The 2023 NFL season is officially over and we have crowned the Super Bowl champions but for the other 30 NFL teams, the focus has been on the offseason and the NFL Draft is one of those key focal points of the offseason. The Cleveland Browns have eight selections in this year’s draft.
Last week, all eyes were on the Senior Bowl and the East/West Shrine Game as coaches, scouts, and front office personnel got their first good up-close look at the potential draft prospects before the NFL Scouting Combine next month.
In this week’s mock scenario, the Browns have made two trades using the PFF Mock Draft Simulator. First, they sent cornerback Greg Newsome to the Detroit Lions for one of their third-round picks (73rd overall) and then they traded back from the 55th overall pick with the San Francisco 49ers for their second and third-round selections (64th and 98th overall).
Pick 64 (Via San Francisco): Ricky Pearsall, Wide Receiver, Florida - The Browns will be looking to add to the wide receiver room this offseason whether it’s in the draft, free agency, or a trade. Pearsall impressed at the Senior Bowl along with his senior season with the Gators showing off his speed and ability to separate against cornerbacks. Entering a room with a solid veteran presence like Amari Cooper will help make the transition smoother for Pearsall.
Pick 73 (Via Detroit): Javon Solomon, EDGE, Troy - I’ve always said that you can never have enough pass rushers and despite the Browns having a loaded defensive line with talented pass rushers, why not add another? Solomon is undersized and is probably better suited as a 3-4 outside linebacker but if Jim Schwartz can utilize him in his Wide-Nine package, having him come off the edge opposite Myles Garrett or Ogbo Okoronkwo, it would be a solid addition to an already talented group.
Pick 86: Christian Mahogany, Guard, Boston College - The offensive line is a group that can’t be ignored this offseason because of the changes potentially coming due to coaching and scheme but because the group is getting older and expensive. Joel Bitono is nearing retirement and Wyatt Teller is out of guaranteed money on his current deal. Expect the Browns to address the future of this line sooner, rather than later.
Pick 98: Kris Abrams-Draine, Cornerback, Missouri - With this scenario having the Browns moving on from Greg Newsome, the Browns have added a cornerback in each offseason that Andrew Berry has been in command whether it’s in the draft or signing an undrafted free agent. The trend continues in this scenario by adding the talented Tigers cornerback who has experience on the outside as well as the slot.
Pick 138: Javon Foster, Offensive Tackle, Missouri - Foster is one of my favorite prospects in this class despite being older. He was consistently solid as the left tackle for the Tigers during his five years there and received some strong praise at the Senior Bowl. With Jedrick Wills entering his final year under contract, Foster could be the eventual replacement at left tackle.
Pick 159: Michael Barrett, Linebacker, Michigan - Browns will need to add to the linebacker room this offseason with many from last year’s room hitting free agency. Also with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah entering his final year under contract, don’t be surprised if the Browns add at least one, if not a couple in the draft. Barrett was a disruptive force in the middle of the National Championship-winning defense last season with 65 total tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles.
Pick 205: Frank Gore Jr., Running Back, Southern Mississippi - The Browns will be adding someone to the running back room with Nick Chubb not likely to be ready for the beginning of the 2024 season and Jerome Ford not looking promising last season. Gore Jr. is the son of the former 49ers star running back and he carved his path at Southern Mississippi making some explosive runs gaining 824 of the 1,119 yards last season after contact.
Pick 208: Trey Taylor, Safety, Air Force - The safety is one that Browns fans would think is set in stone heading into 2024 and that might be true but looking towards 2025 and beyond, it’s not set with D’Anthony Bell set to be a restricted free agent and the team will also have the ability to cut Juan Thornhill if he has another lackluster season after being one of the marquee free agent signings last year. Adding another defensive back here lets him potentially carve a path on special teams with the chance to set himself up for a key role in the secondary in the future.
Pick 231: Jared Wiley, Tight End, TCU - The Browns will likely add a tight end in the offseason unless they elect to retain Harrison Bryant who is entering free agency. Jordan Akins could be released in a cap-saving move but it’s still likely the Browns add a developmental body to the room at some point.