Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey has been busy reshaping the teams secondary this off-season.
Gone are safety Jabrill Peppers and cornerbacks Briean Boddy-Calhoun and E.J. Gaines; arriving are safeties Morgan Burnett and Eric Murray.
There is still more work to be done, however, as Burnett and Murray are not exactly longterm solutions at safety, and the Browns could still use another cornerback to pair with Denzel Ward.
That appears to be the same line of thinking for the folks at Pro Football Focus, who in their latest three-round mock draft have the Browns focusing on the secondary.
The Browns are currently not scheduled to make their first selection of the 2019 NFL Draft until round two, and when they do PFF mocks them to select Washington safety Taylor Rapp with the No. 49 overall selection.
Rapp, who is 6 feet and 208 pounds, has a résumé filled with honors, as his draft profile at NFL.com highlights:
He also was named the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and a Freshman All-American for his efforts throughout the season. He started 12 of 13 games played as a sophomore, garnering first-team All-Pac-12 honors (in academics as well as on the field) and posting 59 stops, 3.5 for loss, two sacks, and an interception. Multiple All-American honors came his way in 2018, as did another first-team all-conference nod after he made plays around the line of scrimmage (59 tackles, six for loss, five sacks) and in coverage (two interceptions, five pass breakups while also finding himself around the ball (three fumble recoveries).
Rapp may have some issues in the pass game, but his work against the run is something that should appeal to the Browns, as The Draft Network highlights:
Taylor Rapp is a bit of a throwback, he has terrific skills in run support and it’s easy to fall in love with his motor and splash plays in pursuit. But in coverage, Rapp presents several concerns, primarily surrounding his ability to cover the necessary ground to be an effective defender in either man or zone coverage. Rapp lacks mobility and short area change of direction skills, he’s going to be a more effective presence in the box as compared to playing 12-15 yards off the ball.
Cleveland will be back on the clock in the third round (selection No. 80), and PFF mocks them to select cornerback Jimmy Moreland from James Madison.
Moreland, who is 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, appeared in 56 games for the Dukes, making 44 starts, and was a consensus First Team All-American in 2018. He finished his collegiate career with a school record 18 interceptions, six of which he returned for touchdowns, also a school record. He was also voted the Colonial Athletic Association’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after totaling 56 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, 10 pass breakups and a blocked punt.
The only blemish is that he missed the 2015 season after being dismissed from the team after being charged with petty larceny. Given a second chance, however, Moreland rejoined the Dukes in 2016 and made the most of his opportunity.
Acording to The Draft Network’s Trevor Sikkema:
Due to his smaller size, Moreland gets away with more contact than I usually see with other cornerbacks, but he uses that to his advantage. Whether it’s keeping pace with a receiver down the field or jamming them near the line of scrimmage, Moreland is not afraid to get physical with bigger players.
There is so much dog in Moreland. There aren’t many players his size who have a willingness to press like Moreland did, as shown above, and once he did he stuck with his man, got his hand in there, popped the ball up and even took it away himself.
Moreland is such a fun player to watch because the area of his game that should be a big disadvantage for him is one that he takes head on and often conquerors — or at least he did at the FCS level. He likely won’t be able to have that same type of success against NFL guys, but he’ll still be all over them whenever he can be.
What do you think, Browns fans? If Dorsey closes out day two of the draft with Rapp and Moreland, would you be happy?