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Mel Kiper’s 2017 NFL Draft Re-grade: Browns see slight decline with year to reflect

Kiper likes a lot of what the Browns did in the 2017 draft, but the quarterback decision still bothers him.

2008 NFL Draft Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Every year, Mel Kiper re-grades the drafts of all 32 teams from the previous season after getting to evaluate how much progress rookies have made. He provides the disclaimer that this is just a fun exercise, and that it takes more than one year to firmly label how well a team’s draft class did.

After the draft last year, Kiper gave the Browns a B for their 2017 draft. Below is a table of the Browns’ 2017 picks:

Browns’ 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Round Pick Position Player School
Round Pick Position Player School
1 1 Myles Garrett DE TEXAS A&M
1 25 Jabrill Peppers S MICHIGAN
1 29 David Njoku TE MIAMI
2 52 DeShone Kizer QB NOTRE DAME
3 65 Larry Ogunjobi DT CHARLOTTE
4 126 Howard Wilson CB HOUSTON
5 160 Roderick Johnson OT FLORIDA STATE
6 185 Caleb Brantley DT FLORIDA
7 224 Zane Gonzalez K ARIZONA STATE
7 252 Matthew Dayes RB NC STATE

With a year to reflect on the draft class, here is the good that Kiper saw from it:

There was a lot of good in this class. First overall pick Myles Garrett was an absolute monster when he was on the field, racking up seven sacks and 18 quarterback knockdowns. Safety Jabrill Peppers had some growing pains in a deeper role but improved when he was moved closer to the line. Tight end David Njoku flashed with 32 catches for 386 yards and four touchdowns. Defensive tackles Larry Ogunjobi and Caleb Brantley were useful in the rotation. Seventh-round pick Matthew Dayes was a decent kick returner. Kicker Zane Gonzalez got better as the season progressed. Cleveland landed the No. 4 overall pick in 2018 by trading down with Houston.

So you would think the grade would improve, right? Not so fast — because there was some bad too, specifically related to the all-important quarterback position:

There was also a lot of bad in this class, which should be expected for a team that went 0-16. Quarterback Deshone Kizer was a turnover machine and probably never should have been playing, and Cleveland has already moved on from him. Garrett played only 500 snaps after dealing with an ankle injury. Peppers played out of position for a good chunk of the season. Oh, and Cleveland missed on its quarterback of the future by trading down with the Texans and not taking Deshaun Watson.

Largely because of that, the grade dropped to a B- in his re-grade. It puts them in a tie for the 15th through 19th best grades for the 2017 NFL Draft.