Mel Kiper released his third mock draft of the season this week. In his previous mock draft, he had the Browns taking QB Teddy Bridgewater and WR Davante Adams. Compared to his previous mock, this one is supposed to take the events of free agency into account. Here is how Kiper now sees the draft going before Cleveland is on the clock at No. 4 overall:
No. 1 - Houston: OLB Khalil Mack
No. 2 - St. Louis: OT Greg Robinson
No. 3 - Jacksonville: DE Jadeveon Clowney
The only change ahead of us saw the Texans going with Mack instead of QB Johnny Manziel. This scenario gives Cleveland their pick for any quarterback, but Kiper has them going with QB Blake Bortles this time around:
No. 4 - Cleveland: QB Blake Bortles
Analysis: The Browns have already released Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. In other words, the writing is on the wall and the depth chart has a pretty big vacancy. So they'll keep Brian Hoyer as a possible starter and draft a QB at this spot knowing it's not such a bad place for a young QB to succeed, given their ability to pass-block up front and the fact that they have some dangerous weapons in the passing game in Josh Gordon andJordan Cameron. Yes, I can see either Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel here, but this is a bet on where the Browns end up after evaluating all of them closely.
At No. 26 overall, Kiper mocked wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin going to the Browns:
No. 26 - Cleveland: WR Kelvin Benjamin
The Browns aren't sitting still in free agency, but they aren't going to find a pass-catcher with this high a ceiling. Benjamin could have used another year in college to refine his skills, but physically he's ready to cause problems as a perpetual matchup threat at the next level. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are in place, but the third amigo could do wonders.
Here are some other notes from Kiper about the Browns, as relayed by Dan Kadar on a conference call:
Kiper said if the Browns don't take a QB at four, Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo could be in play at 26 or in the second round.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) March 13, 2014
Kiper also mentioned AJ McCarron as a possibility for the Browns in the second round.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) March 13, 2014
Kiper thinks the Browns and Falcons could be active on trades during the draft.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) March 13, 2014
What do you think of Kiper's picks for Cleveland?
There's a new No. 1 in @MelKiperESPN's NFL Mock Draft 3.0. " pic.twitter.com/hDGOKr7qsm— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 13, 2014