The road to the NFL draft is a long one. So many things happen between the end of the NFL season and the NFL draft in April that predicting what the Cleveland Browns will do with their first selection, in the second round, this early is darn near impossible.
We try with our mock drafts.
The “draft starts in Mobile” with the Senior Bowl but NFL free agency, the NFL combine, interviews, medical evaluations and trades will all have a dramatic impact on NFL teams before April’s NFL draft.
Our Barry Shuck is at the Senior Bowl providing as much coverage as possible from the spread-out event that includes two different teams practicing at the same time. Shuck provided great insight into WRs Brenden Rice and Roman Wilson having great days as well as Toledo’s CB Quinyon Mitchell showing he belongs.
Another name for Browns fans to remember is WR Ladd McConkey. Along with Rice and Wilson, McConkey put his name at the top of minds with his performance. Quick feet, good change of direction and solid hands combine for a nuanced route runner that could fly up draft boards.
Going into today, McConkey was the 50th-ranked player but 10th ranked wide receiver on the consensus big board. In NFL Mock Drafts, he is generally selected late in the first round or sometime in the second.
For Cleveland, that would be too early unless they trade up. McConkey’s ceiling in the draft will depend on his measurables at the combine. A slower-than-expected 40-yard dash time to go along with only being around six feet tall, less than 200 pounds and already 22 years old could sink the Georgia Bulldogs receiver into the late second or third round.
At the Senior Bowl, McConkey showed off all the traits that scouts love to see in one-on-one drills:
With a lot of talent surrounding him at Georgia, McConkey’s college stats don’t jump off the page with career highs of 58 receptions, 762 yards and seven touchdowns all coming in 2022.
For the Browns, finding a complimentary receiver that can play inside and out and threaten a defense deep while also having quickness to break off routes would be ideal. This year’s draft is deep in receiver talent with McConkey just one name for Cleveland fans to keep an eye on.