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Browns first-round mock draft roundup (4/4/21)

Fixing the defense still leads the way as the Browns continue preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft.

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL Draft is now just 25 days away and with Cleveland hosting the event, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam used last week’s annual owners meeting to hype the three-day party.

The draft will run from April 29 to May 1 across several locations in downtown Cleveland, including FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Great Lakes Science Center.

The league also previously announced that:

  • There were be an “Inner Circle” of fans chosen by each of the 32 teams. These fans will have a front-row seat to the NFL Draft Main Stage.
  • Headlining acts will perform each day on the Main Stage, inspired by being next to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
  • The NFL Draft Experience will be the event that is free and open to the public, and will take place inside FirstEnergy Stadium during all three days.
  • Part of the Fan Experience will allow fans to be able to go on the field at FirstEnergy Stadium and kick a field goal, take personalized digital photos, run the 40-yard dash and vertical jump against players on LED screens, see a Super Bowl ring on display, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

All that activity had Haslam pumped up at the meeting, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told cleveland.com:

“He was noticeably excited to talk about how great the draft is going to be. He said, ‘You can see and feel the excitement building in Cleveland.’ He talked about what a great opportunity it is to showcase how important football is to Ohio, and how the city of Cleveland will be a great backdrop to the draft.’’

The highlight of draft weekend will naturally be when the Browns are on the clock, with their first-round selection currently slated to be at No. 26.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry is widely expected to use that pick, as well as a few others, on help for the defense, so let’s take a look at which player some of the various mock drafts are targeting for the Browns.

NCAA Football: Miami at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Todd McShay at ESPN (paywall):

Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami - Takkarist McKinley isn’t the Browns’ badly coveted impact pass-rusher opposite Myles Garrett — he has totaled just 4.5 sacks in 18 games over the past two years. Rousseau opted out in 2020 but posted 15.5 sacks in 2019 with the Hurricanes — second in the nation to Chase Young. He needs some polish to his game, but he has a quick first step and the versatility to kick inside at times. He fits a need and comes with good value here at No. 26.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Trapasso at CBS Sports:

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State - Another drop stopped in the mid-20s. Micah Parsons begins his career as the leader of Cleveland’s linebacker room and can get to the passer on third downs.

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl-Georgia vs Cincinnati Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Hayden Winks at Yahoo Sports:

Azeez Ojulari, DE, Georgia - Cleveland is an analytically-driven organization that’s likely to value younger prospects from big schools at valuable positions more than other NFL teams. Ojulari checks all of those boxes in addition to filling a team need as the long-term EDGE2 next to Myles Garrett. The Browns have been flirting with edge rushers since GM Andrew Berry showed up.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Florida Gainesville Sun-USA TODAY NETWORK

Cynthia Frelund at NFL.com:

Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky - I love what the Browns have done so far this offseason. To be honest, we aren’t talking about it enough. Inserting Davis into the middle of the defense is a potentially huge upside add.

Austin Gayle at Pro Football Focus:

Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama - Barmore’s consistency at Alabama is one reason to be concerned about him as a high-end prospect, but his performances in the Crimson Tide’s bouts with Notre Dame and Ohio State in the College Football Playoff are some of the best we’ve seen from any defensive tackle in this class. Buying into the high end and continuing to develop Barmore (RS So.) at the next level is a worthwhile investment for the Browns at No. 26, especially knowing the lack of depth in the 2021 defensive tackle class.

NCAA Football: Washington at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Davis at USA Today:

Joe Tryon, DE, Washington - They made excellent upgrades to the secondary in free agency, but a 22nd-ranked pass defense could still use help – which explains the ongoing recruitment of Jadeveon Clowney. But you can never have enough QB hunters, especially when one – All-Pro Myles Garrett – will be dealing with double teams.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Drae Harris at The Draft Network:

Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State - Cleveland has long searched for an edge rusher to pair with Myles Garrett. They get the freakiest athlete in the draft in Jayson Oweh. While he’s still raw as a pass rusher, having Garrett assist him with technique while getting most of the attention will free Oweh up with one-on-one opportunities to flourish.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Baylor vs Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Rolfe at Pro Football Network:

Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma - Adding a pass-rush partner for Myles Garrett should be a focus for the Browns in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. A player of Ronnie Perkins’ talent could prosper opposite Garrett, who will draw the attention of opposing offensive lines. Perkins and Takkarist McKinley will make a fascinating rotational duo on the Cleveland Browns’ depth chart.

What do you think, Browns fans? Does one of the players mocked to the Browns get you going? Or do you have your eye on someone else?

Let us know in the following poll and have your say in the comments.

Poll

Who should the Browns select in the first round?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
    (195 votes)
  • 25%
    Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
    (273 votes)
  • 14%
    Azeez Ojulari, DE, Georgia
    (153 votes)
  • 2%
    Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
    (29 votes)
  • 11%
    Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
    (125 votes)
  • 0%
    Joe Tryon, DE, Washington
    (8 votes)
  • 8%
    Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State
    (92 votes)
  • 3%
    Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahmoa
    (35 votes)
  • 14%
    Someone else (say who in the comments)
    (158 votes)
1068 votes total Vote Now