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Mel Kiper Grades the Cleveland Browns’ 2018 NFL Draft With a B-

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It’s the 21st-ranked draft class in the NFL, per Kiper.

NFL: NFL Draft Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Mel Kiper graded every team’s draft from this past weekend, including the Cleveland Browns’ draft. Kiper stresses that his grades are based on the following criteria:

  • How effectively did a team address key personnel voids?
  • How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?

Kiper gave the Browns a letter grade “B-,” which was tied for the 21st best grade in the NFL (note: there were five other teams that received a “B-”).

Cleveland Browns: B- | Top needs: QB, CB, WR

It’s all about Baker. I said it when the pick was made, and I still feel that way. Give new general manager John Dorsey credit: he stuck to his guns and took the guy he believes in. Last year he traded up for Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City -- not at all a chalk pick at the time -- and this year he went with Mayfield, who lacks classic “No. 1 QB prototype” traits but brings elite accuracy, significant experience, and former walk-on moxie that seems to galvanize teammates. I would have drafted Sam Darnold, and we’ll all watch these careers play out side-by-side. But after passing on so many QBs, the Browns got their guy.

Denzel Ward was the top cornerback in this class and hits an obvious need. I would have picked Bradley Chubb at No. 4 -- the thought of him and Myles Garrett on the same line is pretty enticing. I like Austin Corbett (pick 33) as an immediate depth option on a line where the Joe Thomas void feels significant. No. 35 pick Nick Chubb’s arrival means the Browns now have one of the more interesting backfields in the NFL -- he, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson can provide a lot of looks and production. Chad Thomas (67) provides some rotational help, and if he pans out, the absence of Chubb won’t be as much of a conversation.

Antonio Callaway is that classic mixed bag. On one hand, this is a supreme talent with first-round pedigree. But the “yeah, but” is impossible to ignore. The off-field issues are significant, and there’s an outside chance he doesn’t stick at all. That said, him Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, David Njoku, and that group of running backs? That’s a lot of talent. And that’s just the question for Cleveland: does all that talent become something? And can Baker be the catalyst? We’ll see.

To compare, last year, Kiper gave the Browns a B. It’s no surprise that the Browns were downgraded because of their choice at quarterback. Kiper absolutely loves Josh Allen, and he gave a perfect “A” grade to the one team that selected him: the Buffalo Bills. Overall, I think Kiper’s assessment is pretty fair, though.

The Browns also received a B- grade from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar.