Sayre Bendinger of NFL Mocks has put together a mock draft for this week, which can be found here. I am going to go ahead and evaluate the picks he made for the Cleveland Browns.
With the 6th pick in the draft, he has the Browns picking Johnny Manziel, quarterback from Texas A&M. The Browns need a quarterback, yes. I do not believe the Browns want any part of Manziel for any number of good reasons. His size and arm strength are both problematic in the AFC North and windy and cold conditions. He can put some zip on the ball when he has his feet under him and shifts his weight properly, but when he improvises, which is what people love about him, the ball dies in the air. In cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore in November and December, this is not going to work out well.
For me, I have no interested in a redshirt sophomore. Experience is huge for the quarterback position and should he declare, he will only have 26 games under his belt. In addition to that issue, he has an astounding 334 carries in the 25 games he has played with a bowl game still in front of him. That averages out to 13.34 attempts per game, which is basically a running back work load. He takes an unbelievable amount of big hits and has gotten dinged up in college, let alone the NFL.
Here is the problem. This is the nightmare scenario for the Browns in the draft. Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr are gone and the Browns have to decide if they like a guy like Blake Bortles from Central Florida, Brett Smith from Wyoming if they declare or seeing if they can get a guy in the second round. The hope is the Browns could avoid the situation by trading up to get Carr or Bridgewater, but should this happen, the next move is hoping the Browns can then trade down if at all possible.
Given this is a mock draft and there is no trading, I will make the slight reach here and grab Mike Evans from Texas A&M. I do not feel great about it, but he brings more size and strength to a team that has a good amount of it and Evans coming in as a potential third option behind Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron could make for a potent combination.
With the 23rd pick in the draft from the Indianapolis Colts, Bedinger has us taking Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State. The idea the Browns could go with a corner is not unreasonable. In a league where three corners has really become the standard, it is not a bad idea to value them highly. If I was going to take a corner, I would jump on Ifo Ekpre-Olomu from Oregon. When I evaluated Gilbert over at With the First Pick, I came up with a number of issues I had with Gilbert. People love his size and speed, but he is not physical, does not do much for attacking the running game and will make some bad reads and false steps. His extremely aggressive nature when attacking the football can produce results, but to me, Olomu gives me everything Gilbert does but he is better at it. His feet are exceptional and he would be a fantastic weak side corner across from Joe Haden with Buster Skrine sliding inside to the nickel spot. Having said all of that, I would not take a corner that high and the history of Ray Horton says they will not take a corner that high.
I have pushed this pick before and I will do it again. I would go ahead and grab Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the tight end from Washington if he declares. I love what Cameron gives the Browns and the idea of pairing him with a 6’7″ 276lb power forward who can be a dominant blocker and go out and make plays as a receiver would be fantastic to me. When you consider the fact that the Browns would have Gordon, Cameron and Evans in the fold, Jenkins would give them an obscene amount of size and make it extremely difficult for opponents to match up against them. Gordon and Cameron are the #1 and #2 options with talents like Evans as the #3 option and Jenkins as the fourth option who can help the running game.
Another option with this pick would depend on where the Browns see Mitchell Schwartz’s long term future. Assuming he stays at right tackle as opposed to guard, the other option I would seriously consider with this pick or the second round pick should he somehow last that long is Gabe Jackson, the mauling left guard from Mississippi State.
Jackson is just a big mean man who likes to overpower opponents and create space in the running game like a bull dozer, but the key with Jackson is he can move. Here is my full length breakdown for Jackson, but he is the one guard I have seen in this class that warranted a first round grade for me. The key with Jackson is he is big enough where he can play right guard as a true mauler, but he is athletic enough to play left guard. That would allow the Browns to pull him to the right and run behind him as well as the right side of the line and just power their way down the field. That is far more valuable than a pure right guard. Hopefully, Garrett Gilkey can develop into that franchise right guard with all of his athleticism and strength.
The Browns would then have to address quarterback with the second round pick, which is anything but an ideal situation. There are a few guys who could potentially be developed in that situation. Should the Browns not get a quarterback in the first round, the quarterback I would keep an eye on is Stephen Morris from Miami (FL). Here is a full breakdown of him, but the short version is that Morris has all of the tools including quick feet and athletic ability but needs to be more consistent. He fits what the Browns want in a quarterback and the big question with Morris is how much teams feel his issues are quickly fixable versus how much feels like a long term issue. In that scenario, Morris would be competing with Brian Hoyer for the starting job but more likely sitting for a little while. Considering that Hoyer is recovering from an ACL tear, that is a risky plan.
As a heads up, I will be doing a mock draft for next week in the same manner as this one over at With the First Pick, so people can rip apart my thoughts.