Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry has done a solid job filling some of the team’s roster holes during free agency.
The team fixed the right tackle position with Jack Conklin, added depth along the defensive line with Adrian Clayborn and Andrew Billings and at linebacker with B.J. Goodson, and signed stop-gaps for the secondary with cornerback Kevin Johnson and safeties Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph.
But there is more work to be done during the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft as the Browns still need a solution at left tackle, longterm help at safety and linebacker, as well as some more depth on the interior of the defensive line.
Those needs were apparent in the latest three-round mock draft from Michael Renner at Pro Football Focus, who starts things off with the Browns addressing left tackle by selecting Georgia’s Andrew Thomas with the No. 10 overall pick:
Thomas’ familiarity with left tackle gives him the nod here over Jedrick Wills. Thomas allowed 37 pressures on 1,075 pass-blocking snaps in his college career.
That selection is pretty much a no-brainer as it will likely take Berry all of 10 seconds to make the call if Thomas is available when the Browns are on the clock - although with Alabama offensive lineman Jedrick Wills also available in Renner’s mock, Berry could take a few more beats before turning in the pick.
As far as Thomas goes, he does need a bit of refining, as Lance Zierlein points out at NFL.com:
Three-year starter and current bell cow of a line that is a consistent front-runner for the Joe Moore Award. He’s played both tackle spots but may get first crack at playing on the left side, due to the dearth of talent there. Thomas is a gritty player with above-average recovery talent to “get the job done” when his process breaks down. He’s a Day 1 starter who comes in well-coached and technically savvy, but occasional leaning, lunging and inconsistent knee bend in pass pro could be isolated and attacked by pass-rush wolves looking to feast if he doesn’t get those areas cleaned up.
With the left tackle position taken care of, Renner moves on to Round 2, with a surprise selection of Ohio State defensive tackle Davon Hamilton:
With Larry Ogunjobi’s play slipping, Hamilton can be the anchor in the middle of the Browns’ defense. He earned a 90.8 run-defense grade over the past two seasons.
Hamilton is not a bad selection, necessarily, although using the No. 41 overall selection on him feels a bit high. There is a lot to like about Hamilton, however, as The Athletic’s Dane Brugler points out in his draft guide (subscription required):
A one-year starter at Ohio State, Hamilton was the nose guard in former defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley’s 4-3 scheme, lining up primarily over the A-gap. He played his best football at the right time and put together a career year in 2019 that was a product of improved confidence, conditioning and on-field maturity. Hamilton put an emphasis on developing his get-off prior to his senior year and it showed on tape, attacking blockers with his natural power. He benefited from OSU’s heavy line rotation and never reached 40 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in a season. Overall, Hamilton is a powerfully built lineman with violent, physical hands to stack the run and beat up interior blockers, projecting as an early-down NFL starter who should immediately work his way into a defensive line rotation.
While the Browns can use some more help on the interior of the defensive line, they do have a solid rotation in place with Sheldon Richardson, Ogunjobi and Billings. Plus with safety Kyle Dugger (Lenior-Rhyne), safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota) and linebacker Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech) still on the board in Renner’s draft, selecting Hamilton feels like a reach at this spot.
With the first of Cleveland’s two third-round picks, Renner addresses the linebacker position with Oregon’s Troy Dye at No. 74 overall:
He may not be the sexiest pick, but Dye is far more fluid in coverage than Mack Wilson and was far more productive at the college level. Dye graded above average in coverage in all four seasons as a starter for the Ducks.
Dye was a starter from his freshman season with the Ducks and led the team in tackles for four consecutive seasons, so he knows how to get to the ball. But there are some questions about where Dye would fit at the NFL level, as Zierlein points out at NFL.com:
It’s easy to fall in love with the tackle production, football IQ and sideline-to-sideline range but his slight frame and difficulty keeping weight on could become a major stumbling block for him in the way teams view his pro potential. His skill set and recognition are best suited along the inside, but due to his size, he might need to ply his trade as an outside ‘backer in a 4-3 defense. He has three-down talent with the aptitude to cover or blitz and is in line to go from plus-backup to eventual starter if he can keep good weight on his frame.
If the Browns were to go with a linebacker here, a few options that were still available include Malik Harrison (Ohio State), Logan Wilson (Wyoming), Justin Strnad (Wake Forest) and Davion Taylor (Colorado).
Renner uses the Browns second pick in the round to select guard Jonah Jackson from Ohio State at No. 97:
The Browns addressed the tackle position, and now they set their sights on the interior, where Wyatt Teller’s days could be numbered at right guard. Jackson has started at both right (2018) and left (2019) guard the past two seasons and been excellent in pass protection.
Trying to fix the right guard position is admirable given that Teller is the last man standing from last season’s mess and is not very good. And Jackson has some nice upside to his game, as The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid highlights:
It’s rare to see offensive lineman transfer within the conference and go on to become a headliner of the their position group. That’s exactly what Jonah Jackson did in 2019. Exiting Rutgers and entering Columbus, he was a highly sought after target, but he was still forced to earn his keep and he did exactly that. Carrying over from the program, there are plenty of bad habits and tendencies associated with his game. Keeping his body in-sync and marrying the two parts together are the biggest area he must improve upon, but there will be plenty of interest in him as an early Day 3 selection who has the upside to be a depth piece early on into his career that may turn into a starter down the road.
Overall, it is not a bad three-round mock for the Browns. Thomas alone probably seals it as a win, and while the other three selections are debatable, the logic behind selecting each player is mostly sound.
What do you think, Browns fans? Would you be happy if the first three rounds of the draft played out this way?
I would grade this 3-round mock draft:
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