Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry currently has a lot on his plate.
From dealing with free agency, working out the trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson and the resulting backlash, and getting ready for the 2022 NFL Draft, which opens on April 28 in Las Vegas, Berry could likely use a little bit of help.
To that end, we jumped on Pro Football Focus’ mock draft simulator* to run a hypothetical draft for the Browns, with the following results.
The first night of the draft opens with “breaking news” as the Browns move back high into the first round by trading quarterback Baker Mayfield, their second-round selection (No. 44 overall), their third-round selection (No. 99 overall) and their sixth-round selection (No. 202 overall) to the Seattle Seahawks for Seattle’s first-round selection (No. 9 overall) and their second-round selection (No. 40 overall).
Wilson’s game is lacking in polish, but some scouts believe his play strength and run-after-catch ability make him a more valuable draft commodity than Ohio State teammate Chris Olave. He’s a linear, inside/outside receiver with trouble eluding press cleanly and is very inefficient with routes over the first two levels. His long speed is good, but the acceleration burst is what makes him such an effective separator in space. He might not be smooth getting there, but he has eye-popping ball skills when it’s time to go make a play. Wilson needs to work on his ability to consistently uncover on all three levels, but he has the traits to become a very good WR2 if he tightens up areas of concern.
With the wide receiver position taken care of, the Browns open night two by selecting Oklahoma defensive end Nik Bonitto. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler writes that:
A three-year starter at Oklahoma, Bonitto played the stand-up “Rush” linebacker position in former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s 3-3-5 base scheme. Despite never leading the Sooners in sacks, he consistently finished among the FBS leaders in pressures, and his 28.9 percent pass rush win rate was No. 1 in 2021, according to PFF. Bonitto is an active athlete and shows a natural feel for shaking blockers thanks to his agility and instincts to attack the pocket from different angles. However, he can be engulfed by size on the edge and must weaponize his hands to consistently defeat NFL blockers. Overall, Bonitto is a hybrid player and must develop his play strength to find a full-time role, but he affects the quarterback and uses his quick feet and fluid body movement to keep blockers from centering him up. He projects best as a stand-up linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Kellen Diesch is a sufficient-level athlete who plays with good balance and body control. In the run game, he isn’t heavy at the point of attack. He also doesn’t earn leverage easily due to his taller frame. This hinders his ability to get vertical movement. He is athletic enough to get to the second level and to get out on the perimeter in the screen game. In the passing game, he is fluid in his pass set. He lacks overall power in his hips and may be a little under-bulked. Anchoring in the NFL may be an issue for him at this stage and he could afford to be more consistent with regard to keeping his hands within the frame of the defender. He has good length and range on the perimeter. He doesn’t have explosive power in his punch, but it’s sufficient. In the NFL, he can develop into a rotational tackle who may have some swing ability if he adds bulk, mass, and overall strength to his game. He would be best served playing in a zone-blocking scheme and projects with more upside in this type of offense.
Day three starts off with the Browns taking a chance on a developmental quarterback with the selection of Bailey Zappe from Western Kentucky in the fourth round with pick No. 118 overall. According to NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein:
Stocky pocket passer with eye-popping production in high-volume passing attacks. Zappe is a confident passer willing to challenge both man or zone coverages on all three levels. His release quickness and arm strength are both below average and he might not work with the anticipation or decision-making prowess to overcome those areas of concern. He’s unimpressive physically and lacks precision accuracy, so finding work as a backup might be a longshot despite the impressive career production.
The day gets a bit quiet for the Browns as they do not pick again until the seventh round when they address special teams by selecting San Diego State punter Matt Araiza with pick No. 223 and Texas placekicker Cameron Dicker with pick No. 246.
Araiza is set to be one of the highest-selected punters in recent NFL Draft history. A versatile kicker who can flip field position and force the opposition to account for him while nailing game-winning field goals with regularity is hard to find. As a result, there’s an ever-growing feeling that his floor in the 2022 NFL Draft will be the fifth round. His ceiling could be much higher.
As for Dicker, NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein writes that:
Four-year kicker whose single season as a punter in 2021 was fairly impressive. Dicker has the leg for kickoffs and field goals of 50-plus yards, but he needs to kick with more consistent accuracy to stand out. He appears to have legitimate dual-role potential, which adds roster value. He has good size and athleticism and can tackle when needed. Versatility improves his chances of making a roster as a Day 3 pick.
Overall, the Browns selected two high-end players in Wilson and Bonitto, added depth with Diesch and Zappe, and took a shot at fixing the kicking game with Araiza and Dicker.
PFF gave the draft a B grade, but that was brought down a bit by just C+ grades for Araiza and Dicker, which seems a bit harsh.
So what do you say Browns fans? How would you grade this simulated draft?
*Mock draft simulator is for entertainment purposes only.
How would you grade this 7-round mock draft?
This poll is closed
A: Andrew Berry would be proud
B: Decent enough, buddy boy
C: Joe Banner is jealous
D: You are nearing the Mike Lombardi Zone
F: Don’t quit your day job