NFL free agency is made to solve immediate needs. The NFL draft is made to build the roster for the long term.
With the trade of pick #42 for WR Elijah Moore and pick #74, Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry did a little bit of now-and-later work. Moore is just 22 years old, dealt with terrible quarterback play with the New York Jets and was a deserved second-round pick just two years ago.
His ability to get open quickly while also being a deep threat is the best of both worlds for the Browns.
Berry has been ultra-aggressive in addressing needs in free agency including adding or retaining starters at free safety, defensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker and center. Cleveland also added a second tight end and depth around the defense and special teams.
With an early guess at what the Browns 53-man roster looks like, we didn’t even take into account the team’s eight draft selections that they have available to improve the roster. At this point, there may be only five or six roster spots up for grabs anyway.
Using Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft simulator, here is a look at what a Browns mock draft could look like after all the moves that have been made:
LB Jack Campbell, Iowa - While the team has brought back some players, a long-term fit next to Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is still a need. Campbell is that fit with his size, football IQ and ability.
DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin - A lot of midwest in this draft with Benton joining Campbell out of the Big 10. Benton is a very good nose tackle that would fit nicely next to Dalvin Tomlinson and help stop the run and eat up blockers when QBs drop back to pass.
DE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State - McDonald is a little light but he rounds out the defensive end room with another player who can rush the passer from the wide-9 spot. A little older but a productive player in the fourth round.
CB Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville - I will almost always find a way to add Clark to this roster. A feisty slot cornerback who plays bigger than his size, Clark rounds out the cornerback room perfectly.
TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan - While Jordan Akins has been added, Harrison Bryant hasn’t really developed as the team may like. Schoonmaker gives him competition for a roster spot or all four, along with starter David Njoku, get kept.
RB Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State - Vaughn is a productive player who is not very big. He is great at using his size to his advantage, strong, can pass protect and is a great route runner.
WR Puka Nacua, BYU - Just a player at receiver. He makes things happen with the ball in his hand and is a good route runner.
DT Byron Young, Alabama - An athletic player with long arms and traits that could translate at the NFL level or end up on the practice squad.