Recently, it has become strikingly clear that this is another lost season for the Cleveland Browns. So really, what’s a Browns fan to do? Make a mock draft, of course. Currently, the Browns are on the bye week. If the season ended today, Cleveland would have the first overall pick. Additionally, they would have the thirteenth pick due to their trade with the Houston Texans. Outside of that, the Browns have five picks in the first 65 total. So, while the 0-8 start to this season has not been ideal, the Browns might be able to fix it come April 2018. This is our first Cleveland Browns mock draft of the season.
Note: This mock draft took place on Fanspeak’s Mock Draft Simulator.
Cleveland Browns Mock Draft 1.0: Midseason
Round One, Pick One: Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State
And they said you should never draft a running back number one overall. Well, it looks like Penn State’s Saquon Barkley might be the exception to that rule. Barkley has shown tremendous durability throughout his Nittany Lions career. The Browns need playmakers and electricity on both sides of the ball. Really, Barkley defines playmaking ability and electricity. Especially if Isaiah Crowell decides to leave after this year, the Browns should already be writing up Barkley’s draft card. It’s not often that a team can get a player that elevates an offense like Barkley does; Cleveland cannot pass on the Penn State product.
Round One, Pick 13: Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville
Death, taxes, and Cleveland Browns quarterback problems. Had the Browns trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for A.J. McCarron went through, this probably would not be the pick. However, that trade, as we know, will go down as a total disaster for both front offices. Now, Lamar Jackson is the pick here. Like Barkley, Jackson is an incredibly electric player on offense. He throws with tremendous power and can hit deep balls with relative ease. Just imagine if the Browns were able to put himself and Barkley in the same backfield. Now that might be a tandem to watch in the NFL.
Round Two, Pick One: Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Alabama
There is no way, absolutely no way, that Alabama talent Calvin Ridley drops to the second round. Even if Ridley has a truly awful second half of the season, he still might not drop this far. Standing at 6’1, 188 pounds, the only problem with Ridley is that he might be a bit skinny for his height. However, he also has some great hands and incredible breakaway speed.
More than likely, Ridley will be the first receiver off the board in April. If he’s still here in the second round, though, the Browns cannot afford to pass. Additionally, he could make one explosive duo with Josh Gordon if Gordon can stay on the field. Move Corey Coleman to the slot, and the Browns might really have something here.
Round Two, Pick 13: Ken Webster, cornerback, Ole Miss
At one time, Ken Webster was seen as the best cornerback in the nation. However, injury could be a concern, as he was out for basically the entire 2016 season. While Webster’s draft stock has started to rise again, he still hasn’t been mocked to the first round very much. As of right now, the Ole Miss product is a second-round talent, but he could continue to rise. Hopefully for Cleveland, though, he stays right here.
Round Two, Pick 32: Chukwuma Okorafor, tackle, Western Michigan
Despite having the hardest name to announce in the entire draft, Chukwuma Okorafor is one of the best tackles in the class. Coming out of Western Michigan, Okorafor could turn out a lot like Eric Fisher did in the 2013 NFL Draft. Maybe not the first overall pick, but he could slide up into the first round if he continues his stellar play. At 6’6, 331, he could be a suitable replacement for Joe Thomas if the former Ironman decides to hang it up.
Round Three, Pick One: Shaun Dion Hamilton, linebacker, Alabama
Right now, Shaun Dion Hamilton is being mocked as a second-round talent. So maybe this isn’t a huge reach to be taken with the first pick of the third round. He’s a tad undersized, but Hamilton hits like a hammer. Hopefully, he is not just a product of a great Alabama secondary that includes the likes of Ronnie Harrison and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Either way, he’ll likely be a good fit between Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins.
Round Four, Pick One: Quin Blanding, Safety, Virginia
Personally, I don’t know much about Quin Blanding. However, it would behoove the Browns at this point to just go with the best player available, at least according to the needs of the Browns at this point. Blanding, if he works out, could be a great tandem with Jabrill Peppers. If not, he could be a good replacement for Ed Reynolds off the bench. Depth is key.
Round Four, Pick 22: Bradley Bozeman, center, Alabama
Another Alabama player off the board to the Browns, and this time it’s center Bradley Bozeman. Again, depth is key, especially on the offensive line. Behind J.C. Tretter, Bozeman could be a solid replacement. Tretter has been injured before, and you never know when it could happen again. Rather be safe than sorry, especially on the offensive line.
Round Five, Pick One: Dallas Goedert, tight end, South Dakota State
Adam Shaheen is proof that you can find at least serviceable tight ends practically anywhere. The Browns already have David Njoku and Seth Devalve but again, best player available. You can never have too many tight ends, and Dallas Goedert would be a solid addition in the late rounds to this Browns tight end corps.
Round Five, Pick 30: Michael Hill, defensive line, Ohio State
This Ohio State defensive line is stacked. Michael Hill, although a late-round pick, could be a great addition to what is quickly becoming one of the NFL’s top defensive lines. With Danny Shelton entering his fourth year in 2018, Hill could be a great tag team partner for him. Either that, or he could be a nice replacement if Shelton decides to pack up and leave for another team.
Round Six, Pick One: Kevin Toliver, cornerback, LSU
At this point, we’re kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel. The Browns should be going for best player available with every pick at this point, and should be shooting for depth. At 6’3, Toliver has great size for the position. Additionally, he comes from Louisiana State, sometimes known as DBU. So really, you never know. Maybe the Browns have something here?
Round Seven, Pick One: Chikwe Obasih
For their final pick, the Browns solidify the edge of their defensive line. At only 6’2, Chikwe Obasih might not be totall ideal for the position. However, if Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, or Carl Nassib need some downtime, Obasih could be a nice little fill-in. Maybe not for the long time, but in short bursts? Yeah, sure. Maybe he could even play linebacker too, if Gregg Williams feels like getting creative.
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