Five Draft-Day Thoughts from Hayden Grove
1. Browns Won't Stay at No. 8
It just seems as if the Browns are trying to talk themselves into liking the No. 8 overall selection, when, in fact, they'd be much happier picking later in this draft. For that reason, they'll trade down a second time on Thursday night, likely to somewhere in the middle of the first round. When they do so, there will be a laundry list of elite wide receivers on the board. They'll take one.
2. If They Do, However...
If the Browns can't find the appropriate deal for the No. 8 pick, they'll use said selection on a non-skill player. For some reason, it seems that the Browns aren't enamored with skill players at the top of this draft. Analytics, while a term far too often used in regards to this new regime in Cleveland, would likely suggest that an under-the-radar or less-than-marquee talent would be the way to go. For that reason, the Browns-- should they stay at No. 8-- will grab a defensive lineman, an offensive lineman or maybe a linebacker with the pick.
3. Zeke the Freak
While Ezekiel Elliott was a wonderful player to cover back at Ohio State, he's a tad overvalued. Though Elliott is the best running back in the draft, with a combination of fantastic size, speed, agility and versatility, he needs an offensive line with which to work. Ohio State, while Elliott was around, had elite offensive line play. It was that offensive line that came together in 2014 and pushed the way for the Ohio State offense as the team surged to a National Championship. If you asked Elliott about the catalyst for Ohio State's championship run and for his own success, it's almost assured that the offensive line would be one of the first things mentioned. Ohio State's excellent offensive line does not to take away from Elliott's talent. He's still supremely skilled, but at the end of the day, he is at the mercy of the guys in front of him. With all that said, Elliott should be a mid first-round selection, maybe to Miami. He should be the first running back taken, as there should be no running back taken in the top 10.
4. Back to the Buckeyes
Again, having had the privilege to cover the Buckeyes during their 2015 National Championship run, there should be no doubt that these potential first-rounders make fantastic pros. Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Darron Lee, Eli Apple, Taylor Decker, Joshua Perry and even Braxton Miller and Michael Thomas have the talent, the work ethic and the character necessary to be first-round selections. Of course, at least two or three of those players won't make it into the first round, but that shouldn't mean they're not worthy of a first-round grade. That being said, of all of the players mentioned above, Michael Thomas is the most fascinating-- the best prospect at wide receiver in the 2016 class. That may not be the opinion of many, but it's the opinion of one who's seen him up close, watched him play well in the biggest games for the Buckeyes and catch nearly every pass ever thrown in his direction. Sure, he's not necessarily the fastest guy... nor was Calvin Johnson. Thomas is going to prove each and every first-round team wrong when he's drafted in the second round and becomes the best Buckeye taken from this class.
5. Browns Biggest Day: Day 2
Though the first round of the 2016 Draft might have the biggest viewing audience and might create the most drama, it is not the biggest day for the Browns. That day, of course, is Friday-- the day in which the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft are held. The Browns hold the first overall selection of that second day, as well as two more third-round selections at No. 65 and No. 77. While their first pick is incredibly important, the three picks they'll have on Friday will be more crucial than that first-round pick. This draft is deep, filled with incredible talent and the Browns will need to make sure they don't miss on any of the three selections they'll have on that second day.
Bonus: Browns Made the Right Move
Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are not worth the No. 1 and No. 2 overall selections. The Browns were wise to move out for the haul they received and let Philadelphia take a stab at a fool's gold QB.
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.null