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Cleveland Browns Mock Draft: Fresh 7 Round Predictions After Free Agent Signings

Will BurgeContributor IMarch 17, 2014

Cleveland Browns Mock Draft: Fresh 7 Round Predictions After Free Agent Signings

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    With each passing day of the NFL offseason, the Cleveland Browns’ game plan becomes clearer. General manager Ray Farmer may have been a wild card of sorts entering free agency, but his plan to rebuild the Browns is slowly coming to light.

    As promised, the Browns have used their cap space to fill holes in the roster. Safety Donte Whitner, linebacker Karlos Dansby and running back Ben Tate can all be classified as upgrades at their positions. These signings, along with the release of quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell, paint a picture of who the Browns might draft in May.

    When I wrote the seven-round mock draft of “best case scenarios” for the Browns back in January, I had them selecting a quarterback and wide receiver with their first two picks. Farmer’s actions have done nothing but strengthen the case that they will draft a ton of offense early.

    Here is my latest seven-round mock draft for the Browns. If this scenario comes true, they will have a huge face lift on the offensive side of the football.

First Round (Fourth Pick)

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    A scout once told me that when you are trying to figure out who a team is going to draft, you have to think about magic. He said that a magician’s job is to hide the obvious. They must use deception to make your mind and eyes wander away from what is actually happening in the trick.

    When the Browns select Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the fourth overall pick, it will be the height of deception.

    There is no inside info or sources behind this prediction. There is only magician’s logic. Who is the one quarterback who has had zero connections to the Browns in any reports? Teddy Bridgewater.

    He has long been considered the best bet at quarterback in this draft, but over the past few months, people have fallen in love with UCF’s Blake Bortles and even Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.

    They will select a quarterback somewhere; it just depends on who that is and how early. If Bortles is gone, do not be surprised if Ray Farmer pulls a rabbit out of his hat and selects Bridgewater with the fourth overall selection.

    So there it is…

    “With the fourth pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.”

First Round (26th PIck)

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    Victor Calzada/Associated Press

    It is not a sexy pick, but the Browns did nothing in free agency thus far to bolster their below-average offensive line. In fact, they let Shawn Lauvao and Oniel Cousins walk away in free agency, so they have a ton of space to fill.

    The Browns not only fill a space but get a potential ten-year starter at guard in UCLA’s Xavier Su’a Filo. He is big, strong and athletic. He dominates at the point of attack. The Browns desperately need someone to help the right side of the line, especially with a rookie quarterback at the helm.

    Filo had 38 career starts at UCLA and is the guy most think of as the best guard in the draft.

    So there it is…

    “With the 26th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select UCLA guard Xavier Su’a Filo.”

Second Round (35th Pick)

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    The Browns were able to pass on a wide receiver at the end of the first round because of the abundance of pass-catchers in this draft. While Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State would be nice, there is not much separation between him and the next few receivers.

    They need a guy with size and strength to play opposite All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon. They need a guy who will make teams pay for rolling a safety to the other side of the field. That guy will be Penn State’s Allen Robinson. The 6’2”, 220-pound receiver made huge plays in the Big Ten in college and projects to do the same in the NFL.

    While Robinson does not have elite level speed, he does attack the ball and find soft spots in the defense. Most people view a second receiver as a guy who has to beat defenses deep, but that is not always the case.

    Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com compares him to Anquan Boldin, and that is exactly what the Browns need. Think of him as a Boldin-type receiver from the Arizona Cardinals days when he played with Larry Fitzgerald.

    So there it is…

    “With the 35th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson.”

Third Round (71st & 83rd Picks)

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    So far, the Browns have focused all of their draft picks on the offensive side of the football, but that is about to change. They did not sign another starting cornerback in free agency as of yet and will need to address that early in the draft.

    They will get a steal in the third round when they select Stanley Jean-Baptiste out of Nebraska. He is 6’3” and plays nastily.

    Jean-Baptiste received rave reviews at the Senior Bowl and did the same at the scouting combine. His 4.61 40-yard dash time left something to be desired, but he out-jumped every other cornerback at the combine with a 41.5 inch vertical leap. He also had the fifth-best broad jump among his group.

    So there it is…

    “With the 71st pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste.”

     

    The Browns will then go right back to the offensive side of the football and try to solidify their line. This time, they will rip their guy from a relatively unknown school called Furman.

    Dakota Dozier is a 6”4”, 312-pound bulldozer and will instantly upgrade the Browns rushing attack. His measurables at the combine were nothing to write home about, but his style is more bruiser than finesse.

    Every great offensive line needs an enforcer guard, and Dozier will be that guy for the Browns.

    So there it is…

    “With the 83rd pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Furman guard Dakota Dozier.”

Fourth Round (102nd & 123rd Pick)

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    Head coach Mike Pettine’s defense likes to attack from the linebacker positions. It is also a true hybrid defense, meaning that middle linebackers will be expected to play outside on occasion.

    Even after signing Karlos Dansby, there is still a very real need for playmakers at inside linebacker. That’s where Florida State’s Christian Jones comes into play.

    At 6’3” and just 240 pounds, he is not a true inside guy, but he is perfect for a hybrid system. He can cover and rush the passer, and he plays well in traffic despite a smaller frame.

    So there it is…

    “With the 102nd pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Florida State linebacker Christian Jones.”

     

    Donte Whitner is entering his ninth season, and even though he is just 28 years old, the Browns need to be thinking of the future. The safety position, in Pettine’s defense, is not necessarily defined as a “free safety” or “strong safety.” Instead, it puts heavy emphasis on being well-rounded and near the ball at all times.

    The Browns will get a steal of a pick in LSU’s Craig Loston in the fourth round. He will sit behind Whitner and Tashaun Gipson to begin the year. It would not surprise me, however, if he challenges Gipson for a starting job at some point in 2014.

    I think very highly of Gipson, so that is high praise for the ball-hawking hard hitter out of the SEC.

    So there it is…

    “With the 123rd pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select LSU safety Craig Loston.”

Fifth Round (133rd Pick)

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    GM Andrews/Associated Press

    In the fifth round, the Browns will get some more help in their backfield and select Wisconsin running back James White. Everyone seems to assume that the Browns love Dion Lewis, but we must remember he was a Joe Banner guy, and he is coming off of an injury.

    White is 5’9”, 204 pounds, and built in the mold of Maurice Jones-Drew. He is a very good blocker and has great burst. He will compete for the second running back spot with Lewis and most likely win because of his blocking abilities.

    So there it is…

    “With the 133rd pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Wisconsin running back James White.”

Sixth Round (164th Pick)

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Browns do not currently have a true fullback on their roster, and they finally find one in the sixth round. They do not get much better than J.C. Copeland out of LSU.

    At 5’11”, 271 pounds, he is a human wrecking ball, but he is surprisingly agile. He was known for pancaking lineman in the SEC but can also carry the ball. He had four rushing touchdowns as a short-yardage specialist.

    So there it is…

    “With the 164th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select LSU fullback J.C. Copeland.”

Seventh Round (195th Pick)

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    The seventh round is the place to take a developmental-type player, and that is exactly what the Browns do by selecting Saginaw Valley State wide receiver Jeff Janis. He is 6’3” and ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine.

    In 2013, he had 1,492 receiving yards in just his conference games alone. He is the type of player you can take a risk on late in the draft.

    So there it is…

    “With the 195th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Saginaw Valley State wide receiver Jeff Janis.”

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