Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Odell Beckham (3) runs with the ball against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Browns NFL Draft dream scenario as of now

There are still some huge story lines to keep an eye on in free agency with the Cleveland Browns; the most notable being Alex Mack, but it is time to get back into the draft.  This is where this team has been building toward since last year and they have to make it count.  So, in an effort to get back into the draft and start discussing some of the positions, here is my ‘dream scenario’ as of March 24th, going all 7 rounds with players I have broken down so far.

4. Derek Carr, QB Fresno State

I would be thrilled with Bridgewater too. Bridgewater may be the better QB, but Carr may be better for what the Browns want to do and he has far more upside.  For all of the talk about what the team has said they want, there have been people who have argued that it was Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or whomever.  All of the characteristics they say they want in those guys, Derek Carr possesses.  He is also similar to the athletic, big armed quarterbacks that have had a lot of success in the Shanahan type offense, both under Kyle and Mike.

I have been driving the Carr bandwagon for quite a while and along with Bridgewater are the only two quarterbacks I have given a first round grade.  The Browns may want to trade down to get Carr, but when all is said and done, if he is their guy, they will probably just have to take him at 4.  Carr and Brian Hoyer compete for the job.  Simple.

26. Odell Beckham Jr, WR LSU

The overwhelming depth of this class at wide receiver and how fast linemen go, I wouldn’t rule out Beckham lasting, though it may be unlikely.  Based on my analysis, Beckham is better in my opinion than Sammy Watkins right now and has more potential going forward.  He also gives the Browns a badly needed quickness and speed element which goes with vertical type of players they have in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.  Andrew Hawkins is a similar type of player but nowhere near as talented.

His hands are enormous and outstanding.  He tracks the ball extremely well, has made more than a few spectacular catches bailing out Zach Mettenberger this past year and he has all the speed and quickness the team could want.  Beckham was faster at the combine than Watkins as well for however much that is worth.  He is just scratching the surface of his abilities.  And although he is unlikely to do much returning here, his experience as a terrific returner while at LSU only serve to reinforce his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands.

35. Joel Bitonio, OT Nevada

I have been a huge fan of Bitonio for a while. All he’s done is play well, get after people in the running game and bring a nasty streak to the position. Schwartz can kick inside and the Browns get more athletic on the outside.  He has played well against great competition, was good at the Senior Bowl, and was fantastic at the Scouting Combine.  There is talk about the possibility of taking Greg Robinson at 4, but this just seems like a realistic scenario at a substantially better value for what they need.

In adding Bitonio, they improve the right guard spot as well, moving Mitchell Schwartz inside and they upgrade two spots with one move.  Schwartz can play right tackle and they could let the value of the board make that decision for them, but he was given substantial help in blocking with tight ends and running backs in protection.  He should be far better inside and be able to help with the running game there.

71. Phillip Gaines, CB Rice

In my opinion, he’s better than Justin Gilbert. He is unbelievably good in man coverage without grabbing the opponent. Gaines projects as an ideal weak side corner with good length and elite physical skills if he can keep developing and get more physical. They can start him out as a third corner if needed and bring him in and move Buster Skrine to the slot in nickel.  Hopefully, he could take the starting job opposite of Joe Haden after a year or two.  Skrine would be a fantastic nickel option, but his contract is up after the season and they will need to make a decision on him.

83. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE Iowa

I have a second round grade on him, but the nature of the position and how blocking tight ends are viewed could push him down the board.  He’s a fantastic blocker and I thought he had better quickness and speed than some expected in Mobile, enabling him to be a surprise in getting open and creating separation down the field.  That quickness and speed showed up at the combine. Fiedorowicz upside as a pass catcher but further cements the right side of the line in the running game; no offense to Jim Dray or Gary Barnidge.  Tight ends are important to Shanahan’s offense and having a second one that can catch and block well would be extremely beneficial.

At this point, the picks are no longer numbered as they are all about to change when compensatory picks are announced this week.

4a. Tre Mason, RB Auburn

Running backs are going to go for cheap and with Ben Tate in the fold, the Browns could go with a utility type player or add a pure runner to spell him. I went with the pure runner scenario and while he has questions with his blocking and hands, Mason is incredibly gifted as a runner.  Having him as the second runner to Tate and competing with guys like Dion Lewis could give the Browns a badly needed infusion of talent in the backfield and take pressure off of their quarterback.

4b. Yawin Smallwood, ILB Connecticut

It is not clear why Smallwood declared after this past season, but he really, really good when it playing the run in the middle. He takes on blocks well and is able to get to the ball carrier effectively.  Smallwood is a great fit in this type of scheme and is at his best attacking forward.  He improved in coverage this past year, but still developing that area of his game and he still has upside.

Smallwood has the potential to come in and start as a 2-down run stopper, but will take him in improving his ability in coverage and while he could eventually become a full service player, the Browns need someone who can come in and be a good run stopper along with Karlos Dansby.

5. Avery Williamson, ILB Kentucky

With the news that the Pittsburgh Steelers are signing Arthur Moats, the Browns have an even bigger hole at inside linebacker.  I actually had the Browns taking Cody Latimer, the receiver from Indiana until this came across the newswire.

With that, it gives me a chance to highlight another tough, inside linebacker with good athleticism who is not afraid to mix it up in the middle and take on blockers.  He needs to get better with angles on plays to the outside, but he has shown more skill than Smallwood in coverage.  Williamson has some intriguing upside as an all-around player with the right team.  The Browns and Mike Pettine’s defensive scheme could be a great situation for him.

6. Alden Darby, S Arizona State
I have no idea where he’s gonna go. I saw a guy with top 100 tape and I love this guy’s game. He was the second best defender I watched at Arizona State this past year behind Sutton. He’s impressive in everything he can do for a team not only on defense but also on special teams. Great instincts, does his job and makes plays.  He would work to improve the extremely questionable depth at safety behind Donte Whitner.

7. Avery Patterson, S Oregon

Well, he’s 5’8 3/4″ but he has shown at 192lbs, he is not afraid to play downhill and will hit. He was brought up as a corner before moving to safety Could help as a depth corner, but has the ability to help at free safety as well and he is another guy who was terrific on special teams for the Ducks.  The Browns also need depth and competition for Tashaun Gipson.

There were a number of players that I would have liked to include somewhere in here; some of which will be discussed in future posts and could be drafted as great fits for the Browns.  Nevertheless, this would be a fantastic situation if they can pull it off, substantially improving the offense and getting 5 players that should be able to contribute immediately on offense and a pair on defense while getting guys that Chris Tabor can use to bolster the team’s special teams as well as players that may be able to contribute down the road.

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Tags: Cleveland Browns NFL Draft

  • Mike Kirkner

    Get over the QB infatuation in 1st round. None are worth 1st round pick. Stop trying for home run & just take smart athletic football players. In ’96 Bmore took Ogden & Lewis with 4th overall & 26th overall in first round. Does anyone remember who there QB was???

  • LT

    Not sure why Carr is worthy of the 4th pick. Would like Robinson or Matthews at 4. Does not matter who QB is without an offensive line.

  • Cdddd

    Our starting QB is a career back-up with a broken leg who has started 3 NFL games in his entire career. If he goes down again our QB is some kid who had NEVER played a down in the NFL and who is best known for making YouTube videos. If you don’t think we’re taking a QB at #4 you are insane or an idiot… probably both.

    • Nick

      Doesn’t matter if we took a QB at #1, he isn’t starting in 2014 even if Hoyer goes down. The Browns need to build stability in the OL and run game. Give the rookie a year to mature before you destroy him. It’s not that we draft crap QBs, it’s that we trash QBs.

  • Justin Cibik

    There is no way in Hell Carr goes 4th over all. I don’t know what u were smoking when u wrote this but it must have been high priced stuff lol. I’m not saying they won’t take a QB but if they do it’ll be late first or early second. If u truly believe they’ll take Carr early, they’ll probably trade down and get another second round pick and a 5th or 6th. Which would be great and I could live with. But Carr at 4th just wouldn’t make any sense. They take highest value at 4 if they don’t trade down. Key goals in order WR,QB,ILB,OL,RB,CB,WR,OL. That’s how I think it’s gna go in the draft.

  • Jarod Cook

    How are you going to call this a dream draft scenario? It’s more like a nightmare.
    With your first pick you have the Browns reaching and grabbing Carr at #4. He’s a 3rd rd talent maybe a 2nd at best, and the fourth highest rated QB in this draft. You need to get over the idea Browns are taking a QB before the 3rd rd. There’s only 2 QB’s who deserve to be taking in the first 2 rounds, and that’s Bortles and Bridgewater. The Browns have far more needs across the board then taking a project QB early. Farmer isn’t going to gamble on any of these top QB’s, and instead bring in skilled players. He’ll either take fan favorite WR Watkins, OT Robinson or Matthews. These players will provide an immediate noticeable impact on the field.
    26- If you like Beckham and want all flash and no substance, you should have gone with Cooks, both are mediocre talents that will be no better then slot receivers. Based on the type of offense that Sanahan runs big WR’s are needed on the outside so they should go with Benjamin(who’s still developing), or Jordan Matthews(lacks elite speed but the most complete WR in the draft). Other targets are LB Shazier, or OG Su’a-Filo or Yankee.
    35- One of your few picks i like, and agree with you that Schwartz would be better of at RG. Personal rather take Su’a-Filo or Yankee and plug in at LG if they’re available. If they drafted OL earlier look to get WR, CB, LB.

    3rd and 4th rd- They have 4 picks in this are should get a QB, LB, RB, OL or player for secondary. I like your picks of Mason and Smallwood but might have to grab them early then you listed. This is where they take a QB to develop, no real favorites for me in this draft. As for a secondary player I like Stanley Jean-Baptiste he’s listed as a CB but with his size and skill can be converted to play FS in HC Pettina’s defensive scheme. Gaines is listed as a 4-5 rd pick so grabbing him in early 3rd is a stretch.
    5- WR Jeff Janis he was DIV II player, but he’s a legit talent. I’d be impressed if he actually falls to the 5th rd. He’s listed at 6’3″ 219 and ran in the low 4.4′s. He’s a definite sleeper pick and would add good depth to the WR core.
    6- QB Brett Smith to all the people that think Manziel is a good QB but don’t want to pay 1st rd value you will like Smith. Has a similar playing style and if he had played at a bigger school would be getting more attention. Will add depth and competition to QB position, and with proper development could blossom into a legit talent.
    7- Best player available

    • Pete Smith

      A few things… I don’t think SJB would make a good safety. He’s a converted wide receiver still learning corner and impressive in his movement skills. I think he will go earlier as a result.

      I have not seen Janis’s tape, but I saw him in Mobile. He didn’t stand out at all. He’s not bad, but I’m not convinced he is that good either.

      And I love Brett Smith. He’s my 4th QB overall. Bridgewater and Carr are the only ones I have in the first round with Bortles and Smith as top 50 picks.

      Still waiting on an explanation for why Benjamin is a 23 y/o RS sophomore who aged out of high school sports because he was too old at 19 and 9 months.

  • Sam Gold

    Wow, Pete, the hate is strong today from the masses. Appreciate your analysis and the work that went into it. Can’t wait for the real thing.

    • Pete Smith

      I don’t mind it when there is solid reasoning behind it.

  • Believeland

    I have to disagree with the early picks, I like the formula but not the order of execution. I understand the reasoning behind so many fans wanting the 4th pick to be a qb but I just don’t think it is wise. There are elite athletes who will be available at four and I don’t count any of this year’s qbs among them. Not bashing these guys mind you, I’m just saying there are a lot of serviceable guys who can spin it this year. In my dream, quarterback is addressed no earlier then 35 and maybe grab a second like logan Thomas (if available) in the 5th just because he is so gifted physically. Also Jc Copeland is a must have late round, call me old school i guess but it’s not a complete team with out a bruising full back on the roster. Thanks for the read though I will definitely do some more research on your mid round guys.
    Believe in the Cleve

    • Pete Smith

      Copeland is intriguing as is Trey Millard. I would also like Jake Murphy from Utah as an H-Back type who is a terrific receiving threat. I would be happy to go that route, but the Browns may be satisfied to go with tight ends and Fiedorowicz is a monster up front.

      Logan Thomas is a nonstarter for me. I have watched him in person. He can’t throw the ball with touch.

      Personally, I think Bridgewater and Carr are good enough to go that high. Obviously many disagree. I’m not interested in ‘serviceable’. I want a legit quarterback.

      • Believeland

        It just feels like we have done all this so many times. In my mind the key to having a successful browns quarterback is keeping one on the field and one on the bench to develop. 20 starters, 8 head coaches. I appreciate that you disagree but I just want to draft a guy who gets a year or so in one system and if that means spending some early picks on roll players I say go for it. Again thanks for responding I live in Queens and am starved for conversion with other Browns fans.

  • Letterman007

    Way to many ILB’s!! A big reach for Carr, Beckham is O K at best there are better in the draft! Jarod it’s more of a nightmare!! Way too many safetys, Did you smoke something before you put this together? How many tight ends can play at once? They just signed one in free agency and I realize he more of a blocker, but come on! This is another one of your, ” boy if I were GM drafts” !! Let me tell you you’d be looking for work!!!

    • Pete Smith

      Too many ILBs? At the moment, Karlos Dansby is the one starter they have. Craig Robertson has been retained, but he’s suited to be depth. They inherited Tank Carder and Brandon Magee? Do they have any interest in either one being on this roster? The Browns need at least another starting caliber ILB and may want more depth that is suited to play in this scheme. So yea, they need more than one.

      Who is the backup behind Donte Whitner? Who is the backup behind Tashaun Gipson? First, Gipson should be pressed in terms of competition. If either go down, their backup options are Josh Aubrey, Johnson Bademosi, and Jamoris Slaughter who has not been healthy enough to do anything. Leon McFadden played safety when T.J. Ward played nickel linebacker. So, yea, the Browns need safeties. Plus, Avery Patterson can also contribute as a corner as well. They also need special teams players, which both guys are fantastic in doing.

      With all due respect to Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge, I am hoping for better. And the Browns were reportedly interested in 6’7″ 260lb Scott Chandler before he resigned with the Bills. Fiedorowicz gives the Browns a huge presence who can be a terrific blocker but can also be a receiving threat; something this team was missing outside of Cameron. And if you play with 2 TEs, with one of those TEs being a joker and slot player, you need depth. Gary Barnidge is a JAG. Washington carried 4 tight ends last year including two big, blocking tight ends and two receiving tight ends under Kyle Shanahan. It’s a big component to his offense and the value is outstanding with Fiedorowicz.

      • Letterman007

        You just keep thinking like you are and we’ll see how the draft goes and who is closer to being right!? We’ll see in May!!

  • James R.


    How about this dream:

    Round 1 Pick 4: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
    Round 1 Pick 26: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
    Round 2 Pick 3: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
    Round 3 Pick 7: Brandon Thomas, OG, Clemson
    Round 3 Pick 19: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
    Round 4 Pick 6: Jimmy
    Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
    Round 4 Pick 27: Shayne
    Skov, ILB, Stanford

    • Pete Smith

      well, it’s awful for one.

      I love Khalil Mack. I think he’d be great in this scheme.

      Darqueze Dennard is a press/zone corner. He is not really suited to turn and run with receivers down the field. This has showed up both on tape and in workouts. I would not spend a first round pick on him. I gave him a second round grade.

      Kelvin Benjamin is big and he’s fast. He’s also a 23 year old redshirt sophomore who has had huge issues with catching the ball amid a few other fundamental issues. The upside is incredible, but I’d need to know far more about his sketchy background situation. Also, I think there are better receivers.

      I haven’t watched Brandon Thomas yet.

      Carlos Hyde is a talented back, but I’m not convinced he’s a great fit in a zone scheme, but if you can get him in round 3, I can’t really argue it.

      Jimmy Garoppolo does not fit this offense or this climate in my opinion. His arm is not that great in terms of pushing the ball down the field. I watched him struggle with it in person in Mobile. He functions best when he can get rid of the ball quickly. I’m also not interested in just drafting a backup for Brian Hoyer.

      I really like Shayne Skov. If the medical checks out, I can’t imagine he will last that long. If he does, you may not want him because of his knee.

      • James R.

        Ok, try this one:

        Round 1 Pick 4: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
        Round 1 Pick 26: Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
        Round 2 Pick 3: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
        Round 3 Pick 7: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
        Round 3 Pick 19: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

        • Pete Smith

          Love Mack.

          Su’a-Filo is a terrific right guard for a zone scheme, but you have to be happy with Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle. If they are comfortable with that, it’s a great setup.

          Allen Robinson has tremendous upside but he is really raw from the waist up in my opinion. Personally, I can’t take him until round 3. I don’t think he will be ready to contribute as a rookie.

          Really like Mason.

          Aaron Murray is a great backup option, but again, I’m not satisfied with Hoyer as THE guy. I think that’s an incredibly reckless way to play it. And Murray may not be able to do much if anything this year with his knee injury.

    • Nick

      Replace Hyde with a ILB and you may be on to something.

  • Aaron Delgarn

    Im going to be one of the rare comments on here and say not bad. Other then i would rather see us draft a FB in one of the later rounds.. Also can you explain philip gaines? Dont know to much about the kid. Thanks

    • Pete Smith

      To get more info, click on him in the article and get my full scouting report.

      Cliff notes version; 6′ corner who blew up at the combine and got everyone’s attention. Then, on tape, he looked every bit of the athlete and was a terrific cover corner. Not terribly physical but the way he covers is actually more inline with the NFL than it is college. Essentially, he was working harder than he had to and was terrific.

  • abrow911

    I’ve been on the Carr train for a month or so now too. While I do think he’s probably going to be the best qb in this draft. 4th overall is a bit early. But I’d hate to see the Browns outsmart themselves, trade down, and miss on him. I doubt he’ll make it to 26. So unfortunately the right move might be to reach. Having said that, I’d rather see them take a rg and see what qb falls to them in the 3rd round. With wr’s like Gordon Cameron, and Hawkins, plus a solid running game, a road-grader on the right side might just be what we need to succeed with just about any qb. Oh and please please please, at least inquire about Deshawn Jackson? That guy would make the Browns wr’s hands down the best in the league. .. I know it’s a long shot, but c’mon man!

    • Pete Smith

      DeSean Jackson is overrated and overpaid. $10 million is silly to pay for a third option. And he would be the third option behind Gordon and Cameron. I’d rather draft the issue away and maintain substantially better financial flexibility. Personally, I think Beckham is better

      • abrow911

        Jordan Cameron is a te. We still need wr’s. D.jax had 1,300 yds and 9 td’s. That’s worth 10mil. And we can still draft young guys.

        • Pete Smith

          Jordan Cameron is a tight end. He’s still gonna be a higher option than DeSean Jackson in this offense. And no, his stats don’t interest me. Despite being the most productive receiver in Philadelphia, they have openly talked about trading or releasing him. His contract is awful.

  • Nick

    I can buy into some of what you list but the Browns will NOT be taking a TE or RB and certainly not two S.

    • Pete Smith

      Because the Browns are set at running back? Ben Tate is fine and all, but if he gets hurt, it;s… who? Dion Lewis? Come on. They’d be incredibly stupid not to take another running back. Take a running back every single year. It’s just smart business.

      And again, the depth at safety is putrid on paper right now. But again, Patterson can play corner as well. Not sure why that isn’t sinking in for people.

      Jake Matthews isn’t doing it for me, but I really like Carr and Roby… I just doubt either one will last that long in the draft. IF I’m taking a tackle with Joe Thomas in the fold, I’ll take Robinson, but I’d rather not take a tackle at 4.

      • Nick

        Yes, we are set at RB. Five is enough and we have a lot of positions to fill. If a steal comes up in late rounds, take it. But that’s true of any position. Tate, Lewis and Baker are enough for 2014. Nobody takes a RB every year and they are disposable. Most teams use a committee. Premier RBs have gone the way of the dinosaur.

        Take one S, yes. But not 2.

        Robinson is the better choice but he won’t be there at 4. He may go #1.

        The players I listed are available to the spots I chose them as currently listed by CBS Sports (the most referenced source).

        • Pete Smith

          You just made my point for me. RBs are disposable, which is WHY teams take them every year. As guys don’t work, they are cast aside and new ones are brought in. If you hit a home run like the Shanahans have in countless examples with late round players, you keep doing it. That’s what they do and who they are. They’d be stupid not to considering their success.

  • Andrew Gabriel

    Carr at 4 has got to be a joke. The guy looked terrible in his bowl game and is not an NFL talent or potential face of the franchise. How about actually taking a winner? Browns MUST draft Manziel at 4 if he is still there

    • Pete Smith

      Derek Carr is a winner (whatever the hell that means). So was Colt McCoy. Carr also played his Bowl game with a separated shoulder. Carr did more winning than Manziel did in his career.

      • Andrew Gabriel

        Carr may have won more games overall since he played a year longer, but Manziel won 76.9% of his starts which compares favorably to Carr’s 61.5% (for whats it’s worth Mccoy has them both beat at 84.9%). Johnny Football had wins against major conference teams like Alabama and Oklahoma while Carr faced lesser competition in the Mountain West. Though Carr may indeed possess NFL talent, I just don’t see in him the elite NFL talent/potential I see in Manziel and would expect to see in a 4th overall pick. I probably would give him a look later on in the round or early in the 2nd if the Browns hold off on that QB pick

        • Pete Smith

          The three best ‘winners’ in college football history are Colt McCoy, Kellen Moore, and David Greene. Not one of them can play in the NFL. It’s nonsense. It’s not a one man game.