BEREA, Ohio—The Browns had seven picks in the first four rounds. After sitting out the fifth round, they added five more players in the final two rounds. They had three sixth-round draft picks and two seventh-round selections. All in all, the Browns drafted 12 players, the most since they drafted 13 in 2000.
Gaines was given a third or fourth round grade by some of the scouts and might have been available in the sixth-round because of character issues.
“To be honest, there is some things you can’t control,” Gaines said in a conference call after he was drafted. “I am just working hard, grinding and trying to make the most of the opportunity.”
Gaines was suspended by the team twice and was described as being ‘immature and insubordinate’.
“I live and learned and moved on,” Gaines said. “I’m a totally new man and I have a different standard both on and off the field. I feel that made me who I am today.”
NFL Draft Scout’s Dane Brugler listed Gaines as the 14th best cornerback in the draft with a third-fourth round grade.
“Gaines plays with tremendous play speed and natural traits that are worth developing in the NFL – raw, but the starting potential is evident and he should be a reliable nickel defender as a rookie,” Brugler said.
The Browns added a cornerback and two tight ends in the sixth-round.
The next two picks in the round were listed as tight ends, but Malcolm Johnson (6–2, 231) from Mississippi State was used as an H-back/fullback as well. Johnson was the team captain and fourth leading receiver with 28 receptions for 380 yards and three touchdowns. In his career, Johnson had 79 catches for 1,148 yards (22.5 avg.) with 10 touchdowns. Johnson was picked with the 195th overall pick.
Johnson says he’s familiar with all three roles and said the Browns coaches indicated they like his versatility.
“Whatever the coaches ask me to play fullback, H-back or tight end. I’m familiar with all of them,” Johnson said on a conference call after being selected by the Browns. “The (Browns coaches) said they wanted me to be versatile and play more than one position.”
Johnson said his background coming out of high school was a wide receiver.
“Coming into college I was a receiver and my hands have always been a good part of my game.”
Brugler described Telfer this way.
“After an impressive redshirt freshman season, Telfer put his name on the NFL map as a player to watch, but he struggled to find an identity on the USC offense the last few years, failing to match his 2011 production.”
Telfer caught 65 passes in his career for 648 yards (10.0 avg.) with 12 touchdowns. His best season was his first year when he caught 26 passes for 273 yards and five touchdowns. Last season, Telfer had 21 receptions for 197 yards with two touchdowns.
“I am a very physical run blocker and feel I can bring that to the Browns,” Telfer said.
To start the seventh round, the Browns drafted Telfer’s former teammate in linebacker Hayes Pullard from USC. They ended the draft by taking cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu from Oregon with the 241st pick.
Pullard (6–1, 235) was described by Brugler.
“Pullard wasn’t sure what position he would play when he arrived at USC, but ended up leading the Trojans in tackles three of the last four seasons, starting 51 total games,” Brugler said. “He has his size limitations, but is a feisty, instinctive defender with a nose for the ball and quick burst to close, putting him in position to make plays.”
Pullard is anxious to show what he can do.
“I am definitely very instinctive and can play in space,” Pullard said “I want to show my physicality and what I can do.”
Telfer said Pullard is a very good addition to the Browns.
“Hayes is one of the hardest working, hardest hitting guys that I know,” Telfer said.
Ekpre-Olomu (5–10, 195) was a highly rated cornerback who injured his knee at the end of the season.
ESPN’s Todd McShay said he feels Ekpre-Olomu would’ve been a late first round/early second round draft choice if he hadn’t been injured.
Ekpre-Olomu started the first 13 games of 2014 before a knee injury knocked him out of the Rose Bowl, ending his senior season with 63 tackles, 11 passes defended and two interceptions. He earned First Team All-Pac 12 honors for the third straight season and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. Ekpre-Olomu was a All-American in 2012 and 2013.
Before his knee injury, Ekpre-Olomu had 48 passes defended, nine interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and eight forced fumbles in his career.
Brugler summed up Ekpre-Olomu’s career this way.
“A three-time All-Pac 12 First Teamer, Ekpre-Olomu put himself on the NFL radar with an All-American sophomore season in 2012 with consistent production the past three seasons, starting 40 straight games as one of Oregon’s defensive leaders,” he said. “However, he enters the NFL as damaged goods after his Dec. 2014 knee injury, which he suffered during practice leading to the playoffs.”
Mike Pettine said he and Ray Farmer are on the same page in building the team.
“Ray and I are in concert on how we want to build this team and that’s through the line.”
Overall, the Browns added 12 players, seven on defense and five on offense.
Three defensive backs (Ibraheim Campbell–4, Charles Gaines–6, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu–7)
Two tight ends (Malcomb Johnson–6, Randall Telfer–6)
Two linebackers (Nate Orchard –2, Hayes Pullard–7)
One offensive lineman (Cameron Erving–1)
One running back (Duke Johnson–3)
One wide receiver (Vince Mayle–4)