Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest mock draft this morning, version 4.0. Given that we're getting closer to the draft, exactly three weeks from today, the top ten to twelve picks are starting to take shape in his mocks.
The Browns obviously have two picks in the first round, so let's take a look at who Kiper is mocking to the Browns this week.
With their first pick, he has Cleveland taking Louisville WR DeVante Parker at #12 overall. Here's what Kiper has to say about that pick:
COLLEGE: Louisville Class: Sr HT: 6-2 WT: 209 POS: WR
Analysis: The Browns have added Dwayne Bowe, but he'll be 31 in September and is more name value than anything close to a No. 1 receiver at this point in his career. I expect the Browns to pick more than one pass-catcher, and getting Parker here is a good place to start. I do think he has a chance to be as good as any of the three guys already off the board if he can stay healthy. Parker will beat defenders to the ball on high-point catches with his size, leaping ability and catch radius, and he's underrated as a threat to add yards after the catch on short throws. He'll help a QB look better. The Browns could also look at a pass-rusher here, or Waynes if he's still on the board, but Parker makes sense.
If Parker is there at twelve and the Browns pass, I may lose it. I've been a huge fan of Parker's for a long time, and have been clamoring for them to take him with their first pick.
Of course you can make the argument to draft some other guys that would be available if this situation plays out like Kiper has it, specifically Danny Shelton comes to mind (in this mock he's drafted two spots later at #14 to Miami). But, Parker to me is a game changer. We know Josh Gordon is suspended, and sure, the Browns have added Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, however Parker could step in and impact the game similar to the way Josh Gordon would have. Of course, I'm not saying Parker = Gordon, but he'd certainly help ease the sting of losing JG for the year.
Cleveland's second pick in the first round is where Kiper's mock takes an interesting turn. With the 19th overall pick he has them selecting Georgia RB Todd Gurley. Kiper's thoughts:
COLLEGE: Georgia Class: Jr HT: 6-0 WT: 222 POS: RB
Analysis: It's not the pick I'm making as GM of the Browns, but this is a projection, not "Mel's picks." The Browns already have added talent at wide receiver, and if healthy the offensive line could be one of the NFL's best. While they got pretty good production out of the rookie tandem at running back in 2014, Gurley certainly could qualify as the "best player available" at this spot on the board. The Browns can take him knowing he doesn't have to be an impact player in Week 1, and create an opportunity for him to be a stud for them as he reaches his full potential when at 100 percent.
One could make the argument that Gurley is the most gifted running back in the class, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree. However, there's plenty of other holes in the Browns roster that I'd prefer to patch with the #19 overall selection, rather than selecting a running back.
Rookie tandem Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West showed enough last year to warrant going into the season as the penciled-in starters. Every position can always be upgraded, but with those two in hand, it doesn't make a ton of sense to me to spend a top-20 draft selection on a running back, especially given how the last first-round running back turned out for the Browns.
I get drafting "best available," and Kiper even concedes that in his analysis of the pick, but to me it still is a bit of a head-scratcher.
What do y'all think about the two selections Kiper mocks to the Browns?