projection too.

Analysis: I've heard Werner compared to J.J. Watt, and while he's better suited to play defensive end in a 4-3 alignment because he doesn't yet have the size to work primarily inside at this point, in terms of raw impact against the pass, the comparisons hold up. Not only does Werner provide immediate impact as a pass-rusher, like Watt, he defends the pass with his eyes and gets his hands up, disrupts passing lanes and swats away throws. A late arrival to football, he has a high ceiling. He's an ideal fit in Cleveland, a team that saw the defense regress in 2012.

One of the surprising things in Kiper's mock is that he has no first-round quarterbacks. He does note, however, that the combine should propel a quarterback or two up the draft charts. The players who Kiper had going ahead of Cleveland were OT Luke Joeckel, DE Damontre Moore, DT Star Lotulelei, CB Dee Milliner, and LB Jarvis Jones, in that order. I'm still on board with a defensive player in the first round for Cleveland, and with the switch to a potential hybrid defense under Rob Chudzinski, taking a prospect in the front seven seems like a reasonable pick.