Cleveland Browns: 5 options to replace Alex Mack
By Thomas Moore
If the Browns do not like their free agent options, they could look to the 2016 NFL Draft, although to get a decent center they would have to grab one with their second-round pick, the 32nd overall selection.
The top of the list is Alabama center Ryan Kelly, a consensus first-team All-SEC selection after helping pave the way for Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry during the Crimson Tide’s run to the national championship. Kelly, who is 6-foot-5 and 300-pounds, is described as a “player with tons of grit and fight … who shows the toughness to scrap it out against nose guards,” always a good quality for the AFC North.
Kelly, who received his master’s degree in marketing in December, was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, meaning that he should fit in with the Browns’ new cerebral approach, and won the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy. He also said he benefitted from being a redshirt senior for the nation’s top college program..
“The fifth year was huge for me,” Kelly told alabama.com. “This year, I finally learned how to play overall with power, more consistent, and that’s what I needed to do for the offense.”
According to his draft profile at NFL.com, Kelly is a:
"Tenacious leader and three-year starter for highly successful Alabama program that puts a heavy emphasis on physical and mental toughness. Kelly might not be a combine warrior, but when the pads are strapped, he plays with enough strength and athleticism to thrive in both gap and zone running schemes. While he could use more mass on his frame, Kelly has the necessary skill set and football intelligence to step in and challenge for a starting position right away."
Kelly is an attractive player for a team that may need a center, but with some projections putting him at the bottom of the first round or top of the second, if the Browns want him they may need to either make a move back into the first round of grab him as soon as the second round opens.
Next: Michigan State's Jack Allen