For the final mock before the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, I decided to take some risks,= based on composite rankings and some trends that I’ve been seeing as far as where certain players have been projected. Picks may move up and down, guys may climb or drop on every team’s board and there is a risk by all of them that someone may not be there when that next pick comes. To quote the “founder” of McDonalds,; Ray Kroc, “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of the business.” With that said, I’ve definitely taken some risks here both pick and player wise, which could definitely turn the Browns around.
Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M
College Stats : 141 Total Tackles / 47 For Loss / 31 Sacks
Look, there’s no reason to get cute here. If the Browns stay at this spot, they need to take Garrett. He is THE elite pass rusher in the draft, thought of as a more talented version of Jadeveon Clowney at his age. He has a great work ethic both off and on the field, having compiled all these stats while graduating from college in three years. He is quick and concise when moving in space, while his body and arm length make him a nightmare to stop. The other plus is that he is not willing to shy away from pain, having played well despite dealing with a high-ankle sprain for a large part of the season. If there are any needs at all for Garrett they would mainly be gaining consistency at the line when working against the run and the development of additional techniques and moves to break free at the pro level. However, nothing in his history on-field or off should stop the Browns from putting him in a uniform.
Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State
College Stats : 45 Total Tackles / 4 Interceptions / 9 Passes Defended
Okay, okay, I get it. You probably think I’ve gone insane at this point. I don’t blame you. The Browns have needed a QB for ages and I just selected two defensive players with our first two picks. However, the QBs have been dropping in the player rankings and the Browns also need a lot more help on defense. Lattimore doesn’t have a lot of tape, but when you get to see him, he impresses. He is very good in man coverage, able to match a receiver’s routes as though he was riding on his shoulders. Not only that, when a man does fake him off, he has the speed and confidence to recover quickly and pick him back up. He also has some very impressive hands, whether reeling in a pick or keeping a receiver in range. The biggest things for Lattimore are learning to not bite of head and body fakes, improving his footwork and tackling over hitting.
Deshaun Watson QB Clemson
College Stats : 10168 Passing Yards / 90 Touchdowns / 32 Interceptions
Realistically, the Browns will need to move back up into the first round to take a QB, if they want one. That being said, let’s all pretend that teams draft QBs responsibly and reasonably. Watson has had a lot of opportunity to show off his athleticism, flashing high levels of speed and elusiveness. While he has been through knee surgery while in college, he returned from it with the same level of explosiveness as before. He has a high amount of both mental and situational awareness and has exemplary ball placement to his receivers that is only slightly diminished when throwing from the run. The biggest knock against Watson is the question of learning an NFL playbook. Clemson ran plays that had him using pre-determined reads, so teams will need to be sure he can operate without that before he sees the field. All things considered, I would prefer a QB at this pick (whether we move or not). None of the 2017 draftees appear to be ready to be pushed into service on day one.
Obi Melifonwu SS UConn
College Stats : 349 Total Tackles / 8 Interceptions / 16 Passes Defended
One of the first things people notice about Obi Melifonwu, after his name, is his build. Standing at 6’3, 221 lbs, he possesses a gigantic wingspan that is very useful at the position. He has very fluid motion and acceleration, combined with great ball focus, tackling and bodying of opposing players.The biggest training needs for him involve his conservative play. He is prone to hesitation until he sees the throw in a desire to limit his mistakes. This leads to a handiness that can and will draw the attention of officials.
Curtis Samuel WR Ohio State
College Stats : 2535 Total Yards / 9.1 Yard Average / 24 Touchdowns
Samuel is a big play threat anytime he steps on the field and is a veritable multi-tool of a player. He has shown the toughness necessary to make catches in a crowd, with great hands and breakaway speed at the college level. While rushing he excels at making the correct reads, showing good decision making with or without the ball in his hands. While some might say that his size is the biggest issue at 5’11 and 197 lbs, it shouldn’t mean more than pushing him to the slot. In truth, his versatility in college is my main concern, as his overall athleticism let him get away with average route running that will need to improve in order to fool defenders.
Jake Butt TE Michigan
College Stats : 1646 Total Yards / 138 Receptions / 11 Touchdowns
While some might shy away from a player with a recent injury this high, I feel this would be a great spot to grab the player once considered as the top TE In the draft. Butt has soft hands, capable of making most catches coming his way look easy. He possesses an excellent focus on contested catches, using his body to pull the ball down. However, one asset that isn’t nearly as sexy is his blocking ability. He has graded out as above average when blocking on runs and unlike another TE on the team (I’m looking at you, Barnidge), he has no compunctions about throwing his body into defenders if it can help his team. While he is not overly fast, the main thing he’ll need to work on is refining his blocking techniques to avoid being penalized. The added benefit to this pick is that with Seth Devalve and Gary Barnidge on the roster, Butt will have a decent amount of time to recover from his injury before being placed on the field.
Ryan Glasgow DT Michigan
College Stats : 77 Total Tackles / 13.5 For Loss / 4 Sacks
In his four seasons at Michigan, Glasgow has shown high-level awareness and instincts, combined with a high motor and excellent length. These attributes have combined to make him very difficult to block without cheating out on the college level. While he will need to work on his techniques and moves when he gets to the pros, his biggest need is improved confidence in his moves. The only likely reason he didn’t post better numbers in college is due to his hesitation, as he has been seen as unsure of how to proceed when he makes it through the line.
Donnel Pumphrey RB San Diego State
College Stats : 7444 Total Yards / 6.4 Yards Average / 67 Touchdowns
While Pumphrey is coming into the pros as a RB, I feel like he may find more success as a slot receiver in the long run, only occasionally being dropped into the backfield as a runner. He does not possess breakaway speed, but his smaller size lends itself to hiding behind the line. While he is good at finding space, he struggles when being called upon to block, which would limit his usage in the run.
Corey Clement RB Wisconsin
College Stats : 3371 Total Yards / 5.6 Yards Average / 38 Touchdowns
Part of my argument for taking Clement here, as we have two running backs with back to back compensatory picks, is due to the conference and system he played in. Clement played in a NFL style system at Wisconsin, learning from Melvin Gordon, before taking over the reins in 2016. Clement is very good at breaking tackles and shrugs out of a high amount of arm tackles. He also has good hands and has shown the capacity for creating after the catch. While he is not a standout in any category, his biggest concern is fumbles as he had five in 2016 as the full time starter.
Stacy Coley WR Miami
College Stats : 2218 Total Yards / 166 Receptions / 20 Touchdowns
Coley grades up as an athletic slot receiver, possessing great hands, a high top speed and the willingness to be an effective blocker. His speed makes him very good at getting away from defenders in crossing and post routes. He is very good at tracking the ball and making difficult adjustments to bring it down. The main concerns with Coley seem to be health and desire. He has dealt with hamstring issues at the U, leading to durability worries. The biggest worry is his desire to play on Sundays, as he is viewed as relying more on his talent than a good work ethic.
Sam Tevi OT Utah
Tevi has a frame that is perfectly built for the NFL, with excellent power behind it to back him up. He started as a DT but made the switch to OT for the good of the team. He has played both right and left side, flourishing on both. While he is on the O-line now, he still shows a hint of the aggressiveness he played with as a DT. While he is built for the NFL, his play will need to improve before he sees the field regularly. He is occasionally slow with his hands, and tends to play with his head down, leading to poor hand placement and missed stops against defensive linemen.