Mel Kiper released his second mock draft of the season this week, and with the Cleveland Browns having two first-round picks this year, we are sure to see a lot of variability in terms of what draft strategy people think the Browns will take. Here is how Kiper sees the draft going before Cleveland is on the clock at No. 4 overall:
No. 1 - Houston: QB Johnny Manziel
No. 2 - St. Louis: OT Greg Robinson
No. 3 - Jacksonville: DE Jadeveon Clowney
With all of the Manziel-to-Cleveland hype fans have started buying in to, it seems like a bit of a letdown to see him off the board first to the Texans. Who should the Browns go with next? A quarterback, or a wide receiver prospect like Sammy Watkins? Kiper says "quarterback," specifically, Teddy Bridgewater:
No. 4 - Cleveland: QB Teddy Bridgewater
Analysis: I think it's fair to say that for the first time in a while, the Browns have the talent in place to really help a young quarterback succeed. The presence of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron and the results those two were able to put up last season with pretty mixed levels of QB play should give the Browns' front office a reasonable level of confidence that a good decision-maker with a high level of accuracy has a chance to succeed early. And while Bridgewater still has areas where he needs to show growth, particularly in proving he can drive the ball down the field with accuracy on a consistent level, I think he also has a lot of traits that translate to early success. He reads defenses well before and after the snap, moves extremely well within the pocket, and delivers the ball on time, allowing pass-catchers to make plays. If Manziel is available here, he could certainly be the pick, but Bridgewater is no consolation prize on my board.
Watkins is off the board at No. 5 overall to the Raiders. Flashforward to the Browns' next pick at No. 26 overall, and Kiper has the Browns getting their receiver:
No. 26 - Cleveland: WR Davante Adams
Analysis: There's a decent chance the Browns will be working with an inexperienced quarterback taking the snaps in 2014, and while Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are enticing matchup threats, the Browns could really use a reliable third option, because beyond those two, drops and inconsistency were an issue. In Adams, you get a strong receiver who will make plays in traffic and beat defenders for the ball on contested throws. If the Browns go QB at No. 4, they could decide to add pass-catching help by the time they get to this slot. They'll have some good options, so fit will be key.
I have no problem with a quarterback-wide receiver combination in the first round. Kiper doesn't have RB Carlos Hyde going in the first round either, so that would open the door for Cleveland in the second round to take him. Kiper had a conference call following the release of his mock draft, and he was asked about the Browns' odds of getting Manziel:
"For Cleveland, to see Manziel there (at No. 4) would be a surprise to me. When you talk to people in the league, he’s kind of the consensus No. 1 quarterback ... I can see [Manziel] going No. 1 [to Houston] or No. 3 [to Jacksonville]."
What do you think of Kiper's mock draft?