The Cleveland Browns Draft is over and the team came out with a surprising 12 players, no quarterbacks and only one wide receiver. Most went into the Draft thinking the Browns would trade up for quality over quantity, would try to acquire a QB and would set their eyes squarely on playmakers at the wide receiver and tight end positions.
Not exactly how things worked out for the Dawg Pound but that doesn't mean it all didn't make sense. Every single pick made sense for the Browns, not sure I've ever said that.
Now don't get me wrong, we could argue whether the Browns should have picked other players, should have prioritized other positions or should have moved up or down in certain spots. All of those things are a matter of value, boards and opinions. We don't know how the Browns grade any players, don't know what their boards looked like and we all have our own opinions.
So instead of picking apart the Browns Draft, lets take a look at how each pick fits and makes sense for the Browns.
Danny Shelton - We start off pretty easy here. The Browns were last against the run in 2014 and struggled at the point of attack. Shelton was considered the top nose tackle in the draft, by a lot according to some. He fits the system and the need the Browns had here and should quickly help improve a terrible run defense. That should help us get to more 3rd down and long situations.
Cameron Erving - Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz could be free agents at the end of the season. John Greco is 30 and can be a free agent the year after that. Joe Thomas is 30 and can be a free agent a year after Greco. While the Browns have a good offensive line, Greco and Schwartz were better than fans give them credit for, they have to start planning for the future. Erving can play all 5 spots on the offensive line and the Browns are not willing to repeat what happened last year when Mack went down.
Nate Orchard - The Browns want 3 to 4 solid outside linebackers and officially only have two: Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo. Armonty Bryant will be tried outside but he is not experienced there. Orchard packs a quick burst off the edge and has a relentless motor. He will rotate with Kruger and Mingo and, if Shelton helps change the run D, will often be on the field together with them on 3rd downs.
Duke Johnson - Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West showed enough last year to be excited about and not enough to be sold on them. Johnson provides two things neither of them did last year: Explosiveness and pass catching. Even if Johnson is just a 3rd down back, he will open up the offense with the threat of screens and swing passes. He is electric with the ball and will get yards in a hurry.
Xavier Cooper - Cooper, a player the Browns traded up for, give the Browns a perfect 5-tech defensive lineman. Desmond Bryant and John Hughes are more skilled as 3-tech lineman. Cooper can get into the backfield from outside but strong enough to play against the run as well. The Browns DLine now has a solid rotation, which Mike Pettine likes to do.
Ibraheim Campbell - Campbell is a candidate to replace Jim Leonhard as the Browns 3rd safety. Leonhard was on the field a lot with Donte Whitner and Tashaun Gipson but retired. Campbell has a chance to contribute right away and be the long term replacement for Whitner whose best years may be behind him. Great long term planning with short term impact by the Browns.
Vince Mayle - Well we needed a WR right? Seriously Mayle is a receiver that will hopefully replace the big bodied threat of Dwayne Bowe in a year or two. He provides Special Teams help right away and could be a redzone threat either in the slot or on the outside. He, like any rookie receiver on this team, may not get tons of playing time but can make an impact in limited time.
Charles Gaines - Gaines is a more athletic, high football IQ version of Buster Skrine. The Browns didn't have that type of corner on their roster outside of K'Waun Williams. Williams struggled with concussion issues and Tramon Williams, brought over in free agency, is a veteran that Gaines can learn from. An inside slot guy, to go with the rest of the bigger corners makes a ton of sense.
Malcolm Johnson - Johnson is listed as a tight end but will play the h-back, F position for the Browns most likely. Johnson fits that role perfectly. Strong enough to block, with some experience, out of the backfield but good enough hands to catch the ball on the move.
Randall Telfer - More of a traditional tight end, Telfer could develop as the "move" tight end but will excel as the "inline" tight end. Telfer could help replace another unknown former USC Trojan, athletic with good hands. Health issues may delay when the Browns get the benefit of Telfer's talents but using a late round pick on an upside player is a good idea.
Hayes Pullard - Similar to Campbell, Pullard could provide immediate impact in rotations but is a long term play. He will get time early on Special Teams but is the thumper replacement for Karlos Dansby in a year or two. Good teams plan a year or two in advance and the Browns are now set with Pullard and Christian Kirksey at ILB.
Ifo Erekpe-Olomu - Ifo was considered a 1st Round pick last year and a 2nd round pick this year. His knee injury is concerning but his high level talent, skill and effort make him a player the Browns are going to love later in the year or next year. With so many picks, taking a risk on a corner that could start as early as next year makes a lot of sense.
So the Cleveland Browns Draft added 12 players, maybe not the ones you wanted but ones that make sense. Looking back a few days later, can you see how all the pieces fit? Doesn't mean the team is perfect, doesn't mean the team is done and doesn't mean the team is Playoff bound but do you see the fit?
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