With the Cleveland Browns working hard to find that elusive first victory of the 2016 season, we would like to look ahead to the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns haven’t given up on this season and neither have we. Yet, with injuries abounding, we wanted to at the very least catch a glimpse of some of the possible talent the Browns can continue to amass by using their probable 12 picks next April.
We realize that the Browns brain trust will most assuredly make some deals that will alter their draft picks. Our mock was done assuming no trades and pick numbers are our best estimates.
Let’s get started.
With the first pick in the draft, your Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett DE, Texas A&M. As the media and many fans moan at the reality that the Browns just passed on their chance at selecting the top QB in the draft. Hue Jackson confidently smiles having added unquestionably the best player in the draft.
1.20 (from the Eagles)
The Browns need help at DB. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington may be the best pure corner in this draft. Right now, he’s rated right in this area. That could change, but this draft is also very deep at corner. The Browns may decide to go with another DB if Jones is off the board. The other option here would be to use this pick on a QB. If Hue and the brain trust decide that someone like Mitch Trubisky or Davis Webb simply hold too much promise, then I expect this pick to be used on one of them or included in a package to trade up.
Dan Feeney OG IN would be a great choice to aid an offensive line that needs help, but he doesn’t pack the star power of the dynamic CB from USC, Adoree’ Jackson. Jackson may be the best athlete in the entire draft. In the end, the Browns make the right choice and select Jackson. He’s a player with world class speed who can help on defense, offense and special teams.
2.20 (from the Eagles)
The Browns finally select their first offensive lineman when they find a player who will fly up draft boards. Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell will ultimately take over for Joe Thomas at left tackle. He isn’t projected this high now, but he will be by April. Be sure to snicker when you see him going in the fifth round elsewhere.
The Browns will likely have many options here, but their focus should be on dynamic defensive help. Josh Harvey-Clemons out of Louisville is an intriguing strong safety and is a possible hybrid player due to his size (6’5 212). He definitely has some things to work on including his overall strength, but he could develop into a tremendous weapon for the Browns’ defense. Past off-field issues may have him available here or later in the draft. The Browns should take the chance.
The Browns continue to bolster their offensive line with the selection of Braden Smith, OG, Auburn. Smith is a versatile player who can play center if called upon. With the questions concerning Cam Erving’s future at center. Smith would be a nice addition.
Even with all of the wide receivers taken in 2016, the Browns continue their commitment to adding team speed whenever possible. Stacy Coley, WR, Miami, FL has both the size at 6’1 and the speed to be another difference maker for Cleveland. You simply can’t coach speed. Coley could fit in nicely.
The Browns go old-school here and take the best fullback in the draft. Freddie Stevenson of FSU is a talented blocker and an athletic player. He has the ability to catch the football as well. Fullbacks aren’t drafted often anymore, but Stevenson could be an asset to this team and is a solid pick here. Don’t be surprised if the Browns hammer away with defensive picks for the remainder of the draft starting in the fifth round. They may feel pretty good about their offense once the line is addressed.
5.32 (from Patriots)
Greg Pyke, OG, GA is an outstanding run blocker who needs to work on his pass protection. Inconsistencies in play have him currently ranked in many circles as a third day draft selection. If he’s available, the Browns should take him and develop him. He has played some tackle at Georgia, but projects as a guard in the NFL. His production this season will greatly affect where he goes in the NFL draft.
Much like they did in 2016, Cleveland drafts multiple players at a position of need. Kevin King is listed as a CB for Washington, but he has played safety as well. He’s tall, lanky and fast. He has the tools to be an NFL player, but would most likely need to add some muscle. He could be a nice fit for Browns at FS in time.
Phazahn Odom, TE, Fordham is regarded as a probable 7th rounder at this point, so we’ll just let this pick stand for now. Everyone is going to be talking about this guy eventually. He’s 6’8 and 245. Even playing at a small school won’t keep him from moving up boards. If no one else finds out about him, the Browns would have a steal here.
In all, the Browns add six offensive players and five defensive players. The focus of the draft is finding more high-motor guys who can make a difference in Cleveland. With a draft class like this, it won’t be long before the Browns make some noise not only in the AFC North but in the NFL.