Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey went heavy on defense at the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Browns opened the draft by selecting LSU cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round and bookended that by drafting Tulane cornerback Donnie Lewis in the seventh round.
Between those picks, Dorsey added a pair of linebackers in BYU’s Sione Takitaki (third round) and Alabama’s Mack Wilson (fifth round), an dMiami safety Sheldrick Redwine. The only selections not on the defensive side of the ball were Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert (fifth round) and Southeast Missouri State guard Drew Forces (sixth round).
Now that the draft is in the books, let’s take a look at what the national football media has to say about the Browns newest draft class.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com, Grade: A-
The Browns made their pick in this year’s draft on Friday night, as GM John Dorsey parted with a fifth-round pick to move up three spots for Williams, who will be a factor in coverage early in his career with Cleveland. Takitaki is a solid linebacker prospect who will contribute right away; he had varying grades across the league, though. Redwine’s versatility made him worth a fourth-round selection, and Wilson was a big value in the fifth round. Seibert was the best kicker in the draft. Forbes could play tackle or guard for the Browns. Lewis was a good find in the seventh.
Pro Football Focus Grade: Average
Cleveland may have been without a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but they still managed to come away from Day 2 with a first-round talent in former LSU cornerback Greedy Williams. A sticky man corner with some of the best match-and-mirror ability in the 2019 class, Williams was highway robbery at pick No. 46 in this year’s draft. Sione Takitaki, a former edge defender turned off-ball linebacker at BYU, earned an 88.6 run-defense grade in 2018, ranking tied for 13th among qualifiers. He also earned a 75.9 coverage grade across 365 coverage snaps in 2018. PFF wasn’t nearly as high on ‘Bama linebacker Mack Wilson as others in this year’s draft, but he was still a value pick at No. 155 for the Browns. Wilson checks a lot of boxes in that he’s as a former five-star recruit coming out of Alabama, but he’s yet to prove he can turn his limitless potential into results on the field. In his last two years with the Crimson Tide, Wilson earned sub-72.0 overall grades.
Cornerback Greedy Williams has playmaking tools but can struggle with transitional movement. Because of that, and because of his 6’ 2” size, he’s better suited to match up to bigger receivers, which makes him a nice complement to last year’s fourth overall pick, Denzel Ward, who has the unusual traits demanded for matching to smaller, quicker receivers. In the third round, Sione Takitaki was an interesting choice for the simple reason that the Browns, assuming they’ll re-sign productive middle linebacker Joe Schobert, don’t have an opening at linebacker. This pick is all the more perplexing given that thumping first-and second-down linebacker Mack Wilson was taken in the fifth round.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation, Grade: C+
The Browns started by jumping up a few spots to No. 46 to take LSU cornerback Greedy Williams. Considered by some the best cornerback in the draft, Williams has length and ball skills. He fell into the middle of the second round, though, because of his tackling. The Browns followed up at No. 80 with BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki, a relentless player who was lined up at multiple spots. The third round seemed a little early for him, though. At No. 155, the Browns got one of the better players on Day 3 with linebacker Mack Wilson. He isn’t overly physical but has athleticism. Cleveland needed depth more than starters this year, so there’s not a ton to get excited about.
Mark Maske, Washington Post, Grade: B-
The Browns were in the unfamiliar position of tweaking a strong roster instead of trying to launch a rebuild. Their first-round pick went to the Giants this offseason in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. They’re certainly fine with how that turned out. Getting CB Greedy Williams midway through the second round was another solid move by GM John Dorsey.
While is can be fun to place a grade on what the team does over three days in April, the true grades won’t become clear until the action starts this fall, head coach Freddie Kitchens told clevelandbrowns.com:
“All of this is good, but this is not going to win us any games. This is not even going to win us a quarter. It is not going to do anything for us but set us up for failure if we don’t have our head on straight and we are ready to play football because the games are going to be won and lost in September. All of this other stuff is fluff. It is just things for people to talk about in April and May. You are going to have a different narrative come September, and that is when we want to control the narrative, not in April or May.”
Now that you’ve seen what others have said about the Browns draft, it’s time to have your say:
How do you grade the Browns 2019 draft class?
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