The NFL Draft is the hope of summer a few weeks after Christmas vacation for Cleveland Browns fans. The season always opens with hope but as the gifts are opened and the presents are played with, a sense of disappointment sets in. You still remember the fun and excitement but the letdown is still real.
The Browns offensive line and defense overall have disappointed. These were supposed to be the bedrocks of a team that would be a "bully." Instead, the run defense hasn't been able to stop anyone and the pass defense is getting little pressure and getting beat too often.
Somehow, the Browns passing game has been the most consistent and successful part of the team. While Josh McCown has his fair share of problems, especially last week, he has been much better than most expected. He is using Travis Benjamin, Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson to have an offense that challenges opposing defenses. McCown is obviously not the long term answer and Barnidge and Benjamin can be free agents after the season.
So now I find myself thinking and turning to the NFL Draft. I am the Browns optimist in general, which leads me toward anything positive. After the loss to the St. Louis Rams, the NFL Draft is the positive I turned to. (Although the defense looked much better for 3 and a half quarters.)
When thinking forward to the NFL Draft, I like to think about options. What happens if the Browns draft ____ position in the 1st Round, how would that impact them in the 2nd Round?
I use FanSpeak to create different NFL Mock Drafts. It is a great tool.
Here are the 3 different NFL Mock Drafts I created for the Cleveland Browns. Each is a 3 Round version with the team going in different directions based on needs that they could fill:
In this 3 Round Mock, I took the best player available while take into account the needs of the team. Position only played a role based on areas where the Browns wouldn't/shouldn't draft a player. Specifically in CB and OL.
DT ROBERT NKEMDICHE
Nkemdiche is the second best defensive lineman, behind Joey Bosa. While adding another DL might frustrate many, it is obvious the Browns have needs still in their Front 7. Nkemdiche next to Shelton should work in any defense. He can play both the 3 and 5 techniques for the Browns and should provide some very good pass rush ability. Rookie Xavier Cooper would complete a trio of very talented defensive linemen long term.
WR MIKE WILLIAMS
Browns fans are still begging for a wide receiver and Williams was one of the best in college before getting hurt. No clue what his health will look like after a small neck fracture but his talent is evident if he chooses to come out. 6'4" and 220 pounds, Williams would answer the size concerns many have about the Browns receiving group. He also runs good routes and has good hands so he fits the biggest needs of a WR.
OLB JOSHUA PERRY
Perry's stock is rising this season where he could be drafted late in the 1st but more likely a 2nd or 3rd Round pick at this point. Perry is a big, fast linebacker who can rush the passer and play the run. He is the type of overall linebacker that would be welcomed onto a defense that has struggled on the edge. Drafting Buckeyes is always something Browns fans want. In this case, Perry would fit nicely, especially as a 3rd Round pick.
Give Me the QB
With this Mock, I go hard after the QB. The name isn't as important as making sure I got one. FanSpeak has us drafting 7th while others have us with the 5th pick currently. Obviously a ton will change between now and the end of the season but 2 spots could greatly impact what QB is available. In this draft Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch are both off the board.
QB CONNOR COOK
Say what you will about Connor Cook but many believe in his talent overall. He can make all the passes, has a good arm and is accurate in NFL type throws. History of Michigan State's QBs will not help his cause of getting drafted high but many see Matt Ryan like QB with Cook. Browns fans will take that every day of the week.
OLB MYLES JACK
Myles Jack is an all-purpose linebacker who can play all around. He is a great pass rusher, can play in coverage and stop the run. Had he not gotten injured, Jack would have likely been drafted near the middle of the 1st Round. His injury likely drops him at least to the end of the 1st or early in the 2nd. The Browns jump at the chance.
WR JOSH DOCTSON
The Browns finish off this skill position Mock with a WR in the 3rd Round. Doctson is a tall, 6'4", but thin WR from the up tempo TCU offense. He gives the Browns a high end player who is likely to get bigger at the next level. Getting a QB, a pass rusher and a WR is many fans dream in the first 3 rounds.
Get Me the WR
WR LAQUON TREADWELL
With this Mock, I make sure to get the WR that most Browns fans believe GM Ray Farmer should have picked the last two years. Treadwell is the all-around receiver. He is big, fast and has good hands. Treadwell can fit on the outside or as a big slot guy in the Browns offense. Adding him to Benjamin, Barnidge and Johnson would help Johnny Manziel or whoever the team's QB is.
DE SHILIQUE CALHOUN
The Browns defense needs addressed at some point in this draft. Calhoun is less dynamic than some of the defenders we have drafted in the earlier Mock Drafts. Yet he can stop the run and really cause havoc next to Shelton. He may not get to the passer as much but would be a huge addition.
QB DAK PRESCOTT
The history of QBs being drafted after the 1st Round is not great but the Browns have to have their answer behind center at some point. The coaches know what progress Manziel has made, even though fans believe they need/deserve to see it on Sundays. If the coaches believe he is progressing well, this pick goes in another direction and Austin Davis is the backup long term. If Manziel is not progressing, Prescott gives the team an interesting prospect that would need at least a year, likely under McCown.
A few questions for you the Browns fan:
Have you already turned to the NFL Draft?
Do you believe in Best Player Available or Need Based Drafting?
Which of the above 3 NFL Mock Drafts do you like best for the Browns?