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Draft Picks: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (3); Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (22); Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California (37); John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati (87); Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami (100); James-Michael Johnson, LB, Nevada (120); Ryan Miller, OT, Colorado (160); Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas (204); Billy Winn, DT, Boise State (205); Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona (245); Brad Smelley, TE, Alabama (247); Josh Gordon (2nd round supplemental pick)
For all the flak Cleveland got for trading up to take a running back and drafting a 28-year-old quarterback in the first round, their draft class has been pretty good. This is a young team with many rookies getting playing time; they may not be good, but the Browns have a pretty good, young core.
Doug Martin and Alfred Morris have gotten all the publicity as great rookie running backs, but Trent Richardson has quietly been a horse for the Browns, without whom they might not have four victories. Richardson leads all rookies with 44 receptions, and he is on pace to hit 1,000 rushing yards in the next game or two.
Brandon Weeden has had his ups and downs as you might expect from any rookie quarterback as he is one of the worst-rated quarterbacks in the league, but he has looked better than some of his counterparts that have years of NFL experience on him.
Of course he has had help from fellow rookie Josh Gordon, who has justified the second-round pick the Browns used in the supplemental draft. After a predictably slow start, the big-play threat has a good shot at 1,000 receiving yards.
Mitchell Schwartz has been solid along that offensive line as well. He rates just behind Cordy Glenn at right tackle according to PFF, having given up just three sacks on the year.
Billy Winn established himself as a starter on that defensive line, contributing adequately to a defense that has been quietly great for much of the season. John Hughes has done so as a rotational lineman as well.
Even undrafted rookies L.J. Fort and Josh Cooper have gotten in on the action. Again, this is a young team.
Rookie Class Grade: A-