2017 NFL Pre-Combine Cleveland Browns Mock Draft

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The Browns have not had the best of success in the draft since returning to the league in 1999. They’ve traded away picks that end up being game-changing players, they’ve drafted guys who don’t stay in the league past their original contracts and they once drafted a QB who was close to eligibility for joining the AARP.

Any way you slice it, this needs to change if the organization wants to move towards something resembling respectability. The Browns need to make smart draft moves and not waste picks on guys who can’t play on Sundays. If the Browns are able to pull down the players that I’ve chosen for them in the first three rounds of the draft, they should start moving towards regaining the winning ways they had in the days of the Kardiac Kids.

1: R1P1
EDGE MYLES GARRETT
TEXAS A&M

I’m not going to mince words or play cute games with the first overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft. The Browns have made poor draft decisions for too long. They’ve traded out of high picks and ended up missing out on game changers. This is where that changes. Garrett is getting acclaim from all over the place and for good reason. He is excellent off the snap and has experience against some of the best offensive lines the SEC can offer. Making this pick gives the Browns a player who can really start to terrorize AFC North quarterbacks who generally spend all day picking them apart.

12: R1P12
QB MITCH TRUBISKY
NORTH CAROLINA

I know, I know. Hear me out on this before you come with the pitchforks. The Browns need a quarterback, and they can’t risk letting it go again. Running with the remnants of RG3 and Josh McCown, with Cody Kessler as your heir isn’t working. Trubisky only has one year under his belt but has shown a lot of talent in that short amount of time. He has a good arm, good size and has shown the ability to make accurate throws under pressure. Presuming the Browns re-sign Pryor, having him and Coleman will make Trubisky more dangerous to opposing defenses. And yes, there is a certain symmetry to taking a guy from Northeast Ohio who wants to play for the home team. Look at it this way, it didn’t work out too badly last time.

33: R2P1
LB RAEKWON MCMILLAN
OHIO STATE

This one was a bit of a personal pick for me, as I am an Ohio State fan. McMillan played very well in his three years at OSU, but a lot of people fear that most of the reason for his talent was due to the more NFL ready guys who played around him. While he does have some issues, I believe that he can be a valuable addition to the team at linebacker or safety for the Browns. He is very good at reading the QB’s eyes and jumping into passing lanes. The other benefit of adding him to the roster is the injection of a player who thrived in a culture of success. He knows what it takes to lead and succeed and he can hopefully transfer some of that to a roster that is desperately in need.

52: R2P20
CB TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE
LSU

I took White for several reasons, not the least of which was Cleveland’s cornerback woes last season. The constant shuffling of the roster at that position made it very difficult to gain any consistency on defense. White quickly moved into playing time at LSU as a freshman and never left the starting spot. He is good at the line, moving well to cover receivers, while also showing that he is willing to cover the RB as well. The biggest knock on him is the lack of weight to make him a more physical threat, something that an NFL strength coach should be able to take care of. The added benefit is that he should be able to thrive opposite Haden, with the eventual ability of becoming his successor.

65: R3P1
OT RODERICK JOHNSON
FLORIDA STATE

The Browns need to work on the offensive line if they are going to keep their shiny, new quarterback alive. Last year’s line was cobbled together from more spare parts than a NAPA auto parts store. Johnson earned a very good reputation protecting the blind side at FSU. I think the best option would be to have him either train under Thomas, in case he decides to leave after 2018 or start opposite him, in an attempt to shore up the right side. He has great size and talent, but is still raw enough to be able to be shaped by the coaches regardless of where he’s placed.

Sleeper Pick / Draft Day Steal
5th-6th Round
RB JAMES CONNOR
PITTSBURGH

Call me a cynic, but I believe the Browns could use a new running back. While we’ve seen flashes from Crowell and Johnson, I believe that adding James Conner to the mix would see him quickly climb the ranks. Conner has great size and strength and is capable of making great moves to the outside. What Conner lacks in finesse, he more than makes up for in power. More than that, he has shown a great amount of resilience and patience. If the Browns can strengthen the offensive line, Conner is capable of punching through the gaps and punishing anyone unfortunate enough to stand in his way.

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