NFL Mock Draft: Fox Sports 1.0 Could Anger Browns Fans


NFL Mock Drafts are so very interesting. Cleveland Browns fans are used to following along to Mocks as the team has struggled to give them much else to look forward to. So instead of looking forward to a possible or likely playoff battle, Browns fans are often hoping and wishing upon the NFL Draft. That means NFL Mock Drafts are almost the life blood of our fandom around this time. History gives fans reason to be skeptical that, even with a ton of picks, the Browns will get it right.

We are guessing today’s Fox Sports NFL Mock Draft 1.0, if it were to come to pass on Draft Day, would get a very negative response from Browns fans. Before we get into the picks for the Browns there is an important disclaimer at the top of their post:

"Putting together a mock draft before the Senior Bowl lends itself to potential pitfalls and miscues. Between now and even the end of the week, this mock draft will undoubtedly change as players will turn heads in both practices and Saturday’s game, and there will be much banter with scouts, coaches and general managers on site that will help shape some of the thinking moving forward."

Many see the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine as key pieces of information that can greatly impact players draft status. With so many schools playing college football, it is often difficult to figure out who is good and who is just playing against lesser competition. These two post-season events help level the playing field some. Some major college players likely will fall after the Senior Bowl while some small college players will rise.

Now on to their NFL Mock Draft for the Cleveland Browns:

"12. Cleveland Browns: Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida: I’m a big Fowler Jr. fan and think he’d be a good fit in an already solid Cleveland defense. Karlos Dansby, Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo aren’t going anywhere, and Fowler Jr. could end up being the best of the bunch at the next level. A roving front-seven guy who could line up either on the line or at linebacker, Fowler was a big-time performer who excelled on a bad Florida team the past few years. Mike Pettine likes tough guys who bring it on every down, and that’s Fowler Jr. Good fit here."

So many interesting things here. First Fowler is an outside linebacker who can play with his hand down but not often enough in a 3-4 defense. Second they note that Kruger and Mingo aren’t going anywhere. What position do they play? Same as Fowler. Third with only 2 wide receivers off the board and neither of the big nose tackles, Danny Shelton or Malcom Brown, there are a number of good picks available.

Many have Fowler as a top flight talent and the Browns GM, Ray Farmer, does not draft purely for need. Fowler could make an impact all over the field in Pettine’s hybrid creative system. The bigger issue isn’t Fowler it is roster composition and the need, and availability, of a big time receiver or nose tackle who can stop the run. Fowler, while talented, could have limited impact on the Browns next season. He would however make for a long term replacement for Kruger.

What about at #19? What stud player do they have the Browns grabbing with another mid 1st round pick?

"19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo): Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State: The run on wideouts continues as the Browns find some insurance in case Josh Gordon‘s future with the team goes awry. They love what they have in Andrew Hawkins and got production out of undrafted rookie Taylor Gabriel, but Smith — a local talent — could be a star. An NFL scout told me that Smith’s performance in Ohio State’s final three games was even more impressive than the show put on by celebrated quarterback Cardale Jones. A 6-foot-1, 200 pound specimen, Smith isn’t listed as a first-round pick in many of the mock drafts I’ve seen thus far. That doesn’t add up with what I’m hearing."

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Yes, the Browns have receiver needs. And yes, Smith had a great end to his college career. But no, he doesn’t have the makings of a #1 type receiver in the NFL. He is a nine route monster (Nine route = Streak) who has showed limited ability with the rest of a route tree. That one trick pony, while good, is hardly enough to take this high in the draft. If he shows agility and change of direction talent between now and the draft, something that wasn’t apparent at OSU, then maybe he sneaks into the back end of the first. Many see him as a late 2nd, early 3rd type pick.

Smith on the Browns would give them a deep threat to go along with Hawkins and Gabriel. Between picks 12 and 19 they have two more wide outs going off the board as well as Danny Shelton. With Smith going deep, and Hawkins and Gabriel filling the role as smaller receivers, the Browns would still be in need of a bigger receiver to balance out their corp.

We don’t like this NFL Mock Draft but what do you think?

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