While the Cleveland Browns have not been officially eliminated from playoff contention, only four teams have, that day is probably coming quicker than anyone wants. The Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers, were eliminated from the AFC North race in Week 15 but both teams won their games.
Cleveland doesn’t have their first-round draft pick but, hopefully, QB Deshaun Watson continues to show improvement over the final three games to show fans he was well worth the trade cost. The Browns do have a slew of selections that could impact the 2023 NFL season.
Between the end of Week 15 and the actual NFL draft, a lot will happen. Three games will be played, injuries will happen, players will develop or regress and, then, free agency will open up. A lot of changes between now and then but mock drafts are a fun way to start to think about the team and prospects.
Today, we used Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator to bring you this Browns mock draft:
DT Siaki Ika, Baylor - A big-bodied interior defensive lineman that can hold up against the run but has enough movement skills to help against the pass and chase things down. A big guy in the middle will be key to Cleveland’s defense taking the next step especially if Perrion Winfrey develops.
TE Sam LaPorta, Iowa - While David Njoku has played well, Harrison Bryant has been mostly a disappointment. Adding a well-rounded tight end to provide depth and develop quickly could be huge for the offense.
LB Mohamoud Diabate, Utah - Back to the side of the ball that needs the attention, Diabate is an interesting speed linebacker who can play well in coverage but has explosive traits coming forward as well.
S Trey Dean III, Florida - It will be interesting what happens with John Johnson III next year but adding a player who can play centerfield to allow Johnson and Grant Delpit to roam more would be huge to finish the backend of the defense.
WR Trey Palmer, Nebraska - A fast receiver with some size and versatility to play inside or out, Palmer could develop into the role the team thought Anthony Schwartz would play. Palmer caught 71 passes for 1,043 yards with nine touchdowns this year in Lincoln after transferring from LSU.
C Alex Forsyth, Oregon - It is anyone’s guess who is the starting center for the Browns next year with Nick Harris coming back from injury and Ethan Pocic set for free agency. Forsyth is an experienced player that could step in quickly if needed.
DE Brenton Cox Jr., Florida - Continuing to try to help the defensive line, Cox has the tools to be a productive player against the run and as a pass rusher. With Chase Winovich set for free agency, adding another young rusher late makes sense.
S DeMarcco Hellams, Alabama - Why not replace one Alabama safety (Ronnie Harrison) with another in Hellams. Hellams provides a similar skillset as Harrison, a downhill player, and provides depth at the safety spot.
What do you think of our Browns mock draft after Week 15? Address the right positions with the right players?