The Browns have kept us guessing for months. Various names surfaced as possibilities for the No. 1 pick, from Sam Darnold, to Saquon Barkley, to Josh Allen, and now to Baker Mayfield. It was widely reported in recent days that Cleveland was debating between Allen and Mayfield. It appears as though the Browns have made their choice.
Scot McCloughan believes Mayfield is the next Brett Favre, and Mayfield has the accuracy and mobility John Dorsey covets. Also, Josh Allen's offensive tweets can't have helped matters, and I wonder how much that factored into this decision.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Josh Allen, QB - Both Adam Schefter and Dan Patrick have reported that Mayfield is in the conversation. In fact, Patrick's sources told him that Darnold is not in consideration to be the top pick. Mary Kay Cabot reported the same thing Wednesday.
2. Sam Darnold, QB - Darnold may not be out of the picture just yet.
This is exactly why the Browns should select Saquon Barkley first overall. It's absolutely mind-boggling as to why they'd risk losing out on the best player in the class when they won't be missing out on one of the top three quarterbacks. I could understand it if they had the first and eighth picks, for example, but Nos. 1 and 4 allow them to do the logical thing and go with Barkley and then whichever quarterback is left over (Cleveland likes all three.) If they can't trade down from No. 4 overall, it'll be a complete disaster.
Fortunately for Cleveland, a trade is possible in this scenario. The Browns can take a player who makes more sense. With Mike McGlinchey off the board, they can select the best cornerback in this class, Denzel Ward, whom I mocked to the Browns at No. 4 several months ago.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Mike McGlinchey, OT - McGlinchey is the other trade-down target, but I'm not confident he'll be available at No. 12.
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
It's kind of crazy that the Browns are able to obtain Calvin Ridley at this spot. They need one more receiver, as evidenced by their interest in Odell Beckham Jr. Ridley would fill that need.
The Browns acquired several players recently, but they did manage to trade one away. That was Danny Shelton, a run-plugger. Larry Ogunjobi will take his place, but Cleveland needs an interior rusher to start next to Ogunjobi.
Rd. 2, Pk. 32
Will Richardson, OT, N.C. State
The Browns should probably target a left tackle earlier than this to replace Joe Thomas, but better late than never.
Rd. 4, Pk. 14
Mock is currently being worked on. Last updated 1 month(s) 28 day(s) ago
Rd. 5, Pk. 13
Duke Ejiofor, DE/3-4DE, Wake Forest
This is a nice value pick for the Browns, who may look into adding some edge-rushing depth.
Rd. 6, Pk. 1
Will Clapp, G/C, LSU
The Browns could stand to add some offensive line depth, and Will Clapp can play multiple positions on the front.
It sounds like Cleveland is settled on taking the best player in the 2017 NFL Draft, which is Myles Garrett. He has been the consensus best player all year and and has been No. 1 on my big board since the start of the 2017 NFL Draft process. I think the Browns are wise to take him and not reach for a lesser player.
In 2016, Garrett totaled 33 tackles, 15 for a loss, 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Against UCLA in the 2016 season opener, he collected three tackles, 1.5 for a loss and one sack going against a quality left tackle in Conor McDermott. Garrett is lightning fast off the edge with natural strength to bull rush offensive tackles. He is a freakish athlete with the potential to be one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL.
Immediately after arriving at Texas A&M, Garrett began dominating college football. The 6-foot-4, 272-pounder took the game by storm in 2014 as he was an impact-making defender for the Aggies from Day 1. The fast and athletic Garrett was a force on the edge as a quarterback hunter. He had 11.5 sacks as well with 53 tackles and 14 for a loss. That sack total broke the NCAA freshman record previously set by Jadeveon Clowney.
In 2015, Garrett kept it going, racking up 59 tackles with 12.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, two passes batted and an interception. He has blinding speed off the edge and is a natural pass-rusher. Garrett could be the best prospect in college football and could have been in the running for the No. 1-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft if he had been able to declare.
Rd. 1, Pk. 1
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Days ago, I reported that the Browns had spoken with the Jets about trading from No. 12 to No. 6 in order to get Trubisky. I think Cleveland is motivated and has the ammunition to get Trubisky. I think the Browns will get it done and get their guy.
Trubisky looks like a second-round caliber prospect, but that doesn't preclude teams from reaching on him in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft. Some teams graded Trubisky in the second round, but teams across the league believe he will go in the top 10. One team picking in the top 10 that could take a quarterback told me Trubisky is the only quarterback prospect they would take that high. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was very efficient in 2016, flashing good decision-making and good accuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field. He has a decent, but not great, arm and some athleticism. However, across the history of the NFL, there have been very few 1-year college starters who turned into good pro starters. His accuracy going downfield is also something he needs to improve.
The junior beat up on some weak secondaries in 2016, but it still is impressive that he had three straight games throwing for over 400 yards without throwing a single interception. On the season, Trubisky completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
Cleveland could use more weapons for its young quarterback.
Scouting sources compare Samuel to Percy Harvin and think Samuel could be a special play-maker in the NFL. The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder would probably fit better as primarily a receiver in the pros given his build. In 2016, Samuel had 74 receptions for 865 yards with seven touchdowns. On the ground, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry for 771 yards and eight scores. Samuel has explosive vertical speed and is a play-maker with the ball in his hands.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
The Browns need a third cornerback, and a bigger one would allow them to move Joe Haden inside to the slot when they go to the nickel.
After losing Vernon Hargreaves to the NFL, Wilson replaced him as Florida's starter alongside Jalen Tabor. Sources with multiple teams graded the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Wilson as a second-rounder, and team evaluators feel that Wilson has above-average speed to go along with his size. In 2016, he totaled 33 tackles with six passes broken up and three interceptions. Sources also feel Wilson has above-average feel and awareness. He is good at running the route to prevent separation with the size to take on big receivers.
Wilson is a longer press-man corner for the NFL with ball skills, but scouting sources say that there are aspects that Wilson needs to improve. He grabs at receivers a lot and could get called for pass interference penalties in the NFL. They also say that he lacks instincts and has some limitations in scheme. Thus, he will need some development. Wilson's best fit would be as a longer press-man corner.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Marcus Williams, S, Utah
The Browns grab a safety upgrade.
Williams had a quality 2016 season with 64 tackles, three passes broken up, five interceptions and two forced fumbles. He put together a tremendous 2015 season for the Utes with five interceptions, five passes broken up and 66 tackles. It was a breakout sophomore season for Williams after he recorded 59 tackles with an interception as a freshman. The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder could use more strength and weight to tackle in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
The Browns could use more tight end talent. Here's a nice value pick.
As a senior, Sprinkle had 33 receptions for 380 yards with four touchdowns. He played well as a junior as part of a pair with Hunter Henry, recording 27 catches for 289 yards with six scores. As one could expect from playing for Arkansas, Sprinkle (6-5, 252) is a decent blocker, but he also has some off-the-field concerns.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
The Browns could use some competition at three-technique, and this could be a nice value pick.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan
The Browns grab more receiving competition.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Matt Dayes, RB, N.C. State
The Browns haven't taken running back depth yet, and it would make sense to grab a tailback on Day 3.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
The Browns could use take multiple quarterbacks with the all the picks they have in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson
The Browns could use take multiple safeties to upgrade that weak position.
Cleveland has to get a franchise quarterback and, as the process evolves, I think they will be less and less confident that their signal-caller of choice gets to pick No. 4. Teams definitely like more than one quarterback in a given draft, the Texans really liked both Deshaun Watson and Pat Mahomes last year for example, but with Andrew Luck's injury and Indianapolis potentially trading the pick, the Browns can't be confident that even two quarterbacks they like will get to the fourth pick. That could be too big of a gamble for John Dorsey, Alonzo Highsmith and Eliott Wolf. They're a trio of skilled quarterback evaluators who build teams around the trigger man. Thus, I'm switching this to a quarterback. <br> <br>
I think the Browns like Darnold a lot and value him this high. Josh Rosen has said he doesn't want to go to Cleveland, and I think his intangibles aren't a fit for the team's brain trust. From what I'm hearing, the Browns like Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and also really like Lamar Jackson. Overall though, I think Darnold is their preference. But it still is early in the process, so a lot could change in the weeks to come. I could see Cleveland being inclined to take Darnold because of his intangibles, mobility and accuracy. He possesses that trio of traits, which are all important to Cleveland's decision-makers. <br> <br>
In his final season with USC, Darnold (6-3, 221) had issues with interceptions and decision-making. He also said he had issues with confidence at one point. Darnold is an accurate passer without an elite skill set, but he has developed good anticipation, feel and timing. Darnold is a rhythm thrower who would fit best in a West Coast system to maximize his ability to throw accurately in the short to intermediate part of the field. He also can throw accurately on the run. Routinely, Darnold can use his feet to buy time while keeping his eyes downfield and delivering accurate passes while under pressure. In every game at USC, Darnold would make some impressive throws that were very rare for a college quarterback. <br> <br>
In 2017, Darnold completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. A general manager, who scouted Darnold in person this year, told me that they like the "it factor" that Darnold displays. That general manager thinks there's nothing wrong with Darnold's throwing motion or arm strength, and that Darnold has some similarities to Philip Rivers. Other scouts feel that Darnold is a good prospect with the ability to be a plus starter, but they don't think he's elite, and on tape, they say he is not better than Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson were before the 2017 NFL Draft. In speaking with general manager in early January, he thought Darnold was worthy of a top-10 pick. <br> <br>
Darnold was very impressive as a redshirt freshman in 2016 and impressed evaluators even though he wasn't being graded yet. Along with a quality skill set, teams like his intangibles and moxie. Darnold completed 67 percent of his passes in 2016 for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The 6-3, 221-pounder led USC on a nine-game winning streak to end that season.
The first non-quarterback is off the board! I really want to call this my second lock in this draft but simply cannot trust that Cleveland will do the right thing and select the best overall prospect in the draft. GM John Dorsey will without doubt be receiving phone calls from other general managers around the league wanting to trade up for a quarterback. But before he accepts one of the many offers that I'm sure they will implore, there are still several elite prospects in contention at this number four overall pick that may not be available if they trade down outside the top ten including Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson, and Bradley Chubb. These three prospects have to be the three possible options at this juncture and would all three be excellent picks as they are probably the top three overall prospect in the 2018 draft class.
Barkley had an excellent career at Penn State as he consistently ran all over the Big Ten. He won numerous accolades such as Freshman All-American and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Barkley had a knack of really showing up in the biggest game, against the greatest competition (see his games against Ohio State and USC). Barkley also showed his blessed athleticism during the NFL combine this year running a 4.4 forty, a ridiculous 20 reps on the bench, and 41 inch vertical jump. Plainly put, Barkley made himself look like a superhuman surrounded by mere mortals. Barkley has the ability to be a every down runner at the next level and an above average receiver out of the backfield. He is a talent that opposing teams will have to gameplan for every week and will ease coverage away from the other weapons Cleveland will dispose every week in Tyrod Taylor, Josh Gordon, free agent acquisition Jarvis Landry, sophomore tight end David Njoku, oft-injured Corey Coleman, and switchblade back Duke Johnson. John Dorsey's top priority in the draft has to be to acquire talent on the offensive side of the ball to help a rookie quarterback whenever they see the field. Barkley is the answer to accomplishing just that, while taking a page out of the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles playbook, by forming a strong three headed monster in the backfield with Barkley, Hyde, and Johnson.
for my first mocks,.. I thought this was where the real draft would begin,... but now, I don't think so. at 4 Cleveland is going to take their highest rated player between Barkley / Chubb / Nelson.
I've had them taking Barkley for a while,.. but I'm not so certain. For me, Barkley is the best player in this draft. Chubb is a close second. Nelson likely third. The Browns signed Carlos Hyde. There would be ample opportunities for both Hyde and Barkley, but the Browns aren't a team trying to move deeper into the playoffs. They have a LOT of needs across this team. They went 0-16 this year,..so developing depth a position that is now 'solid if unspectacular' doesn't seem to make much sense.
The exact same case can be made for Nelson. They are solid to very good across the o-line. Nelson would be an upgrade & provide greater depth, but this teams needs starters & players,... not so much depth.
The Browns are seemingly set as well at DE,.. but I don't really think they believe it to be true. They have Garrett at RDE. However Ogbah played well,.. but not exceptionally, at LDE. He is also questionable for the start of training camp with an injured foot. It isn't actually very clear just how long he will be out, nor how he will be able to perform when he does get back.
The Browns signed Chris Smith,. but he is more of a rotational player to swing between both ends (as really is Ogbah).
I think the Browns will go with Chubb at LDE (his most natural position). This would give them a potentially dominating DL, and help their secondary and linebackers. Selecting Chubb would be one of 'those' selections, that doesn't just improve one position, but improves their whole defense as a unit.
As good as Barkley is,... you don't pass on elite pass rushers,.. they almost never make it into FA, and are second only to QB's in rarity.
With the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Cleveland Brown select Josh Allen - Quarterback - Wyoming. The debate here at this pick is between three guys: Allen, Saquon Barkley, and Sam Darnold. Even though Barkley undoubtedly has the superior talent, he plays a lesser valued position. There were rumors that Cleveland wanted to try to lure the Giants into a trade up into the number one spot so they can select their ideal quarterback prospect Sam Darnold, similar to the Chicago-San Francisco trade last year for Mitchell Trubisky; however, New York seems completely content on selecting Barkley if Darnold is not available. Therefore, Cleveland will select one of the two quarterbacks with the first selection next Thursday. (Neither is my top rater passer in the draft, Allen is my #4, stay tuned)
Josh Allen is the pick here for John Dorsey because of his ideal size, arm strength, and upside. Allen has been linked to Cleveland throughout this entire draft process even though mainstream media wants the public to believe that Sam Darnold is the bonafide, unquestioned number one overall selection. Allen has questions about his accuracy and decision-making since he played with inferior talent at Wyoming against division 1-A opponents, but competent GMs like Dorsey and quarterback "gurus" like head coach Hue Jackson must certainly believe they have to ability to atone for these minor deficiencies and capitalize on his upside. Although, one can argue that Cleveland has to choose the safest selection due to their terrible track record drafting the most important position in football, Cleveland acquired talents such as Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Chris Hubbard, and Carlos Hyde to be able to ease the prospect in with enough talent around him to not completely throw him to the dogs, left to die like so many before him. Allen would also have the luxury of redshirting his rookie campaign similar to Patrick Mahomes last year (who Dorsey had a hand in drafting while in Kansas City). Cleveland is still kicking themselves for passing up on the talent that was Carson Wentz two years ago, Allen most closely emulates Wentz in terms of size, collegiate competition, and arm talent and has been the go-to comparison throughout this draft process. Dorsey has a past of selecting players with high upside, especially at the QB position (see Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes), which is why Allen will be Cleveland's quarterback of the future and redemption trip for all their missteps in the past.
Cleveland's safety play this year has been poor. Here's an upgrade to go with Jabrill Peppers. <br> <br>
Fitzpatrick has 52 tackles, one interception, seven passes broken up and a forced fumble in 2017. He has played really well, doing everything that could be asked of a safety. Fitzpatrick is a superb center fielder, covering receivers deep downfield. He is also fast in pursuit, tackles well in space at the second level, can come down into the box, and is able to play man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers, plus help out his cornerbacks. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has excellent size and some natural cover skills. Sources have said that Fitzpatrick is a prototypical free safety for the NFL. They say he has good size, speed, athletic ability and high football I.Q. in a play-maker. <br> <br>
In 2016, Fitzpatrick recorded 66 tackles with seven passes broken up and six interceptions. He was dominant at times for Alabama, splitting time between corner and safety. Fitzpatrick had a superb 2015 season for the Crimson Tide. The freshman totaled 45 tackles with two sacks, 11 passes broken up and two interceptions - both returned for a touchdowns.
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Rd. 1, Pk. 1
Baker Mayfield, QB
*** All reports indicate the Browns will select Baker Mayfield first overall, so I'm going to publish a grade for it. If Mayfield is not the pick, I'll change this grade. ***
This "C" grade doesn't have much to do with Mayfield, as it does the position Cleveland is selecting. The Browns are the first team since the 1992 Colts to have both the top pick and another choice in the top five. They have more top-five selections in this draft than wins over the past two years! They needed to do something special with this pick, and this is not it.
I really like Mayfield. He's a great leader and a hard worker. He's very accurate and mobile. He fits what the Browns want. However, the Browns legitimately liked three quarterbacks in this process. Considering the amount of time it took them to make this decision, there can't have been much of a difference between Mayfield, Josh Allen and Sam Darnold. Thus, the correct move would have been selecting Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall. Barkley would have completely transformed Cleveland's offense, much like Marshall Faulk did with the Rams in 1999. Passing on a special player like Barkley is a mistake.
There's a very small chance Barkley will be available at No. 4 (the Giants will need to trade down or select a quarterback.) However, if the Browns take Barkley first, there's a 100-percent chance one of their three preferred signal-callers would be available at the four spot. This would be a completely different situation if the Browns had, say, the first and ninth picks. They would absolutely have to take a quarterback in that scenario. But they're in such a unique situation, and their inability to take advantage of it seems like an egregious error.
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Rd. 1, Pk. 4
Denzel Ward, CB
I have no problem with Bradley Chubb as a prospect. He should be terrific as a pro. The problem is financial. The Browns will have to give three $100 million contracts in five years. Thus, it made no sense for him to be the pick, so I'm not giving the Browns a "D" for Denzel Ward.
I like Ward as a prospect as well. My issue with this is that the Browns did not trade down. They had offers from the Bills, and they may have been able to take Ward at No. 4. Cleveland surrendered way too much value by not moving down.
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Austin Corbett, OT/C
I like Austin Corbett, and I'm not sure he would've made it far in Round 2 had the Browns not taken him. He doesn't fill an immediate need on the offensive line unless the Browns think he can play left tackle. Center J.C. Tretter didn't perform very well last year, so Corbett is a solid option. Corbett, at the very least, will provide strong depth on the interior, as he can play all three positions. There's a chance he could be the blind-side protector as well.
Rd. 2, Pk. 3
Nick Chubb, RB
There were better running backs available than Nick Chubb, including Derrius Guice and Ronald Jones, but Chubb is a fine selection at No. 35. The Browns had to add a running back to their backfield, as they won't be able to rely on the injury-prone Carlos Hyde. I don't have an issue with this pick, but the Browns could've done better.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Chad Thomas, DE/3-4OLB
Chad Thomas has nice size, but is inconsistent, often looking clueless. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of a third-round pick. I thought Chad Thomas would go somewhere in Rounds 4-6, so this seems like a pretty egregious reach. It's not a Millen, but it's close.
Rd. 4, Pk. 5
Antonio Callaway, WR
The third day of the NFL Draft is a time to take risks, and that's certainly what the Browns are doing here. Antonio Callaway is supremely talented, and he may have been a first-round pick if he were completely clean. However, he has major off-the-field issues. If he stays clean, he'll be great. However, I don't know if pairing him with Josh Gordon is the best idea.
Rd. 5, Pk. 13
Genard Avery, ILB
Mike Mayock mentioned that Genard Avery has a knee problem of some sort. This was news to me, but the Browns apparently aren't too concerned. Avery was seen as a fourth-round prospect who would have to be limited to two downs because of his struggles in pass protection. He should be a force versus the run, however.
Rd. 6, Pk. 1
Damion Ratley, WR
There were better receivers still available, but I think this is a decent pick. Damion Ratley is a quality route-runner who should be able to contribute sooner rather than later. This pick makes sense for the Browns.
Rd. 6, Pk. 14
Simeon Thomas, CB
The Browns have completely stumped me. I didn't have Simeon Thomas in my top-600 rankings. We talk to several teams, and no one has ever mentioned him. This has to be a reach, or maybe the Browns have some super-secret intel no one else has.