Fans and draft pundits speculated the Cleveland Browns had to select a wide receiver early in the draft. Every viable option at the position was tied to Cleveland at some point throughout the pre-draft process, and the Browns did not discourage the speculation.
The top-two receivers on the Browns draft-board were Amari Cooper (Alabama) and Kevin White (WV). Both receivers were mocked by the Browns to be off the board prior to the Browns selection at number–12 in the first round.
DeVante Parker (Louisville) and Breshad Perriman (UCF) were both highly rated, but neither evaluated nearly as well as Cooper and White. Truth be told, the Browns weren’t going to select either receiver with the 12th selection in the draft.
The reasons for passing on two potential high quality receivers differed.
During the evaluation process, the Browns were not enamored with Parker’s attitude, but loved his skill-set. Something didn’t sit right with the Browns and the Cleveland front office was not going to move on a player early in the draft with a potential issue.
In Perriman, the Browns viewed him as a high potential, dynamic player that needed further development at the next level. Some within the Browns organization had rated Perriman higher than Parker.
“(Breshad) Perriman has the potential to be as explosive as any receiver coming out of the draft. He has the size and athleticism you want in a receiver today,” an AFC executive tells theOBR. “From the mid-point of the first round on, Perriman becomes a value pick, but for Cleveland, he (Perriman) wasn’t a need-pick.”
Leading up to the draft, the Browns had short, sporadic talks with teams selecting before andsafter them in the draft, all in an attempt to gauge their thoughts and determine whether opportunities existed on the trade market.
The Browns had determined a move on either Cooper or White would be an extraordinary deal. However, it was a deal which neither the Raiders or Bears appeared poised to make. The Browns never engaged into a serious discussion with either team.
“It was basically common knowledge the (Oakland) Raiders were all over Cooper and the Bears were very high on White and nose tackle Danny Shelton,” the AFC executive said. “Both the Raiders and Bears listened to teams inquiring, but never seriously engaged a deal. When you are sitting there with the opportunity to select a player you have long-targeted… pulling the trigger to deal away from your player just isn’t a simple proposition.”
While the lack of activity on the Browns part wasn’t due to a lack of interest, there was a much bigger reason leading the Browns to keep the number twelve overall selection in the draft — Danny Shelton.
Shelton made an early impression on the Browns that never wavered within the organization ranks throughout the process.
Next we’ll look further into the selection of Danny Shelton.