Browns focus on defense in 2023 NFL Mock Draft

Browns, NFL mock draft, Johnny Wilson. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Browns, NFL mock draft, Johnny Wilson. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Browns, NFL Mock Draft
Browns, NFL Mock Draft, Ryan Hayes. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Round 4: Ryan Hayes, OT, Michigan

Jack Conklin is interested in staying with Cleveland long-term but chances aren’t high that they’ll be willing to pay him what he deserves. Conklin has been great but James Hudson performed well when the veteran was out to start this season — and will be a much more affordable option.

If that does happen, the Browns will need another swing tackle and they go back to Round 4 to find that — which is the same round they landed Hudson in during the 2021 NFL Draft. Here, they go to Michigan and add Ryan Hayes who has long arms and great athleticism. He needs to be developed some but that’s exactly what Bill Callahan does.

Round 5: Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati

General manager Andrew Berry doesn’t put a premium on the linebacker position which makes it seem likely that both Sione Takitaki and Anthony Walker could be gone in 2023 since they’re hitting free agency. If either does walk, don’t expect Cleveland to take a replacement before day three.

In this NFL mock draft, they land Ivan Pace, Jr. from Cincinnati. Pace started his career with Miami (OH) and had 125 tackles, four sacks, and an interception last season. Now with Cincinnati, he’s racked up 55 tackles and five sacks in five games. His versatility and nose for the ball make him a great fit for the Browns.