ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. put out his first 2015 NFL Mock Draft yesterday, and he has one name that keeps popping up around the mock drafts.
Kiper has the Browns going DL with their first selection, #12 overall, and taking Washington's Danny Shelton. Here's what Mel has to say about Shelton:
In Mike Pettine's system, you really can use powerful bodies up front who can hold blocks but also create some movement and occasionally penetrate, and the massive Shelton is a nice fit for a team that struggled to consistently stop the run. The Browns really missed an injured Phil Taylor, and Shelton comes in ready to play and give them more depth at a position in which every team could use it. This guy didn't just cause way more backfield havoc than his size would indicate is possible, but he has incredible awareness in the run game and actually led the Huskies in tackles for most of the season, which is pretty incredible for a guy at that position.
Taking a big DT makes sense given the Browns unbelievable inability to stop the run last year. Shelton would fit nicely along the Browns defensive line, and would add depth to a position that seemingly can't have enough depth in the NFL.
The Browns also hold the #19 pick, thanks to the Buffalo Bills. With this pick, Mel has the Browns going in a different direction than most fans would probably wish. He has them taking Miami's Ereck Flowers, an OT. His notes on Flowers:
I can obviously see the Browns looking at a pass-catcher here given the issues they faced in 2014, when Josh Gordon was off the field (and when he was on it, for that matter), but I also think they know that if they can build a dominant offensive line and make Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell arguably the league's best two-headed running back attack, they'll be able to help stabilize the passing game and allow any QB to succeed. Flowers offers insurance for Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz, and also at guard in a year after the injury to Alex Mack (and subsequent shuffling up front) was quietly devastating if you look at Cleveland's ability to run the ball. Anybody who assumes an O-line or D-line is in great shape without considering depth should watch what happen to the Browns when Mack went down.
I have to be honest, I'd like to see the Browns take a WR with one of their first round selections. I think, however, if the top-4 WR's (Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Dorial Green-Beckham) are gone, then taking a guy like Flowers makes a whole lot of sense.
If Cleveland comes away with either a DT or pass-rusher with their first pick, and adds either an OL or WR with their second pick, I'd be cool with that. I believe those are the 3-4 positions the Browns need to, and will, target with their first two selections.
You can find the entire (Insider) Mock, here.
What do you all think about Kiper's first mock? Would you be happy with these selections?