Its combine time and that means a lot of players stock is rising and falling as teams get to know them better. One player who is ascending is tackle Ezra Cleveland from Boise State.
The NFL season is over and all the focus has shifted to the next crop of players at the Scouting Combine. It’s an amazing place where no actual football is played, but it can drastically change some of these young people’s life.
Ezra Cleveland is not a name most fans know, but the 6-foot-6, 311-pound offensive lineman from Boise State is making his name known this week in Indianapolis. He completed 30 reps on the bench press and ran a 4.93 40-yard dash, which is great speed for a player his size.
And he’s also getting the attention of the team that shares his namesake as according to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, the Cleveland Browns are interested in the tackle who is projected to go in the first round.
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With a slide at the end of last season the Cleveland Browns positioned themselves at number ten in the 2020 NFL draft so the question becomes is Cleveland (the player) worth a top-10 pick?
There are only two tackles worthy of that pick, Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas, who probably won’t be available when the Browns are on the board. So they can either reach for Cleveland or they can trade back later into the first round because he probably won’t be available when they pick again at number 41.
If Wirfs or Thomas maybe even linebacker Isiah Simmons from Clemson is there you pick them at ten but if not the Browns need to consider trading back and acquiring more picks later in the draft. Especially if a team has high grade on a quarterback and are willing to move up to get him because they usually give up more the get a quarterback.
Teams such as the Las Vegas Raiders, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins all have picks after Cleveland in the first round and could be looking to draft a quarterback. They could probably get Ezra Cleveland with any of those picks and gain more picks in the process.
Tackle is a huge position of need for the Browns as Baker Mayfield was under pressure all season behind a shaky offensive line. Their starting next left tackle Greg Robinson is facing jail time for marijuana possession but Cleveland informed him before that they wouldn’t be bringing him back in 2020. Chris Hubbard and Kendall Lamm are the only other tackles on the roster right now and we saw neither one of them is a reliable option.
Cleveland has the ability to come in and start for Browns from day one and they could add other contributors with later picks in the draft to fill holes at safety and linebacker.
If they can’t draft Wirfs or Thomas at ten then it makes a lot of sense to trade back later in the first round and draft Ezra Cleveland. There isn’t a ton of talent at the top of the draft for positions the Browns need.
This trade shouldn’t happen before draft day unless a team blows them out of the water with an offer so Cleveland can keep their options open but Ezra Cleveland could be a draft-day steal for the Browns.