Well, we were all hopeful that draft talk wouldn’t officially commence for at least a few more weeks or perhaps even next month but here we are after a disappointing ending to the 2023 season. Nothing will take the pain away from Saturday’s blowout loss to the Houston Texans but it was still a magical season for our Cleveland Browns.
However, we now turn our attention to the offseason and what lies ahead for the organization which will have to undergo some personnel changes on the roster to keep maximizing the current window with the array of talent on the roster.
Cleveland officially has eight draft picks going into the offseason.
With that, here is our first mock draft of the offseason. In this scenario, I made two trades with the Bills and Panthers, adding an extra third and fifth-round pick.
Pick 61: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Linebacker, Clemson
One of the things I’ve noticed throughout the season was the Browns' lack of athleticism at the linebacker position. No disrespect to guys like Anthony Walker and Sione Takitaki but the ability to keep up with the tight ends and wide receivers is glaring and needs to be addressed.
Pairing the junior linebacker with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would be ideal for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz this offseason while bringing back the veterans to go around the duo as depth. Trotter had solid back-to-back seasons for the Tigers with 103 solo tackles, 12 sacks, and four interceptions. His father was a dominant linebacker in the late 90s and 2000s for the Eagles and the formerly named Redskins.
Pick 88: Jonathon Brooks, Running Back, Texas
The Cleveland Browns have to address the running back situation both for the present but as well as the future. Nick Chubb likely won’t be ready for the start of the season but not ruling it out at the same time because it’s Nick Chubb. Jerome Ford gave a valiant effort trying to be RB1 but it’s clear he’s likely a backup at best and nothing is ever certain with Kareem Hunt although a reunion should be feasible.
Brooks was the best running back on the board at the selection and the Longhorns sophomore certainly answered the bell when finally allowed to be the lead back this season averaging 6.1 yards per carry and rushing for 1,139 yards and ten touchdowns. A knee injury ended his season in early November. He’s got great vision and proved to be a potential three-down back at the NFL level being a solid pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield.
Pick 99: Jermaine Burton, Wide Receiver, Alabama
The wide receiver position has plenty of questions heading into the offseason but once again in this scenario, the Browns address it in the third round for the fourth straight draft. Burton posted career highs in receiving yards (798) and receiving touchdowns (8) in his final season with the Crimson Tide after spending two seasons in Alabama after transferring from Georgia after his sophomore season.
The production has been average throughout his collegiate career but he’s been scouted as an above-average route runner, with great speed, and the ability to separate quickly. Adding him into a room with Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore would help him ease his way into the next level.
Pick 101: Kiran Amegadjie, Offensive Tackle, Yale
The future of the Browns' offensive line must be addressed this offseason both at tackle and in the interior. While Ethan Pocic, Wyatt Teller, and Dawand Jones are cemented as starters for the next several seasons, left tackle and Joel Bitonio’s successor are currently not on the roster. The organization must start searching for the future at those positions if they haven’t been already.
Amegadjie will be a fascinating prospect to watch throughout the process after a solid run for the Bulldogs at left tackle before a season-ending quad injury last fall. He won’t be able to showcase his talent during the pre-draft process but some draft experts have pegged him as a Top-100 prospect and landing him here as a potential successor to Jedrick Wills after the 2024 season could be another mid-round gem for Andrew Berry and offensive line coach Bill Calahan.
Pick 152: Kitan Oladapo, Safety, Oregon State
The Browns don’t necessarily have safety as a need as the room seems to be locked down for the immediate future but depth and development aren’t a bad thing for teams with a heavy payroll.
Oladapo is more likely a box safety at the next level so it’ll be tough for him to make the roster with Grant Delpit and Ronnie Hickman filling those spots now but his physicality and run-stopping ability could catch the eye of Jim Schwartz during the draft process.
Pick 160: Javion Cohen, Guard, Miami (FL)
As I mentioned when explaining the Amegadjie selection, the Browns need to add some depth along the interior of the offensive line with Nick Harris and Michael Dunn both unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Cohen was a solid pass blocker for the Hurricanes but an average run blocker this past season. Overall during his three seasons, he allowed just one sack in 1,395 pass-blocking snaps and one scouting report says Cohen has “excellent footwork” and is an “explosive puller” going uphill to the second level.
Pick 207: Erick All, Tight End, Iowa
The tight end room could undergo some changes this offseason as Jordan Akins and Harrison Bryant are both unrestricted free agents so could be time for some fresh, new blood behind David Njoku who has finally emerged as an elite player at the position.
All is a developmental project from a school that has developed some great tight ends over the years (George Kittle, Sam LaPorta, TJ Hockenson to name a few. He needs some work in his blocking mechanics but has the tools to be a potential sleeper pick on Day 3 of the draft.
Pick 227: M.J. Devonshire, Cornerback, Pittsburgh
The Browns have drafted or signed a cornerback every year in the Andrew Berry era during the NFL Draft and it’s safe to say that trend will continue. The future of Greg Newsome will be something to watch during the offseason and Mike Ford will be an unrestricted free agent.
Devonshire will be playing in the East-West Shrine Game after being a standout for the Panthers. He has a knack for finding the football with eight career interceptions and 30 pass breakups during his three seasons in Pittsburgh.
This scenario used the Mock Draft Database Draft Simulator which you can find here.
How do you hope the Browns use their draft picks this year? Specific positions? Trade for veterans? Best players available?