The 2023 NFL Draft officially begins for the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the teams in the NFL tonight at 8:00 PM ET. Once again, the Browns do not have a first-round pick, and they seem unlikely to have the assets to move up into the first round. Nonetheless, we will still cover any rumors in-depth throughout the day. Be sure to check out all the latest draft-related odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
We will have all of your Browns-related coverage on the draft here at Dawgs By Nature throughout the weekend. This thread will act as a “live blog,” with updates about the latest small rumors, picks, or trades involving Cleveland or other NFL teams. You should also use the comments section as your NFL Draft open thread! (Newest updates will be at the top of the live blog below)
Browns NFL Draft Live Blog
12:05 AM: Here are the players remaining on the Browns’ Top 50 Big Board:
11:14 PM: Right after the first round ends, we’ll post an updated version of the DBN Big Board to show who is remaining in the Top 50. We’ll have a new Day 2 live blog up Friday morning too.
9:45 PM: Just for fun decided to post our Thursday mock draft while the first round was going on tonight. Check it out here.
8:44 PM: The Houston Texans took over the beginning of the draft. After already having the No. 2 overall pick and taking QB C.J. Stroud, they pulled off a surprise and traded up to the No. 3 pick to select LB Will Anderson Jr. This is as close to a tie as the Browns will have in the first round, because the Texans dealt Cleveland’s original first-round pick (No. 12 overall) to the Arizona Cardinals in order to move up.
The Texans trade: Pick 12, 33 and a 2024 first round pick, 2024 3rd round— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 28, 2023
The Cardinals trade: Pick 3, pick 105.
QB Anthony Richardson went to the Colts at No. 4.
8:22 PM: With the 1st overall pick, the Carolina Panthers selected QB Bryce Young. Our community mock draft is already imperfect. The Houston Texans are up next at No. 2 overall.
8:10 PM: The 2023 NFL Draft is officially underway, in the city of the team that won the Super Bowl (a first!). We’ll try to offer some updates on picks as they come in.
8:00 PM: QB Deshaun Watson joined a Twitter Spaces tonight. If you want to listen while the NFL draft is going on. Just an FYI, when he talks about “Burney” he doesn’t mean Bernie Kosar. “Burney” is a part of his agent/marketing team. Watson talked about Hue Jackson texting him before his draft, Nick Chubb going to get his carries and a lot of other topics:
7:15 PM: We are less than an hour away from the first round of the draft kicking off! Not to be a party pooper, but the Browns can’t fathom moving up into the first round:
I asked #Browns GM Andrew Berry what it would take for them to move up in the draft:— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) April 27, 2023
"It would probably be a sign of the apocalypse...it would have to be something super surprising, a super unique opportunity...it's something that I can't even fathom or envision right now."
6:45 PM: There have been some rumors that the Cardinals and Titans could be engaging in trade talks for swapping the No. 3 and No. 11 picks for WR DeAndre Hopkins; although Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network questions Hopkins’ involvement in such a deal:
While the #Titans have had conversations about a potential trade up to No. 3 -- among other spots -- they have not had conversations centered around star WR DeAndre Hopkins, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 27, 2023
5:10 PM: After signing Lamar Jackson to a massive deal and signing Odell Beckham Jr. to a big one-year deal, the Baltimore Ravens might not be done. Trading for DeAndre Hopkins has been rumored but Courtland Sutton is also a possibility:
#Ravens entered draft with around $4M in cap space, including Lamar Jackson's $32.4M franchise tag number, will be lessened with new deal. Space for another WR?— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 27, 2023
Baltimore was very close to a Courtland Sutton deal earlier this offseason.
3:36 PM: Here is a better shot of those artistic NFL team graphics on signage in Kansas City:
2:45 PM: Around the league, there is strong belief that GM Andrew Berry will select at both 74 and 98. Trading up, out (for 2024 pick(s)) or for a veteran is expected with at least one selection, if not both. “Shocked if he sticks” with both of those picks. As was relayed prior to the start of free agency, Berry has been making a lot of calls and being aggressive and creative in his discussions with other teams. (Note: Almost no chance the Browns can get back into the first round so this is more so for tomorrow unless it is a trade for a veteran.) - JM
12:10 AM: Trying to speculate who the Browns might select this weekend? Looking back at the past four drafts is a good place to start, as this breakdown from Kent Lett Platte (@MathBomb) shows the type of players that have caught Cleveland’s attention.
The #Browns have a rep for targeting top tier athletes, but that's largely due to their early round tendencies, which haven't deviated from #RAS in years. Later rounds, tough, they've picked from all walks. pic.twitter.com/exnT98Nw96— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 27, 2023
10:27 AM: One player that the Browns are interested in is Boise State safety JL Skinner. Skinner tore his pec muscle in February and may not be available for most if not all of this season. A second-round pick value, Cleveland would have interest late in the third or in the fourth round if he is still available. With eight picks and not a lot of roster spots, putting Skinner on IR for a season would not be a big problem and a very good value for 2024. - JM
10:20 AM: Been sending some messages around to different folks connected with the league (the blessing of doing this for a decade). The league sees very little difference between pick 15 and late second, early third. Unless a team is in a win-now situation, highly values a specific player more than anyone else in the league or gets a discounted rate, the feeling is that trading up is not likely tonight unless it is into the top 10. - JM
10:15 AM: Browns fans of a certain age will recognize the player in the brown suit next then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as “Touchdown” Tommy Vardell, Cleveland’s No. 1 selection in the 1992 NFL Draft.
How many players can you name from this photo taken during the 1992 NFL Draft without looking it up? pic.twitter.com/0yeKRleA4G— FB_Helmet_Guy (@FB_Helmet_Guy) April 27, 2023
Like many of the personnel moves made at that time by the duo of head coach Bill Belichick and general manager Mike Lombardi, Vardell never lived up to the hype as he only scored three rushing touchdowns in four seasons with the Browns.
Vardell would go on to play eight seasons in the NFL and did refind his scoring mojo in Detroit as he rushed for 12 touchdowns while playing for the Lions in 1997 and 1998.
9:48 AM: Here are some other fun pictures that I’ve come across related to the set up in Kansas City from the Union Station KC account. On the left is a peek at the green room inside of Union Station. On the right is some form of artwork commissioned for the draft, with the Browns being represented by a dog in the bottom right corner.
And then there is a birds eye view from Tuesday, giving a real-life perspective of the map that we showed earlier:
9:30 AM: This is an interesting look from Mike Band of Next Gen Stats at what each team’s first-round draft board might look like based on several indicators, including the organization’s draft philosophy, perceived needs and the players linked in pre-draft reports. Would be more interesting if the Browns were on there, but what are you going to do?
My final 2023 NFL Draft Cheat Sheet is live!— Mike Band (@MBandNFL) April 27, 2023
Here is a look at what each team’s first-round big board might look like based on pre-draft reports, team needs, and organizational philosophies. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/Ag8f5Gktod
8:15 AM: Browns GM Andrew Berry discussed one lesson he’s learned as an NFL executive, which was the alignment of the organization and being able to harmoniously work together, even if you don’t agree on everything. Although the on-field results haven’t been up to par yet for Cleveland, it has been nice to have less offseason drama as far as front office changes go:
8:10 AM: On Day 2 of the NFL Draft, Browns fans have voted, and 86% of them want GM Andrew Berry to focus on the defensive side of the ball (specifically DT, LB, and DE).
You can also see in the final Top-50 of our Browns Big Board (as voted on by the DBN Community), there are quite a few defensive tackles and defensive ends on the board. Reminder: quarterbacks were excluded from the big board, since it is unlikely the team tries to draft one early after mortgaging their future on Deshaun Watson.
7:50 AM: Continuing with the layout of the draft in Kansas City, here are two maps that outline where Union Station, the National WWI Museum and Memorial, Draft Theater, and NFL Fan Experience are all located. The image on the left shows the border of the entire area, while the image on the right is a zoomed in portion of the South Side area that is labeled as the NFL Fan Experience.
You can view bigger versions of the maps here.
7:00 AM: Good morning, Browns fans, and welcome to our annual NFL Draft live blog! Each year, I like to begin the live blog by taking a look at how the host city has set-up for the draft, including the draft stage. Let’s see how the layout looks for Kansas City:
A couple of notes, according to Forbes:
- This is the largest draft site ever, bigger than the sizes of Cleveland and Las Vegas (the last two draft hosts) by a million square feet.
- The draft stage is outside and in front of Kansas City’s Union Station. In order to engulf the entire exterior of the building and still show off the three famous windows of the Union Station, the stage had to be built big — roughly the size of a football field. There are also a ton of video screens inside the draft stage.
- Although the stage was meant to highlight Union Station, some locals have pointed out that the stage is kind of shielding/hiding it instead.
- There is a water fountain in the foreground of the draft stage.
- Construction began on March 27, which flashes me back to 2021, when I was regularly going down to the draft stage in Cleveland to update people on the progress over the course of a month or two. The stage was supposed to be all finished on Tuesday, April 25.
Here is an up-close shot of the stage during the evening: