Cleveland Browns: 5 players to watch after the first round
If the Browns decide to pass on Ryan Switzer – or just simply miss out on him – they could turn their attention toward East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones, who worked with the coaching staff during the Senior Bowl.
Jones had 158 receptions (that is not a typo) and 1,746 receiving yards as a senior, and finished his four-year collegiate career with an NCAA-record 399 receptions for the Pirates. That came on the heels of a junior season that saw him pull in 98 passes for 1,099 yards.
According to his draft profile at NFL.com, Jones is a:
"Hands catcher outside the hashes and snatches it away from his frame. Swallows ball into his frame to protect it when working over the middle. Tape shows a willingness to run head-first into traffic and make the tough catch when hit is imminent. Can win all day when it comes to finishing catches at the high point. Extremely driven to succeed. Plays with good focus and footwork on catches near the sideline. Has experience working from outside and the slot. Returned kicks as a junior. Has posted impressive numbers in Pirates’ strength-and-conditioning program. Well respected in the program and scouts rave about his character."
It may be a stretch to say that the Browns would select a wide receiver just a year after selecting four of them in the 2016 NFL Draft, but outside of Corey Coleman the rookies did not do much last season. But this regime has shown that it likes players who were highly productive in college and that will not give the team headaches away from the field, which fits Jones’ profile.
If he is available at the right spot, the Browns may be very tempted to call his name.
Next: Full seven-round mock draft
The 2017 NFL Draft will kick off with the first round on Thursday at 8 p.m. in Philadelphia. The draft will continue Friday night with Rounds 2-3, and will close out on Saturday with Rounds 4-7.
The Browns currently hold 11 draft picks in total, including five of the first 65 selections and the No. 1 overall selection.