It may only be January, but that doesn't mean it's not Draft season. With the Senior Bowl taking place over the weekend, I thought it'd be a good time to take a peek at the thought process behind some of the recent mock drafts, and draft analysis.
1. In your most recent mock, you had the Browns trading up to draft Marcus Mariota. How likely of a scenario is that, really?
I know a lot of people – mostly Browns fans – didn’t care for the trade up. But given the team’s recent history of moving around in the draft, why would it be unexpected? Considering they have the best ammunition of any team, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if they decide to move around and target the player they want. That could mean a trade up or down. Right now, no one knows exactly either way. I’m not certain the Browns will be picking at 12 and 19 when all is said and done. Now, does that mean I think they’ll trade up to No. 2 to take a quarterback? Not necessarily. But that was just the scenario I wanted to work with in this mock draft. At this point, I’m not writing these every week for the sake of accuracy. That would be futile. It’s more about trying to intelligently figure out scenarios.
2. If the Browns don’t trade for one of the two ‘big-name’ QB’s (Jameis Winston, Mariota), do you see them selecting a QB in the mid-to-later rounds to compete with Johnny Manziel, and if so, who should we get to know?
I do think the Browns will take a quarterback at some point in the draft if they don’t re-sign Brian Hoyer. If they bring him back, I don’t think they draft one. Of the mid-round guys, I like Garrett Grayson of Colorado State the most. I really don’t like any of them that much, though. Shane Carden of East Carolina is solid, but only as a good backup. There are a bunch of those types of guys this year.
3. Especially with the Senior Bowl buzz this week, a name a lot of Browns fans are hearing is Danny Shelton. He seems like a really good fit along the Browns 3-4 DL, how do you think he’d fit in Cleveland?
Shelton would be a perfect fit at nose tackle. He could be slotted in there and Phil Taylor could be moved to end. I’ve always thought Taylor would play better at end in a three-man front anyway. If they want to keep Taylor at nose, Shelton could be an insurance piece and also get some snaps at end. He’s athletic enough to do it. Even in the unlikely event that Taylor stays healthy an entire season, they could probably still find 700 or more snaps for a rookie defensive lineman. Shelton, at 12, is the best fit.
4. If the Browns do go DL at #12, what do you think they’d do at #19?
I think if the Browns keep their two first-round picks, they come out of things with two of the three of: a defensive lineman, wide receiver and offensive tackle. Which two we’ll try and figure out over the next few months.
5. There seems to be a bit of a drop-off after the first few big-name WR’s (Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong, Dorial Green-Beckham, etc). Who do you see as the best after that bunch?
The first wide receiver that came to mind next was Sammie Coates of Auburn. He’s kind of like Braylon Edwards – a big player with good athleticism but questionable hands. He may not have the drops quite like Edwards, but their playing style is similar. I like Rashad Greene of Florida State, but only as a No. 2 when you already have a good, established No. 1. Tyler Lockett of Kansas State and Phillip Dorsett of Miami are both good, but in no way a lead receiver. If the Browns want to try and unearth one of those guys deep, Breshad Perriman of Central Florida has some solid potential. But is he Martavis Bryant or Carlton Mitchell? The same can be said of Deontay Greenberry of Houston.
6. Given the Senior Bowl practices have been going on this week, is there anyone that’s impressed you this week that Browns fans might not be all that familiar with?
That probably starts with Shelton. I know he met with the team at least once in Mobile. I also know they met with Dorsett, who could really help on special teams. T.J. Clemmings of Pittsburgh would be a great addition to play right tackle. I’m not sold on Mitchell Schwartz, especially playing the outside. I do think he could be good at guard.
A big thank you again to Dan for taking time to answer these. Be sure to let us know in the comments what you think of Dan's responses. Also, if you're not doing so already, be sure to follow Dan and Mocking the Draft on Twitter, @MockingTheDraft.