Projecting the 2013 Impact for Each Cleveland Browns Draft Selection
In the 2013 draft, the Cleveland Browns made one thing perfectly clear: They're planning for the future.
The hints haven't been subtle. Owner Jimmy Haslam hasn't been shy about letting people know the Browns won't be going 13-3 this upcoming season. (ESPN Cleveland)
He's said it will take at least one more good draft and free agency period until the team is in contention.
"If we do that, we'll be able to compete in our division," he said earlier this month. (The News-Herald)
Browns CEO Joe Banner has said the team won't fill all of its needs this year (ESPN Cleveland), and he's said that about the draft and free agency, leaving plenty of cap space for another round of free agency action next year. (ClevelandBrowns.com)
The draft tips every team's hand somewhat, so by letting scouts go after the draft and limiting their input in the days leading up to the draft, combined with the team's minimal participation in the 2013 draft, the Browns' plan looks to be mostly setting up for next year and beyond. (ESPN Cleveland)
With all that in mind, let's take a look at what fans can expect the players they did select to contribute.
Round 1: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB
Cleveland's Dawg Pound typically makes a guttural, simulated barking noise to cheer on the team.
In 2013, Barkevious Mingo, the Browns' first-round selection has a nice ring to it.
Mingo has some adjustments to make taking his hand out of the dirt to play outside linebacker in Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton's new multi-front, downhill, attacking scheme.
Barkevious also was seldom used in pass coverage at LSU, so he will need to learn that entirely new dynamic in the NFL.
Browns fans should not expect Mingo to come in and be an every-down player his rookie season.
The team, looking toward the future, can afford to rotate Mingo and Jabaal Sheard to their liking.
As such, the full impact of Mingo's contribution likely cannot be expected until the 2014 season.
Nevertheless, Browns fans should expect to see flashes of the athleticism and tenacity that made Mingo a No. 6 overall selection.
I would project Mingo to have 20 to 30 combined tackles and around 5 sacks in 2013.
Round 2: Josh Gordon, WR (2012 Supplemental Selection)
The debate has been raging on Cleveland radio airwaves over the past 72 hours: Do you count Josh Gordon in the 2013 draft haul?
After all, taking Gordon with a second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft was former GM Tom Heckert's call. That was a totally different regime.
Different regime, yes, but it's the same team. People say the Browns didn't have a second-round pick in 2013. If the Browns didn't have a second-round pick, then the Browns wouldn't have Josh Gordon.
So yes, I count him, even though he's not a rookie. But he should far-and-away make the biggest impact of any of this year's draft selections.
Gordon is as prototypical a wide receiver as a wide receiver can get in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offense.
He's got a tremendously high ceiling and extravagant athletic ability. He should flourish.
In 2012, Gordon had 50 receptions for 805 yards and 5 TDs at 16.1 average yards per grab.
I expect at least 15 to 20 more receptions, several hundred more yards and up to 10 TDs in 2013.
Round 3: Leon McFadden, CB
Of the players selected by the Cleveland Browns between April 25 and April 27, 2013 CB Leon McFadden has the most to prove. He also has the most to gain, and a huge opportunity in front of him.
The Browns failed to sign a No. 2 cornerback in free agency to pair opposite rising star Joe Haden.
This left a glaring hole at the position heading into the draft. The Browns coveted Mingo so greatly, however, that they took him at No. 6 and had to wait until Round 3 to fill the cornerback need.
So as a No. 68 pick, McFadden will compete for the No. 2 cornerback job this summer, and he's got a legit shot at landing it.
At San Diego State University, McFadden learned to play on an island as a cover man.
He'll need to bring everything he learned there and more if he wants to line up as a starter in September.
If he earns the No. 2 CB spot and keeps it throughout the season, Browns fans should look for at least 40 or more tackles from him and maybe one or two interceptions.
Round 6: Jamoris Slaughter, Safety
Coming off an Achilles injury that Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter said in a conference call this weekend is 90 percent recovered, Browns fans should only expect him to push other options at the position. (ClevelandBrowns.com)
The Browns may even still bring in a veteran via remaining free agency to fill their need at free safety.
Slaughter will have his shot. He says he aims to be ready by training camp this summer.
He'll push Eric Hagg and Tashaun Gipson for as much playing time as he can get.
Nevertheless, as a sixth-round selection, Browns fans shouldn't expect much out of Slaughter in 2013 except for significant contribution to special teams.
Round 6: Armonty Bryant, DE; Round 7: Garrett Gilkey, OL
The Browns picked-up some late-round meat for their offensive and defensive lines in 2013.
With DE Armonty Bryant and OL Garrett Gilkey, they provide themselves some forms to mold into depth in the trenches.
Browns fans shouldn't expect to see much of either of these two players in 2013, aside from the preseason, of course.
But as the Browns aim for the future, it never hurts to have a couple big, young hosses in training.