2012 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns' Seven-Round Mock Draft 2.0
Now that the NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, it's time to re-evaluate the boards and update mock drafts.
I've decided to approach my second mock draft of the season a little differently.
Instead of just giving you a list of picks, I've decided to go over all the Browns needs and give my assessment of the best ways to address those needs.
At the end I'm going to give you two mock drafts, one draft with the Browns trading up to take Robert Griffin III and one with the Browns staying put.
The reason for this is to do a comparison of what the Browns will look like in both scenarios to try and decide if the move is worth it.
The Browns' wide receivers were easily one of the worst units in the league last year and led the league in drops. It seemed like no one could get open and hold onto the ball.
There was some good news in this department though, as rookie Greg Little showed a lot of promise for someone that had just spent a whole year out of football.
He played very well for a rookie but still had some issues with drops. I expect him to be a very good wide receiver in the next couple years, but the Browns are still lacking a true No. 1 target and are pretty slow as a unit.
There are a few intriguing prospects in the draft this year, as well as free agency, but it doesn't appear that the stars are really aligning for the Browns to bring in a big name.
The top receiver in the draft is Justin Blackmon, but it seems unlikely that the Browns would spend the No. 4 overall pick on him.
There are several receivers the Browns could target with the No. 22 pick, but that would be a moot point if the Browns trade up to draft RG3.
I would expect the Browns to look at someone like Danny Coale from Virginia Tech or Marvin McNutt from Iowa in the fourth round of the draft. They might also look at a smaller receiver like T. J. Graham from North Carolina State in the third round.
I would also expect the Browns to sign a solid receiver with experience in free agency.
Mario Manningham would be a very nice pickup.
The Browns offensive line was offensive last season.
Quarterback Colt McCoy was running for his life until he was finally taken out with an injury.
The injury to guard Eric Steinbach really hurt this unit and it should help significantly to get him back. However, back injuries can be tricky, so it would be a good idea for the Browns to pay significant attention to this unit in the offseason.
I would expect the Browns to try and get one of them, probably Grubbs.
I also expect the Browns to draft a right tackle at some point in the draft. There is a lot of value in the third and fourth round this year in Mitchell Schwartz from California and Levy Adcock from Oklahoma State.
I would expect the Browns to take a serious look at both of those players, as both of them look to have the makings of very solid right tackles.
The Browns defense was pretty solid this season, but their biggest weakness was definitely at outside linebacker.
Chris Gocong had a decent year, but veteran Scott Fujita's best days are behind him and Kaluka Maiava doesn't seem to be good enough to start.
Unfortunately, this year the cupboard appears to be pretty bare in the linebacker department, both in free agency and through the draft.
I don't see anyone in free agency that I think the Browns will target, but there are a couple of players in the later rounds of the draft that could bring good value.
Nigel Bradham from Florida State and Demario Davis from Arkansas both seem to have a lot of upside and could be there as late as the fifth round for the Browns.
Both of them did have pretty good combine results, so they might see their stock rise a little.
The Browns running back situation is in somewhat of a state of flux at the moment with the uncertainty of Peyton Hillis' contract situation.
If Hillis and the Browns part company, it's going to be very important for the Browns to bring someone else in to replace him.
I think it is unlikely that Hillis stays in Cleveland.
I think that he will eventually think he's worth more than he is and will end up turning down whatever Cleveland offers.
The best possible scenario for replacing Peyton Hillis would be drafting Trent Richardson with the No. 4 overall pick.
I support this move because Richardson is the only player in this draft who will instantly be one of the top five players at his position. He's the most NFL-ready player in the draft and the one who will have the biggest immediate impact.
The Browns don't have any position players on offense who could be considered one of the best in the league at their position, so this pick would be worth it.
If the Browns end up trading up to take RG3 in the first round, then the Browns will be looking from round two and on where there are a couple of decent options available.
David Wilson from Virginia Tech should be available in the second round for the Browns and I think he would also be an excellent choice. A lot of people have Lamar Miller from Miami ranked ahead of him, but I disagree.
Wilson has big play ability but appears to be more durable and a little harder to bring down than Miller.
Another player the Browns could target in the second round is Doug Martin from Boise State.
Martin doesn't have the big play ability of Richardson or Wilson, but he is very polished and well-rounded and should be able to be a three-down back from Day 1.
One player the Browns could look at in the late rounds is Robert Turbin from Utah State. Turbin is built like a house and answered some questions about his speed at the combine, running a sub-4.5 40-yard dash.
I'm excited about the future of our defensive line.
I feel like the Browns are one very good pass-rushing defensive end away from having one of the best in the NFL.
Rookie Jabal Sheard did a very nice job last season and I expect we'll only see him get better.
On the other hand though, Jayme Mitchell appeared to be a back-up at best and the Browns really need to improve this spot.
This is one of the weaker draft classes for defensive end that I've seen in a couple years from top to bottom. At the top, Quinton Coples hasn't proven that he can be productive, even though he appears to have the physical tools.
The only player I could see being a good value in the draft might be Tyrone Crawford from Boise State, who should go somewhere in the third round, but I feel like the Browns will have better options there.
This is a position I would like to see the Browns address in free agency, as there are a couple solid players available.
Of course, Mario Williams is the most obvious choice and if by some miracle the Browns can manage to lure him to Cleveland, I will jump for joy.
It might not be completely out of the question as Williams would have the chance to put them over the hump and be the cornerstone of the defensive line. Don't forget that the Browns are running the exact defensive scheme that would fit his skill set perfectly.
I do, however, doubt that this is going to happen but the Browns could also look at someone like Cliff Avril from Detroit who would almost be ideal as he wouldn't command as large a contract as Williams.
The Browns' pass defense was surprisingly successful last season, although some of that was due to teams running the ball sometimes at will against them.
Joe Haden has established himself as one of the best cover guys in the league, but the Browns could use some help at the other corner position as veteran Sheldon Brown has lost a couple of steps and might be ready to move to safety.
The Browns have good depth at the position if they can resign Dmitri Patterson. He played well last season, along with rookie Buster Skrine, who showed a lot of promise at times.
This position could be a bit of a wild card in the draft as there could be good values to be had up and down the draft board.
It's completely possible that the Browns could draft Morris Claiborne from LSU fourth overall, though I don't really think that will happen they could certainly do worse.
Another possibility could be if Janoris Jenkins' off-field issues lower his stock to the second round, though I doubt this is likely.
The third round seems like the most interesting spot to me because Chase Minnifield from Virginia should be available.
I feel like this would be a very solid and popular choice as Browns fans have very fond memories of his father Frank.
That isn't the best reason to take him here though, he has great instincts and would make a great value in the third round.
One interesting player in free agency could be Terrell Thomas from the New York Giants. The Giants have several other corners and will likely not be looking to commit any more money to that position.
Thomas is very physical and one of the league's best in run support and could make a solid No.2 corner for the Browns.
Mock Draft No.1: Staying Put
Round 1, Pick 4: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Round 1, Pick 22: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
Round 2, Pick 37: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Round 3, Pick 68: Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
Round 4, Pick 101: Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State
Round 4, Pick 117: Danny Coale, WR, Virginia Tech
Round 5, Pick 132: Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
Round 6, Pick 165: Tank Carder, LB, TCU
Round 7, Pick 196: Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami
This draft would be insane and is completely and totally possible. There are four players here that would probably start from day one and I could see there eventually being as many as seven starters from this group.
Some might question taking Cordy Glenn in the first round, but this would alleviate the need to go after someone like Ben Grubbs in free agency or could just give them insurance if Eric Steinbach's back doesn't hold up.
I am not sold on any of the top receivers in this year's draft at all and I would much rather make a safe pick on a player that will be a fixture in the starting line-up for years.
Danny Coale is a player that I hope the Browns take a long look at because he is a playmaker, pure and simple.
He reminds me a little bit of Eric Decker. He doesn't have the eye-popping measurables but he is just a good football player and finds a way to make plays.
Mock Draft No.2: Moving on Up
If the Browns do move up, it will probably cost them a pretty penny. For the purposes of this mock, the trade will take both of the Browns' first-round picks this year, their second fourth-round pick and a second-round pick next year.
That might seem kind of steep, but I actually think it will eventually take more than this to get the deal done, as Dan Snyder will probably be trying to pawn the Redskins to move up and take RG3.
Round 1, Pick 2: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Round 2, Pick 37: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
Round 3, Pick 68: Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
Round 4, Pick 101: Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Round 5, Pick 132: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
Round 7, Pick 196: Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
This draft obviously has a lot less in the way of playmakers and players that will be able to contribute on day one. That being said, I don't think this would be a disaster and if RG3 ends up being the "real deal" then I could see this being considered a great draft.
For my personal tastes, I prefer the first scenario but I feel as though any direction the Browns choose to go in this draft will have a lot of good options especially in the middle rounds to find players that can come in and contribute.