Cleveland Browns: 7-Round Mock Draft
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that another one has jumped on the "trade up for RG3 bandwagon".
If you're thinking that, you couldn't possibly be more wrong.
However, it is likely that Robert Griffin the third will shape the way this years draft will turn out.
I am not one who thinks the Browns should or will trade up to pick him though. But I am pretty sure the Browns will be involved in a first round trade.
The Browns are in somewhat of an awkward drafting position, but if they play their cards right they may be able to capitalize on the situation.
It is likely that there will be couple of teams looking to trade up and draft Griffin,. The Browns are the first team picking that would have any interest in him, so it stands to reason that any team trying to trade up would be looking to draft ahead of the Browns.
The Browns could put it out there that they would take Griffin with the number four pick, but would also be willing to trade down if the price is right.
In that circumstance, it would make more sense for any team looking to trade up to deal with the Browns instead, as it would cost them less in return than it would to deal with St. Louis or Minnesota.
Miami and Washington are the two main teams that would be interested in trading up to take Griffin.
I think it is likely that one of them will try to acquire Matt Flynn in free agency, leaving only one team still in the hunt, and giving the Browns a good opportunity to make a deal.
I think that Washington is very likely the team that will be looking to sign Matt Flynn, leaving the Miami Dolphins as a trade partner for the Browns.
Round 1, Pick 8 (from Miami): Trent Richardson, RB Alabama
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In this trade scenario, the Browns would receive the number 8 pick, the number 41 pick and Miami's first round pick in next year's draft.
This is almost a perfect situation for the Browns as it allows them to pick up extra picks and still draft a game-changing player.
Richardson is easily the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson and one of the top five running back prospects of the past 30 years.
For those clamoring for Justin Blackmon, he isn't even one of the top five wide receiver prospects of the past decade.
Richardson is clearly and easily the better football player in a vacuum and would instantly transform the Browns running game.
The Browns had a very hard time running the ball this past season, which constantly left Colt McCoy trying to convert third and long with a rabid pass rush coming and poor blocking.
A real running game would help take some of the pressure off of Colt McCoy and allow the Browns to control the ball.
Round 1, Pick 22: Kendall Wright, WR Baylor
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Perhaps the Browns biggest need is at the wide receiver position.
The Browns have been lacking playmakers in the passing game since Braylon Edwards forgot how to catch a pass.
One of the biggest issues for the Browns is an overall lack of team speed, especially at wide receiver where speed is kind of important.
Wright isn't the biggest wide receiver, but he certainly has plenty of speed and the ability to take the top of the defense.
The Browns already have size at wide receiver with Greg Little, it's time they brought in a home run hitter who can change the game in one play.
Round 2, Pick 37: Whitney Mercilus, DE Illinois
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The Browns may not have hit a home run when they took Jabal Sheard in the second round of last year's draft, but it was a solid double off the wall.
The Browns defense was greatly improved last year, but there are a few areas where they could improve.
Defensive end is one position they could upgrade. Jayme Mitchell is obviously not the permanent answer there, so expect the Browns to take a hard look at some defensive ends in the draft.
Mercilus came from nowhere to lead all of college football in sacks last season.
He's still a bit raw, but has the size and athleticism to become a force off the edge.
He also has the coolest name ever for a defensive lineman.
Round 2, Pick 41 (from Miami): Zebrie Sanders, OT Florida State
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The Browns offensive line was abysmal this past season.
The injury to right guard Eric Steinbach forced rookie Jason Pinkston to start along with second year player Shaun Lavao, both of whom were terrible.
I expect the Browns to be aggressive in trying to acquire help on the offensive line in free agency this year, but I also expect them to draft a right tackle as well.
Sanders took over for an injured Andrew Datko in 2011 and took full advantage of the opportunity.
He's a very cerebral and aware player who always knows his assignments and adjusts well to the blitz.
He has excellent size and length and always plays to the whistle.
Round 3, Pick 68: Lavonte David, LB Nebraska
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The Browns biggest need on defense is at outside linebacker where veteran Scott Fujita is clearly on his last leg.
David is small for an NFL linebacker at 225 pounds, but he plays really big.
I watched several Nebraska games this past season and in every one of those games Lavonte David was all over the field making plays.
Even at his size he has excellent upper-body strength and great athleticism. He's a three down linebacker that can make plays against the run and in coverage.
He doesn't possess great measurables, but he is a very good football player, which is something you can't really measure.
Round 4, Pick 100: Jayron Hosley, CB Virginia Tech
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Hosley is smallish for an NFL cornerback, but has excellent recognition skills and good speed and cover skills.
He lead the nation as a sophomore in interceptions two years ago with 10 and is always the first person on the defense to react to the play.
His biggest weakness is in run support and he could get out-muscled by bigger NFL wide receivers, but he does display very good ball skills and the ability to fight for interceptions.
The Browns secondary was pretty darn good this year, but some of that can be attributed to the fact that teams ran the ball down their throat so there wasn't as much of a need for them to pass.
Sheldon Brown is pretty much done as an NFL corner so it would be a good idea to start looking for another corner.
Round 4, Pick 117: Chris Rainey, RB Florida
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Once again, the Browns biggest weakness on offense is a lack of speed.
Chris Rainey is very under-sized for an NFL running back or receiver, but he has a tremendous amount of speed.
Even though he is small, he's not afraid of taking on much bigger defenders and can be very scrappy.
He has good vision and reads blocks very well and can also line up in the slot. He's even been a lead blocker for Jeff Demps on a few occasions even at his size.
His versatility and excellent speed could make him an exciting third down back much the way that Darren Sproles was for New Orleans this season.
Round 5, Pick 131: Nigel Bradham, LB Florida State
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The Browns are pretty thin at linebacker, so it may be wise to stock up on depth.
Bradham is the prototypical Will linebacker in a 4-3 defense. He has excellent speed and range against the run and is also very solid in coverage.
He has excellent feet and lateral quickness and is an excellent overall athlete.
He needs work on his tackling and is somewhat lacking in lower-body strength, but he has a lot of upside.
Round 6, Pick 164: Ryan Broyles, WR Oklahoma
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This is mainly a value pick as Broyles was once considered a possible first or second round talent.
Though he is small and isn't insanely fast, his production can't be denied. He consistently made plays at the college level and I feel that he's worth taking a shot on in the late rounds.
The Browns could really use some consistency at wide receiver, both in route running and hands. Broyles could provide both of those things.
Round 7, Pick 195: Tony Dye, S UCLA
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At this point in the draft it's good to just load up on quality athletes with upside. Tony Dye fits that description well, and at a position the Browns could use a little help at.
He has decent size and speed, but is a gifted athlete who has the ability to play center field or cover the slot one on one. He also does a nice job in run support.