The sting of Saturday’s loss to the Houston Texans will hang out for Cleveland Browns fans for a while. On the other hand, given all the injuries this season, most Browns fans didn’t think the team could win many games (ala the New York Jets) and can just appreciate the magical season that was.
Historically, Cleveland has shifted to NFL draft prep much earlier in the season. This year, due to winning games and limited draft assets, Browns mock drafts haven’t had the same interest or urgency.
Now they do.
GM Andrew Berry does not have a lot of valuable selections in this year’s draft. He has also done a good job of making use of the assets he does have with CB Martin Emerson and WR Cedric Tillman showing flashes early in their careers as the team’s first pick in the last two drafts. Emerson and Tillman were both selected in the third round.
For today’s mock draft, using the Mock Draft Database, we got an early trade offer we couldn’t refuse from the Buffalo Bills to add to our draft stash. The trade really added a lot of picks to help replenish a roster that needs some cheap talent. After that, all other offers were declined so as to not muddy the waters too much.
You can see the details of the trade and all the picks in the picture at the bottom of this post.
On to our Browns Mock Draft the day after Cleveland’s blowout loss to the Texans:
RB Blake Corum - Michigan - Veteran Nick Chubb is unlikely to be ready to play to start the year and Jerome Ford looks far more like a complimentary back. Corum gives the Browns stability to start the year and can prolong Chubb’s time with the team.
DL Brandon Dorlus - Oregon - Berry did a great job of bringing in veterans to help the defensive line but needs to always be building both lines of scrimmage. Dorlus will help on the interior as a pass rusher and can play the 5-technique in Jim Schwartz’s wide-9 system.
LB Junior Colson - Michigan - While Anthony Walker’s leadership is great and he could be brought back, the Browns have one quality linebacker (JOK) under contract moving forward. Colson has been a key part of a championship-level defense. (Hard to have two picks from the Wolverines but college fandom has to get out of the way here)
OL Javion Cohen - Miami (Florida) - A tough statement here but Joel Bitonio’s time with the Browns might be coming to end sooner than we all want. Injuries and snap counts just keep adding up. With extra picks, Berry would do good to bring in a young guard who could start right away if required.
DE Zion Tupuola-Fetui - Washington - As noted above, building the lines is huge especially with Za’Darius Smith set for free agency. In the fourth round and beyond, Berry either looks for players who fell for some reason (Nick Harris, Luke Wypler), high upside (Perrion Winfrey) or a player with a very specific skill set (Cam Mitchell). An older player, Tupualo-Fetui is the latter as a pass rusher.
WR Kaden Prather - Maryland - At 6’3” and over 200 pounds, Prather is a big receiver who catches the ball very well but needs to work on the details of the position. Having Amari Cooper around should greatly help Prather and Tillman and give Deshaun Watson multiple big targets for years to come.
Round 6 (Don’t expect detailed analysis at this point in draft prep, not going to lie to anyone)
TE Dallin Holker - Colorado State - With Jordan Akins not finding footing in Cleveland and Harrison Bryant set for free agency, adding another tight end is required.
LB Jaylan Ford - Texans - Linebacking group just lacks depth unless someone makes a big jump. Add a player from a winning program.
CB Jaylin Simpson - Auburn - If you best anything with Berry it is that he is going to take a cornerback in the draft. Greg Newsome’s future with the team is up in the air but we will get into that later.
RB Dillon Johnson - Washington - Johnson has been a key contributor for the Huskies and, again, add players from winning teams, especially with extra picks and the importance of having depth at running back.
S Sione Vaki - Utah - Special teams players are often defensive backs and receivers. Create competition at the backend of the defense.
What do you think of this mock draft? What areas do you think the Browns should focus on with their picks this year?