ESPN mock draft has Browns adding more pass rushing talent

ESPN's Matt Miller has the Cleveland Browns landing Abdul Carter in the first round of his latest 2025 NFL Mock Draft.
Browns mock draft, Abdul Carter
Browns mock draft, Abdul Carter / Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

It's never too early to start thinking about the next NFL Draft, especially for the Cleveland Browns in 2025. This upcoming draft will be their first with a selection in Round 1 since 2021.

Cleveland traded a boatload of selections, including three first-rounders, to the Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson. While they're waiting for that move to pay off, they've done a good job drafting without the premium pick.

That's why it's exciting to think about what Andrew Berry will do with such a selection. According to Matt Miller of ESPN, he could be targeting an explosive pass rusher. Miller released his latest 2025 NFL Mock Draft (subscription required) and has the Browns picking Abdul Carter from Penn State.

Miller praises Cleveland's "elite" defensive line, led by Myles Garrett. The reigning 2023 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has Za'Darius Smith lined up across from him, and Smith is signed for the next two seasons.

That means Carter would spend his rookie campaign in a rotation with the hope that he could replace Smith in 2026. That's not an unrealistic scenario but their desire to draft a pass-rusher this early could depend on how Alex Wright performs in 2024.

Wright, a third-round pick in 2022, came on strong last year. He had 25 tackles and five sacks in his second season in the NFL. Wright was especially impressive down the stretch, recording one sack in each of the final four games of the year.

If he continues to improve, there's a chance Cleveland turns to him as the long-term answer. If they see him as a rotational player, Carter could make sense.

The Penn State product has been an off-ball linebacker who recorded 11.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He's expected to move to the defensive line and another strong showing could push him into Round 1, which is what Miller sees happening.

More Browns coverage