Cleveland Browns 2014 Mock Draft: Who Is the Ideal Pick in Every Round?
Welcome to the first edition of the complete Cleveland Browns 2014 mock draft as we explore who would be the ideal pick in every round.
The Browns own 10 selections, which includes a pair in the first round as well as two in the third and fourth.
No head coach makes predicting picks based on specific offensive and defensive systems impossible, but there are plenty of obvious areas that need help on both sides of the ball.
A whole lot can change between now and May's NFL entry draft with the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and combine still ahead.
As of right now, the following are the college prospects Cleveland should be calling up to the stage. Let the debates begin!
All player statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com.
7th-Round Pick: Bennett Jackson (CB)
Tall cornerbacks with speed are always in style. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks.
A 6'0" cornerback would be a welcome addition of size to a defensive backfield that had its largest corner standing at 5'10" last season.
Bennett Jackson was named to the FBS All-Independent First Team thanks to a successful campaign in 2013 that saw him rack up 64 total tackles, two interceptions and a sack.
A wide receiver in high school, Jackson made the switch to cornerback at Notre Dame. The senior possesses great hands to pluck the ball out of the air and combines that with above-average speed.
Jackson had to wait two years to become a starter and during that time developed into a solid special teams contributor for the Fighting Irish. The Browns are light on depth in the secondary and could always use extra help on the kicking/punting coverage units.
6th-Round Pick: L'Damian Washington (WR)
L'Damian Washington has the potential to be Cleveland's Josh Gordon, hidden gem find of 2014.
Blessed with incredible athleticism, the 6'4" wide receiver is a raw talent and definitely a work in progress. However, you can't teach a 4.39-second 40-yard dash time or the long, effortless strides that accelerate him downfield.
Another plus is that big No. 2 has a nose for the end zone. His 50 catches and 893 yards resulted in 10 touchdowns this past season.
The senior out of Missouri is effective lining up outside, but he is also physical enough to dominate as a slot receiver. Doesn't that sound like the skill set of one "Flash" Gordon?
Not always coming back for the ball and some sloppy route running are the knocks on Washington. As long as his attitude is right, these flaws should be easily correctable by whatever coaching staff is hired by the Browns.
5th-Round Pick: Marion Grice (RB)
Marion Grice is the dual-threat running back that Cleveland is looking for.
On the ground and through the air this senior combined for 20 total touchdowns. His 996 rushing yards are impressive, but the fact that Grice also caught 50 passes makes him an intriguing prospect.
The senior from Arizona State needs to add more weight to his 6'0" frame and run lower if he wants to withstand the pounding at the NFL level.
Fantastic cutting ability, good vision and instant acceleration are all reasons why the Sun Devil recorded seven multiscore games in 2013. What's more impressive is that Grice put up those numbers while missing his final three matchups of the season because of a lower-body injury.
He is expected to participate in Senior Bowl week at the end of January.
Cleveland scouts will certainly like that the Houston, Texas, native doubled as a kick returner on occasion during his collegiate career. Over 11 contests last year, he ran back 21 kicks for a total of 507 yards and a long of 44.
4th-Round Pick (from Indianapolis): Marcel Jensen (TE)
Who knows how the Browns' eventual new offensive system will value tight ends, but adding one that is 6'6" and 270 pounds couldn't hurt.
Fresno State's Marcel Jensen would be a nice insurance policy for Cleveland's Jordan Cameron.
Huge hands, bulk and overall athleticism make him an offensive coordinator's dream when conjuring up potential mismatches against opposing defenses.
However, Jensen is more than just a threat on offense. The Bulldog is an asset on run blocks as he can control and guide attackers to help open up lanes.
The senior is also a star on special teams, and that's not just because he hits hard. Jensen's impressive vertical leaping abilities allowed him to block four kicks throughout a very good collegiate career.
Jensen was underutilized in the passing game during 2013 when the program moved to more of a spread-offense focus. He is still an under-the-radar talent who could explode if given the opportunity.
4th-Round Pick: Chris Davis (CB)
Chris Davis will forever be linked to running the missed field goal back for an 108-yard touchdown against Alabama that sent Auburn to the national championship in 2013.
Don't forget that he's a pretty good cornerback, too.
Earning second-team all-conference honors this season, Davis is a ball hawk with an impressive vertical that allows him to compete against taller receivers.
In-between 5'10" and 5'11", this Tiger senior is better in zone than man coverage at this point. His skill set of agility, balance, speed and ability to change direction quickly are all NFL-ready.
The Browns' kick/punt return game became a complete non-factor after Travis Benjamin went down to injury this past year. Davis would add special teams depth and give Cleveland a formidable returner tandem, assuming Benjamin is fully recovered.
3rd-Round Pick (from Pittsburgh): Yawin Smallwood (ILB)
The Browns were exploited over the middle on a regular basis last season and in particular when opponents threw against inside linebacker Craig Robertson.
D'Qwell Jackson needs an upgraded partner, and Yawin Smallwood would be an excellent fit.
The junior from UConn has the size (6'3", 244 lbs), length and speed to be an instant improvement in pass coverage.
He was recognized both at the national level and by his club. Smallwood has the honor of being named to the All-American Athletic Conference First Team as well as the Huskies Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2013, Smallwood displayed agility and balance when asked to cover quick slot receivers, while still bringing the physicality needed to defend large tight ends. The native of Worcester, Mass., is also effective on the blitz where his fluid movement allows him to get after the quarterback.
3rd-Round Pick: Bryan Stork (C)
If free-agent Pro Bowler Alex Mack is not re-signed in the coming weeks, then Florida State's Bryan Stork is a depth selection that will be desperately needed on Cleveland's offensive line.
The national champion already feels like a seasoned pro as he was the anchor that helped grow an inexperienced line from 2011 into a dominant force in 2013.
Stork has been an exceptional run-blocker throughout college and is consistently improving in pass protection. The senior possesses ideal size (6'4", 300 lbs) and athleticism for the center position.
He did suffer a concussion in early October, but that shouldn't affect his draft ranking if medical examinations come back clear.
2nd-Round Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB)
This will surely be the most controversial choice of the entire mock draft.
If the Browns are not sold on the top-rated quarterbacks, or they are not available when they pick fourth overall, then Cleveland's front office goes for a very solid "Plan B."
His name is Jimmy Garoppolo, and he could very well be the most underrated quarterback in this entire draft.
In 2013, he was selected as an Associated Press FCS first-team All-American, won the Walter Payton Award and led all Division I players in touchdowns. His competition may not have always been upper echelon, but those accomplishments are still quite impressive.
Garoppolo also threw for over 300 yards on 11 occasions, five of which were for more than 400 yards. Let's not forget his 53 touchdowns, 5,050 passing yards and that he broke most of Tony Romo's Eastern Illinois school records.
Statistics don't mean everything, however. But combining these numbers with Garoppolo's 6'2", 222-pound frame and accurate arm certainly helps elevate his profile.
The senior goes through his progressions quickly, releases the ball on time and demonstrates the footwork needed to escape pressure.
Although he doesn't possess elite arm power, Garoppolo can put above-average zip on the pigskin, which will help him be successful in the NFL.
Garoppolo plays in the East-West Shrine Game this Saturday afternoon on NFL Network and is definitely worth checking out.
1st-Round Pick (from Indianapolis): Cyril Richardson (OG)
Cyril Richardson's versatility on the offensive line is what will make him most appealing to the Browns.
As a three-year starter, the 6'5", 335-pound behemoth was successful playing at both the left guard and left tackle positions.
Aside from Joe Thomas, Cleveland's O-line is filled with question marks, and Richardson could become an instant difference-maker.
The senior from Fort Worth, Texas, displays good footwork and streamline movement in pass protection while utilizing his pure power to dominate would-be tacklers on running plays.
Richardson needs to improve his angles when defending the blitz but overall appears to be a can't-miss prospect.
1st-Round Pick: Sammy Watkins (WR)
Cleveland's CEO Joe Banner decides to go the safe route here and find his future star quarterback later in the draft.
Clemson's Sammy Watkins is already used to wearing an orange helmet, so the transition seems natural. Seriously, though, the wide receiver is a dynamic playmaker who would provide a perfect complement to Gordon.
The junior's statistics from 2013 are staggering. He hauled in 101 receptions for 1,464 yards, averaged 14.5 yards per catch and scored 12 touchdowns.
Watkins gets up to full speed quickly and has ankle-breaking moves to wind his way through the secondary once he has the ball. The Tiger's smooth footwork allows him to beat press coverage, and he isn't afraid to punish defenders by initiating contact.
At 6'1" and 205 pounds, Watkins is average in size. The Florida native will also have his character questioned throughout the NFL combine process as he was arrested in May of 2012 on drug-related charges.
Andy McNamara is an international sports broadcaster and journalist.
Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyMc81.
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