In week 10 against the Detroit Lions, we saw glimpses of what Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer could become. While it wasn’t consistent, Kizer made a few “wow”-worthy plays throughout the game. And that leaves many Browns fans and draft analysts wondering: what if Kizer succeeds for the rest of the year? What if Hue Jackson really is a quarterback guru? Well, in that case, this is what the Browns mock drafts should start to look like. This is our second Browns mock draft of the 2018 season, and you can find our first one here.
Note: This mock draft took place on Fanspeak’s Mock Draft Simulator.
Cleveland Browns Mock Draft 2.0: Should Kizer Succeed
Round One, Pick One: Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State
Right now, the Browns best bet at the top of the draft is to get some backfield help for Kizer. Saquon Barkley is widely viewed as the best overall player in this class. Barkley’s burst, combined with his amazing catching ability for a running back, make him a great weapon for Kizer. Versatility is the name of the game in sports nowadays, and Barkley is just that. Stupidly versatile.
Round One, Pick Eight: Minkah Fitzpatrick, cornerback, Alabama
The one area of the Browns defense that needs major help is the secondary. Maybe Jabrill Peppers becomes a stud in the second half of the year. However, what the Browns need right now is a shutdown corner across from the aging Jason McCourty. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the best corner in this class by all marks and measures. Additionally, he can play safety if need be, which makes him another very versatile player in this class. Defensive secondary help is one of the Browns biggest needs, and they’re filling it here.
Round Two, Pick One: Denzel Ward, cornerback, Ohio State
Wide receiver is another likely option here, but at this point in the simulated draft, all the top receivers were off the board. But speaking of the aging McCourty, we’re going to double up on the defensive secondary here. Depth is never a bad thing in the game of football, and it’s likely that the Browns realize that. Denzel Ward is a bit undersized, but man, is he a playmaker. Ward’s footwork and hip fluidity are second to none, and he does very well in man coverage. He’s only 5’10”, but the man can hit like a hammer and just fly around the field. He just makes plays, and the Browns need playmakers.
Round Two, Pick Eight: Deon Cain, wide receiver, Clemson
For nearly the entire off-season, Deon Cain was viewed as a top receiver in this draft class. For the Browns to get him in the middle of the second round would be a steal at this point. Catching passes from Clemson’s Kelly Bryant this year, Cain has been nothing if not a volume receiver. Standing at 6’1″-6’2″, Cain has good size for his position. With his solid hands and speed, he can be a lethal weapon for Kizer. The Browns wide receiver position is still lacking, even with Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon. Cain might just be the man they’re looking for to complete the trio.
Round Two, Pick 32: Mitch Hyatt, offensive tackle, Clemson
Another Clemson product, Mitch Hyatt could be a replacement for Joe Thomas if he decides to hang it up. Spencer Drango has looked alright in Thomas’s absence, but again, it never hurts to be deep. The Browns have one of the most solid offensive lines in football, and Hyatt only shores that up more. If he can play right tackle, then the Browns could be set for a while across the board on the line.
Round Three, Pick One: Troy Fumagalli, tight end, Wisconsin
The aim of this entire draft is to get help around Kizer, right? Well, here’s one of the best tight ends in this draft class. Troy Fumagalli has been a focal point of the Wisconsin Badgers passing game, and his numbers are showing it. The Badgers are currently 10-0 and on pace to be in the College Football Playoff. This season, Fumagalli has 33 receptions for over 420 yards. The Browns seem to use multiple tight end sets quite often, and Fumagalli would be great as both a blocker and a receiver.
Round Four, Pick One: Justin Reid, safety, Stanford
Smart kid, with great instincts and ball skills. Justin Reid is a solid playmaker in this Stanford defense, and already has five interceptions this season. As a safety, that’s not an easy feat to accomplish in ten games. Reid would be great to pair with either Peppers or Derrick Kindred, depending on what the Browns decide. He’s a solid tackler all across the field, which will allow Peppers to do his thing in the deep defense.
Round Four, Pick 24: Frank Ragnow, center, Arkansas
The one position that has been close to disappointing on this Browns offensive line is center. J.C. Tretter is solid, yes, but he’s not the player that the Browns maybe thought he was when they signed him. If Cleveland decides to go with Frank Ragnow here, he and Tretter could have a great training camp battle in 2018. Maybe Ragnow is a tad undersized for the position, but he’s a solid blocker nonetheless, and should be keeping Kizer upright next year.
Round Five, Pick One: Ryan Finley, quarterback, NC State
It never hurts to have a solid backup quarterback. Ryan Finley is just like that, and could even develop into a starter-caliber player. Finley has some rough edges, but so does every young quarterback. He looked nearly pro-ready in his loss to Clemson, and he certainly looked better than Cody Kessler has recently. If Kizer gets injured, Finley could come in with less of a drop-off in quality, and that’s always a good thing to have.
Round Five, Pick 27: Jaylen Smith, wide receiver, Louisville
Jaylen Smith is a huge man for the wide receiver position. Standing at 6’3″, his catch radius is enormous. He might not have the best speed in the world, but size-wise, he’s an athletic freak. Kizer has had some issues with accuracy during his rookie year, and Smith could help with that. He’s just a big, big dude, especially at the wide receiver position.
Round Six, Pick One: Kenny Young, linebacker, UCLA
An undersized linebacker, UCLA’s Kenny Young can still produce. At 6’1″, 240 pounds, he’s being looked at as a late-round prospect. He might not start behind Christian Kirksey, Jamie Collins, or Joe Schobert. However, it’s stupid to think that this team doesn’t need to get deeper. In the sixth round, Young is a serviceable replacement if one of those guys goes down with an injury. Collins is out for the year now, so you never know. Anything can happen.
Round Seven, Pick One: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end, Notre Dame
Like Kenny Young, Andrew Trumbetti is a bit undersized for his position. However, the Browns defensive line doesn’t really need any more help. Right now, the Browns should just be going with best player available. Seriously, you can never be too deep when you’re trying to build a team up from the ground like the Browns are.
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