Cleveland Browns Mock Draft: Updated 7-Round Projections After Senior Bowl
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The Senior Bowl is all wrapped up, and so ends the all-star games for this year's crop of NFL hopefuls.
This means that there is no better time to put together an updated seven-round mock draft for the Cleveland Browns.
These choices do not take into account any possible free-agency moves, but rather what positions the Browns must address if the entry draft were held today.
With the rookie combine not until the end of February, which prospects would fit best and join the Dawg Pound in Northeast Ohio?
It is time to enter the "war room," ladies and gentlemen...let the debate begin!
Round 6: Two Picks
UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria
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The conditional draft pick from August's David Sims trade to Philadelphia has resulted in Cleveland securing the Eagles sixth-round selection and giving up their seventh.
This was confirmed by Browns PR man Dan Murphy via Twitter:
Cleveland will now choose fifth and seventh in round six.
Tight ends are becoming more important than ever around the NFL and are slated to be so again in Cleveland with the incoming coaching staff.
His 637 yards and 12 touchdowns (including a score in the Holiday Bowl) demonstrate reliable hands and playmaking ability.
A possible go-to option over the middle would be an ideal addition for this young team's attack, even if he does lack a quick first step.
The UCLA Bruin's main weakness continues to be blocking, but a sixth-round pick is expected to be a work in progress.
Fauria's upside could be huge if his nose for the end zone and catching ability translate to the pros.
This gives the Browns another huge body to go alongside fellow TE Jordan Cameron and, if re-signed, Benjamin Watson.
Quinn Sharp (K/P)- Seventh Pick
The Oklahoma State leg man offers a hybrid skill set as a field-goal kicker, punter and on kickoffs.
Handling double duty as kicker and punter the past two seasons, Quinn Sharp was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals during Oklahoma State's victory in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Phil Dawson's future with the Browns is murky at best, meaning that an insurance policy needs to be put in place.
Sharp made 28-of-34 field-goal attempts with a long of 51 yards in 2012 and contributed a total of 156 points.
On the punting front, he consistently pins opponents inside the 20-yard line, which is something the Browns have been missing on a regular basis from current punter, Reggie Hodges.
This Senior Bowl participant provides the Browns with rare versatility that covers multiple special-teams assignments.
Round 5: Garrett Gilkey, OG, Chadron State
Chadron State offensive guard Garrett Gilkey at the Senior Bowl (far left)
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One of 10 players not from a NCAA Division I school at the Senior Bowl, Garrett Gilkey flies under most radars being from a small football program.
The Chadron State Eagle is an intimidating 6'7", 320-pound offensive guard that would be a solid pickup for Cleveland in the fifth round.
Pat Kirwan from CBS Sports gave his opinion of the 23-year-old:
He is one physical player that loves to battle in the trenches. Any team interested in a power guard that can move a defensive tackle will be interested in Gilkey. How this guy didn't play for a team like Nebraska or Wisconsin coming out of Chicago is a mystery to me.
A knock on the Browns' guard situation last season was the team's inability to create lanes for star running back Trent Richardson.
Selecting a grinder like Gilkey as well as adding a free agent such as Andy Levitre would correct this and also solidify the club's O-Line for the next five years.
Round 4: T.J. McDonald, FS, USC
Southern California free safety T.J. McDonald
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Coming off of a below-average senior season on a poor Trojan team, McDonald upped his stock this past week in preparation for the Senior Bowl.
The USC free safety demonstrated for NFL scouts his excellent acceleration and skills in being a physical run defender.
Bleacher Report's Lead Draft Writer, Matt Miller had the following to say:
The first thing you notice is his great size—McDonald is big with long arms and legs. That translates to good range, as he's able to cover the field well and has the length to go up and get the ball at its highest point.
McDonald's being 6'3" and 205 pounds is good news for the Browns, who could pair him up with veteran strong safety T.J. Ward.
McDonald is an immediate upgrade over Cleveland's current personnel at the position in Usama Young and Eric Hagg. Adding him and a shutdown outside cornerback would solidify the club's secondary.
CBS Sports projects the Pac-12 free safety as a third- or fourth-round selection. However, his play in Mobile, Ala., may have put the California native out of reach.
If T.J. McDonald is gone by the fourth round, then the Browns should look to fill their need at fullback.
Lonnie Pryor (Florida State), Tommy Bohanon (Wake Forest) and Zach Line (Southern Methodist) would each have a shot at cracking the opening-day roster.
In general, each fullback possess the desired combination of ability to lead block, handle some carries and make catches out of the backfield.
Round 3: Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Mississippi
Southern Mississippi linebacker Jamie Collins
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While not as sexy a pick at outside linebacker as probable first-round choices Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, senior Jamie Collins could be the impact player Cleveland is looking for.
New defensive coordinator Ray Horton is moving to a 3-4 scheme, which means that the Browns need some pass-rushing help behind the D-line.
Collins shone bright in an otherwise dismal season for winless Southern Mississippi.
Beginning his college career as a defensive back, the Golden Eagle made a successful transition to OLB.
He led the league in tackles for loss (20), in addition to causing four fumbles and knocking down five passes. That all added up to a selection to the All-Conference USA first team.
Hailing from McCall Creek, Miss., Collins utilizes his natural power to discard blockers and attacks ball-carriers with impressive acceleration.
Coupling those edge-rushing skills with a knack for zone coverage is exactly a package that the Browns are looking for.
The SMU star has the desired height at 6'3", but does need to add some bulk to his 245-pound frame.
On the technical side, Collins must clean up his tackling and really work on making faster decisions when alone in space.
Adding a proven free agent at the position (e.g. Anthony Spencer of Dallas) would be an ideal situation. This scenario would allow Collins' raw athletic talent time to develop.
Round 1: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Dee Milliner NFL Player Comparison
A strong performance during Alabama's national-championship win over Notre Dame cemented Dee Milliner as the best sixth overall choice for the Cleveland Browns.
The cornerback earned a unanimous vote to the All-SEC first team thanks to a stellar campaign.
He led the conference with 22 passes defended, posted four tackles for loss and grabbed a pair of interceptions.
Opponents learned to stay away from the Crimson Tide standout, and he also provides strong run support.
There is no doubt that the 6'1", 199-pound junior is NFL ready.
Dane Brugler from NFLDraftScout.com wrote the following:
He has an impressive combination of size, length and strength for the position...he has enough speed to be an impact starter in the NFL. Milliner is extremely aggressive with the ball in the air and plays with excellent timing, instincts and anticipation.
Remember that the Browns do not have a second-round pick because they selected talented wide receiver Josh Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft.
This is why locking down a legitimate outside CB to go opposite Joe Haden is of the utmost importance with their top choice.
Although he put up a valiant effort this past season, veteran Sheldon Brown's time in that role is over.
No other current roster player stepped up to fill the void, and the secondary imploded during the five games from which Haden was absent.
If a dominant veteran like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Sam Shields or Darrelle Revis cannot be acquired, then it absolutely has to be Dee Milliner or bust for Cleveland.
CEO Joe Banner, head coach Rob Chudzinski and owner Jimmy Haslam III
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The all-star games are done and the NFL Combine begins Feb. 20 as the entry draft quickly approaches.
Free agency begins March 12 and Cleveland's drafting requirements will alter based on what is added in the open market.
CEO Joe Banner and company better have their work boots on in order to fill a number of glaring holes on this Browns roster.
Follow Andy McNamara on Twitter @AndyMc81