Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the NFL shield logo and main stage before the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns: With the 5th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Browns select…


Another week, another mock draft to look at; this time, it is from Erik Lambert from NFL Mocks.  He brings us a mock of the first round, so let’s take a look at the two picks he made for the Cleveland Browns.

With the fifth pick in the draft, the Browns took Blake Bortles, the quarterback from Central Florida.  He has not declared yet, so I have not really evaluated him at this point.  The Browns are likely going to take a quarterback, so the position makes sense.  It comes down to which one the Browns want and where the value works out.  It is still unclear if Bortles is worth going that high, but without being able to move up or down, it can be understandably difficult.

With the 25th pick in the draft, the Browns took Cyril Richardsonthe guard from Baylor.  The Browns could go this route and I would not put up an argument if they did.  From a size, weight, speed standpoint, Richardson is great and there is certainly a great deal of potential going forward.  I do have some issues with where he is in terms of his ability to maximize his functional strength.  He can have trouble getting push because of his leverage and plays more like an athletic, finesse guard than a power house.  On one hand, that is intriguing because he is able to move and shield off opponents while still being a 330lb player who could learn to play with more power.  On the other hand, he is not a finished product as a guard.

If I am going with a first round guard, I am taking Gabe Jackson, from Mississippi State.  He is simply a bulldozer who really understands the position and gets a ton of push in the running game while being a great pass protector.  I would actually like to see Jackson lose a little bit of weight and get down from 340lbs to 325-330lbs in hopes that it makes him a little lighter on his feet.  He has shown the ability to play as a left guard, which would make him more valuable to what he can do.  Jackson can pull and lead power going to the right and maul opponents as they go down the field.  Of the players I have broken down, Jackson is the only one that warranted a first round selection at the guard spot.

Much of this selection will depend on where the Browns view Mitchell Schwartz going forward.  If he is to stay at right tackle, then they could be projecting Garrett Gilkey at one guard spot and potentially a player like Jackson or Richardson as the other.  If they like Schwartz as a guard, then they might want to use Gilkey as the other one and obviously tackle becomes a much bigger priority.

If the Browns are in search of another tackle, here is a player that could be a really nice pickup in the second round.  Meet Joel Bitoniowho played left tackle for Nevada the past few years.  He is strong, athletic and just never seems to quit.  Bitonio has shown to be a real asset as a run blocker who works to the echo of the whistle while being more than able to hold his own protecting the edge.  The question with Bitonio is his height and arm length.  He is listed at 6’4″, so there may be questions of whether or not he should kick inside to guard, but he just does his job consistently and effectively.  I am a fan of the way he is able to play with a great mean streak and really works to dominate the opponent but does it with good technique.  It would not surprise me to see him end up going at the end of round 1 if tackles are flying off of the board, which tends to happen.

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  • mitchelldoit

    Gabe Jackson would be a very good pick. I think Bortles though would be another Weedon. We have to draft a QB,it is just such a crap shoot as QB’s can be Heisman winners then tank in the NFL.

  • Letterman007

    If Banner doesn’t keep Mack why would he draft a guard or tackle this high? Look what happened last year with the lineman going early, did anyone of them really impress and were any worth a first round pick! No, that’s why Keenan Allen will be rookie of the year, a second rounder!! They have 2 third and forth round selections to get lineman and Free Agency too. Their second round pick needs to be a receiver, because I doubt Little and Bess will be here next year!! Yes the dropsy twins will be gone and its through their own fault. Running back or tight end at the second round, then fill in your line and a defensive player if there is a good one for a position of need!

    • Pete Smith

      Keenan Allen went in the third round.

      Should Banner let Mack walk, which has not happened yet, it would not have a bearing on the rest of the offensive line. The money to keep Mack would be drastically higher than a pick in the 20′s and depending on their analysis, they might feel comfortable with moving Greco over there. We’ll see what happens.

      I think wide receiver, tight end or both should be picked early, but I expect Little will be kept another year and it would not be a shock at all to see Bess back too. Little’s rookie contract costs next to nothing and he is talented; he should be kept another season. Bess has guaranteed money and this year was an aberration over the length of his career. A lot depends on the family situation he is dealing with and what impact that might have going forward. I would like a another WR or TE that would basically become the 3rd option on this option behind Gordon and Cameron. Little and Bess being the 4th/5th options? Yea, I can definitely with them still being here.

      The overwhelming inconsistency with the quarterback position has had a drastic impact on the entire group of weapons in terms of drops. Bess might be the best indication of that, considering how consistent he has been throughout his career. When it comes down to it, Gordon drops as many passes as anyone else does relative to their amount of production for the team.

      I would not have a problem with a tight end or running back at the top of the second round if the value is right. I think they have a ton of options they could go with just on the offensive side of the ball once they get their quarterback.

      In terms of where I think the value is going to be, I’d probably go with 1a. QB 1b. WR/TE 2. WR/TE 3a. RB/OL 3b. RB/OL but value would ultimately be the determining factor and if they determine Schwartz is moving inside, that could ultimately change things.

      • Letterman007

        Bess may be on a heavy drug testing program soon to stay after that Instagram picture on the deck!! That might cost him his guaranteed money if the contract has the usual wording. I also doubt Ward is back, although I’d like to keep him. If he and Mack go, that’s two more holes in the line up, and how do we replace those and the ones on offense and help an ailing defense too!!

        • Pete Smith

          I’m confused by this notion people have that the front office is just going to let everyone walk.

          Stop with the ailing defense nonsense. They need an inside linebacker, figuring out a good nickel, and probably safety help. Beyond that, the guys that are here are either good or need to develop and get better.

          • Letterman007

            How about our sorry red zone and third down defense. I do lay a lot of that on Horton for being so predictable and unwilling to make adjustments! Also look at Banners track record in the past with Philly. He didn’t pay big money at certain position! Center being one and defensive backs another. The statistics bare it out, this defense was worse than last year, take off the rose colored glasses and look!! Yes they were in games but look at the division, their records are worse, I’ m talking the whole division, they were weaker. The D played some really good games, like the Pats. But over all they didn’t hold up their end, even with a bad offense. Every team in the NFL could have won more games with one or two more TDs.

          • Pete Smith

            How many more games do the Browns win if their offense simply gave the other team a TD or two less?
            Rose colored? I think they are just clean and free of silly narratives and bad information. Do they need to get better at 3rd down and closing out games? Yes. Are they worse than last year or filled with holes? Absolutely not.

          • Letterman007

            So you don’t believe in statistics !? How about records? Are they any better this year than the last 3 years? You hope they are going in the right direction!! We HOPED every year they were and nothing. I sincerely think it’s about time something good happened here, but have been full of hope before and look where it’s gotten us!! Management in this town does not have a good track record! Where was that attacking defense we were promised? We were then told it would get much better after Thanksgiving, did it ? NO, it got worse. If Banner doesn’t resign Ward and Mack, he’s creating more holes, so we’ll wait and see. But we have been promised things already that haven’t happened from this FO !!

          • Pete Smith

            I don’t believe in much of anything without proper context, which much of what you’re using lacks.
            You’re bringing the sins of the past into this regime. The management of the past has nothing to do with this group other than what they were left with.
            I will get into all of this at length after this week’s game is over with.

          • Letterman007

            In other words you take the word of Horton as nothing! This front office and owner have made some promises and we’ll see what happens! But we were told that the defense would be much better and be attacking style with sacks and hurries and such. Didn’t happen!! They have some promise, but they were not that much better as was advertised. I gave you the article from bleacher report to see statistics which proved this! If you can’t believe your eyes then there is no sense communicating with you!! Lay off the kool aide

          • Pete Smith

            You didn’t mention the promises that were broken.
            The defense was better, was attacking, and had had more pressure than last year with a game remaining. There are plenty of individuals who have gotten much better this year on that side of the ball.
            If you want to call that drinking the kool-aid, by all means, but I like the direction this team is going, but there is so much resting on the 2014 NFL Draft.

          • Letterman007

            Yes that was an attacking defense in the jets game!! They allowed a quarterback with a worse rating and more interceptions than just about anyone to look like a world beater. That’s one small example. Ahead all day at Foxborough and the defense lost it in under three minutes. How many examples do you require!!? Neither of these and some others were just offense. It was a combined effort!! Certainly the offense cost us games but there was some help by the D .
            Oh you’d better put D. Jackson on the goodbye list. Thirty one years old and due a four million bonus in March and next year is his last in present contract!! He gone!!

          • Pete Smith

            He’s 30 and he’s worth the bonus for his leadership. He is the vocal leader on the entire team, not to mention how he runs the defense. I doubt he’s going anywhere.
            People underestimate just how big the loss of Desmond Bryant was, but you are welcome and choose. I obviously don’t agree and you’re choosing to buy into an old narrative

          • Letterman007

            Just going by Banner’s old adage of value and past performance in Philly ! I hope you are right, I don’t want to loose him, but I doubt he’ll keep all three, Mack, Ward , and Jackson. Just a feeling I have !!

          • Pete Smith

            Rubin is the one I’d expect to be let go, but just because Banner has a good understanding of how to use the cap does not mean he is going to simply throw away talent.

          • Letterman007

            It’s a question of value, even you said value has everything to do with the way Banner operates! As far as the promises broken, read the article on Horton on Ohio.com. He admits the defense he thought would be better, WAS NOT !! He said the D would be so much better around Thanksgiving. That we would not recognize it, he was right, it got worse and worse!! His D is too predictable in the red zone and on third down and the other teams knew what was coming and planned for it. Hey Horton , it’s called making ADJUSTMENTS !! Being unpredictable !!
            I’ll tell you what Pete, you get the figures together for red zone and third down D for this year and last and publish them here!! We will see who’s correct! We’ll see if they are any better this year and by how much!!

  • James Hague

    We’re probably going to get crushed this weekend. Jason Campbell deserves praise for doing what he could all season long and at least giving this team a chance in some games to be competitive but he shouldn’t be brought back, his best is behind him. Brandon Weeden embarrassed himself all season long and will be out of the league next season. No mental toughness or intangibles to be an NFL QB. Hoyer is a solid starting option/ very good backup. He’s not the answer long term but there’s a lot to like there. I’m concerned about that ACL injury though. This team can make a playoff push next season with a good player under center. Trade for Mallett or Cousins and beef up CB, WR, RB, G, & ILB with Free Agency and Draft picks and stop with the Rookie QB savior nonsense. NFL is a “WIN NOW” league! We could be very competitive next year if the front office commits to doing so. We basically beat the Patriots, we easily handled the Bengals with a competent QB, were right there with KC, beat the Ravens, and probably should have beat the Bears. We can play with anybody if we get some solid veteran pieces, a few influxes of youth from the draft and solid QB play.

    • Pete Smith

      So the answer to the Browns QB problem is QBs other NFL teams don’t want?

      • James Hague

        They do want them. Who’s playing in front of Tom Brady??? And God forbid someone might Challenge Daniel Snyder’s Golden Boy, RG whatever. They’re a victim of circumstance. I certainly think that is a better and safer option than gambling on a Johnny football or a Derek Carr. IMHO.

        • Pete Smith

          Tom Brady is 36. If Mallett is that good (which he isn’t), then they’d want to keep him to replace Brady when he retires or should he get injured.
          What makes Mallett different from a draft pick?
          What makes Kirk Cousins any different from what the Browns already have in Brian Hoyer?

          • James Hague

            He’s going into the final year of his contract next season, what makes you think he wants to sit behind Brady another four years and continue to lose money? Look at Mallett’s stats during his time at Arkansas and compare them with the guys coming out this year. additionally he’s had 3 seasons with Brady & Belichek. As far as Cousins, he’s consistently outplayed the 2012 #2 overall pick this season. He’s as good if not better than Hoyer, who I like BTW, but Hoyer’s coming off a torn ACL and Cousins is younger.

          • Pete Smith

            RG3 has never been healthy this year, so let’s stop with the Cousins is better than RG3 stuff. I’m not giving up an asset to get a guy who might be only as good as Hoyer. That’s terrible logic. If you believe in Cousins; stick with Hoyer.

            Mallett’s stats? Come on now. If we’re going with stats, Derek Carr blows away the competition, but that is a waste of time when it comes to evaluating the player. Mallett struggles with pressure up the middle, makes bad decisions, and is a statue in the pocket. Tremendous when the pocket is clean and has time and open receivers, but that is not realistic in the NFL.

            They need to draft the right guy.

          • James Hague

            You expect Hoyer to come back 100% healthy. I hope so but it usually takes a year to come back from those. Speaking of RG3 that’s exactly what happened to him this year and he probably will never get back to his rookie form. You can knock Mallett but all these rookies are even more flawed. And how many of these “assets” touch the ball every play? Drafts picks are only as good as what you do with them.

          • Pete Smith

            RG3′s health has been handled terribly. He was put at risk last year, rushed back too early this year. It has been a disaster. That does not mean the Browns will do it that way.
            How are these rookies even more flawed? You cited Mallett’s stats as the reason he is good.
            The 2014 Draft is absolutely critical. They have to make them count. Throwing them at other team’s underwhelming QBs is not a good way to do that if you ask me. It does not work out to championships.

          • James Hague

            Brett Favre & Matt Hasselbeck did pretty good and made it to superbowls. Mallett is going to be extremely good not just because he lit the SEC up. He’s got one of the strongest arms on the planet which would be perfect in our stadium. They want to employ a vertical passing attack so who would be more ideally suited. Cousins has just got moxie and mental toughness. The 2014 draft is going to be disappointing.

          • Pete Smith

            Carr’s arm is every bit as strong as Mallett’s. The offense Mallett played in also produced NFL stars like Brian Brohm. Insanely big passing windows and wide open throws. When he was under pressure, he fell apart. He takes huge strides to throw the ball, so when people can collapse the pocket, he struggles with his accuracy and decision making. That, along with substance abuse issues, are why he fell to round 3. Mallett is awfully similar to that Derek Anderson guy the Browns had previously.

            Moxie? Mental Toughness? You could use the same buzz words on the guy who is already here in Hoyer.

            I’m glad you already have the 2014 Draft pegged, but just for the sake of argument, why don’t we go ahead and have it anyway?

          • James Hague

            Brohm played in the Big East just like Bridgewater. I suppose we disagree on Mallett and that;s fine yet he found a way to beat out Hoyer for #2 in NE. 2013 draft: Bustevious Mingo, Leon McFadden, Jamoris Sluaghter,Garrett Gilkey, Armonty Bryant and we got the worst reciever in the league in a trade. Your optimistic. That’s good. I wish i could be. But Bortles isn’t Big Ben and Johnny Football isn’t Michael Vick. This years QB crop looks good in comparison to last’s years which may have been the worst ever. So we’ll have it and it will be more of the same. I want to win now not 3 or 4 years down the road which we are ironically enough are promised every 3 or 4 years. We have 5 pro bowlers we should not be 4-11. if we play our cards right we can be the Chiefs of 2014. If you are expecting a rookie to come in and light it up that’s pretty much fools gold (ask Brandon Weeden).

          • Pete Smith

            Little of what you’re saying is accurate or credible. The fact Brohm and Bridgewater both did not just play in the same league but the same school has no bearing on anything.
            I don’t think Hoyer is the answer, which is why I want to draft a QB. And just avoiding negative contributions from a QB would be an improvement.
            Bustevious Mingo? Give me a break. So much nonsense contained in here.

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  • James Nicholas

    It doesn’t matter who we draft at quarterback or who is the owner of the Browns.They will draft a bust at quarterback let a probowl center walk and three years fire the coach and start all over again.Same stuff over and over.The defense has been strong but wore out by the time the 4th quarter rolls around.And when the 5 probowl players contracts come up who will stay here Haden, Gordon not.Look Jimmy H.is all about money did he really need to sale the nameing rights to Browns stadium.Hell he is ripping off his truckstop customers.