With 13 picks in the 2012 NFL draft, Cleveland Browns fans rightfully have high expectations that the top of the draft will provide several plug-n-play starters to bolster one of the league’s worst offenses. While the defense isn’t nearly as needy, an OLB and depth players shouldn’t be ignored either.
In Rounds 1-4, the Browns have six picks. These are premium picks in the draft that should, at the very least, stick on the roster.
But what about those seven picks the Browns own in Rounds 5-7? It’s the bottom dwellers of the draft that define the acuity of an NFL front office and scouting staff. They will spend the bulk of their time scouring these lesser-knowns for value in positions of need. Here, unlike those premium picks at the top of the draft, it is common to “reach” a little deeper for talent that might provide quality depth. Some may actually challenge for a starting role. Others will take the slower, developmental path: Practice squad to backup role (or, special teams) to starting role over several seasons.
Using DraftTek.com’s seven-round mock draft (including compensatory picks), I’ll present some interesting prospects that we could be watching on Sundays, if only in a supporting role: the sleepers and slippers.