The one thing we can rely on with any mock draft is it will be wrong. In the first two rounds of the draft we have to make as many selections as we make in our March Madness Brackets. The odds of filling out brackets correctly is an astronomical number. Since this is the case we can say that filling out two rounds of draft picks is even more unlikely. I’m guessing it would take a graduate degree in mathematics from MIT to figure out the odds of picking the first 64 selections correctly. The variables and factors affecting the draft are far more numerous than picking winners in a 65 team tournament. In the tournament we know the starting matchups. We have a set and small number of possible teams to match up in the next round and so on as you move deeper into the tournament. In the draft you have teams that have numerous needs, and numerous ways to go about filling those needs. Free agency has not yet opened. Teams will trade up and down on draft day. It’s not as simple as knowing Duke is playing FAMU in the first round.
Now, while I’ve enjoyed a lot of the mocks I’ve been reading, and I would love any of those scenarios to play out for the Browns, I thought it would be fun to go away from the norm in this mock. I wanted to put together a mock that may resemble a winning March Madness bracket after about a dozen upsets. You know, the one where the person in the office picks the winners based on how well the school has coordinated their uniform colors. Well, maybe not to that extreme, but you get the idea. I’ve mocked the draft conventionally, but I wanted to mock it with throwing a wrench into the draft. I would advise everyone who does their own mock to try this. It’s much more intriguing and fun to do. I mocked the entire first round to show that I’m just not plucking players I want and inserting them in the slots I could fill them in. Here’s what happened in my mock draft:
1.) Texans- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
2.) Rams- Sammy Watkins, WR, CLEM
3.) Jags- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louis
4.) Cowboys- Trade with the Browns in Jerry Jones’ effort to get the big name and big personality and keep him in Texas- Johnny Manziel
Browns give up their 1st (4) and 5th (133)
Cowboys give up their 1st (16), 2nd (47), 3rd (78) and 2015’s 1st round pick.
5.) Raiders- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, SCAR
6.) Falcons- Jake Matthews, OT, TAMU
7.) Bucs- Kahlil Mack, OLB, BUFF
8.) Vikes- CJ Mosley, ILB, BAMA
9.) Bills- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
10.) Lions- Justin Gilbert, CB, OK St.
11.) Titans-Darqueze Dennard, CB, MSU
12.) Giants- Greg Robinson, OT, AUB
13.) Rams- Taylor Lewan, OT, UM
14.) Bears- Timmy Jernigan, DT, FSU
15.) Steelers- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, BAMA
16.) Browns- Mike Evans, WR, TAMU.
The Browns recognized that given Evans’ 6’5” frame, 4.5 forty time, and game tape proved that he had more value at #16 (plus another 2nd, 3rd, and future 1st pick) than any of the four commonly mocked choices had at #4.
17.) Ravens- Marqise Lee, WR, USC
18.) Dolphins- RaShede Hageman, DT, Minn
19.) Jets- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
20.) Cardinals- Kony Ealy, DE, MIZZOU
21.) Packers- Aaron Donald, DT, PITT
22.) Eagles- Calvin Pryor, S, LOUIS
23.) KC- Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
24.) Bengals- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
25.) Chargers- Bradley Roby, CB, OSU
26.) BROWNS- Zach Martin, OT, ND. The Browns have no choice but to take him here. It’s not like their arm is being twisted though. They get great value here getting a lineman believed to have the skill to play all 5 OL positions. This will allow them the option of determining if he will fill the guard spot, or perhaps play RT and bump Schwartz down inside to play RG.
27.) Saints- Dee Ford, DE, AUB
28.) Panthers- Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, BAMA
29.) Patriots- Jace Amaro, TE, TT
30.) 49ers- Kyle Fuller, CB, Va. Tech.
31.) Broncos- Stephon Tuitt, DT, ND
32.) Seahwaks- David Yankey, OG, STAN
35.) Browns- Xavier Su’a-filo, OG, UCLA. The Browns complete their O-line for the long term with this pick. This will make the Browns stable at all 5 positions along the line considering the second first round pick, Zach Martin. All the pieces are in place to protect a QB and give a RB holes to run through. These will be taken next.
47.) Browns(from Cowboys)- Tre Mason, RB, AUB. Here the Browns get a great back to team up with Dion Lewis and Edwin Baker. We could see Carlos Hyde here, and while the runners have their differences, both are about equal in ability. Hyde seems to have talents spread more widely across the spectrum, in my opinion, but I think Hyde is such a popular fan pick it couldn’t possibly really happen, could it? No worries though, Tre Mason is just as worthy of a selection here.
71.) AJ McCarron, QB BAMA. The idea here is to go with Hoyer, and let McCarron learn the system. Pettine has already talked about how the QB is important, but there’s a lot more pieces involved in winning. This is the equivalent of saying, there’s nothing wrong with a “game manager”. While game managers aren’t exciting, if you play solid defense and special teams and run the ball well, you will win with a game manager because they don’t make mistakes. Russell Wilson didn’t have near the year Manning had, but put them head to head, team against team, and look what happened. Russell Wilson isn’t necessarily a game manager, but he’s not the guy who is going to carry a team. (Mettenberger or Murray may be taken here if McCarron is off the board. The goal this year will be to get Hoyer competition. If our roster of QBs doesn’t pan out this year, we will have a completed roster after this draft, and we will sell our draft next year for Winston or Mariota.)
78.) BROWNS (from Cowboys)- Christian Jones, ILB, FSU. This helps make up for the loss of DQ, which I believe will also be addressed in FA by acquiring Brandon Spikes. The Browns benefit from Jones’ lack of production this year. He played a lot on the edge this year and his production dropped, which drove his draft stock down. He is more effective on the inside, where the Browns will be using him.
83.) BROWNS- L’Damian Washington, WR, MIZZOU. The Browns continue the theme of BIG SPEED at the WR spot, adding another 6’4” frame running a sub 4.5 forty. L’Damian will replace Davone Bess, as Mike Evans renders Greg Little useless. Defenses will quiver, regardless of our QB. The improvements along the O-line and the WR spot, and improvements in the running game will be enough to make an average QB look outstanding. He’s a big time blocker for his lean frame. He’s all effort and a hard worker with a lot of heart. His story is told in the link below.
102.) BROWNS- Jaylen Watkins, CB, UF. We missed out on his brother, but he will provide an upgrade over Buster Skrine. Will work mostly as a nickel for a couple years as the Browns will go after Sam Shields, Alterruan Verner, or Vontae Davis to play opposite Joe Haden. The secondary will go from the weakest unit on the defensive side of the ball to the best unit on the team with the addition of Jairus Byrd too.
123.) BROWNS- Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor. This pick is mostly a developmental pick/special teamer pick, as Gipson will end up as a solid backup to Jairus Byrd when he is signed by the Browns. This leaves Dixon to make a living as a special teamer, for now.
164.) BROWNS- Lamin Barrow, ILB, LSU. We are looking for special teamers and depth within certain units from the previous pick through the next pick. Given the state of the ILB’s this should be an easy choice.
195.) BROWNS- Boseko Lokombo, OLB, Oregon. Another decent sized, athletic, speedy guy to fly around on special teams.
This draft, more specifically the trade, may seem a bit far-fetched to some. My response to that would be to say that we all get stuck in mock draft mode where our drafts mock each others. Everyone ends up thinking nearly the same thing. There is a need to be safe and be as correct as you can. There is little risk taken. If we all keep our mocks looking similar then we will all be right or wrong together.
Is this mock a likely scenario? No, but that’s because there is a near infinite amount of variables that could affect a draft. No draft is likely. Even Mike Mayock’s mock is unlikely. The Browns could also see themselves as trade partners with Minnesota. They could end up with Jadeveon Clowney.
None of these scenarios are likely, but when you take the sum of the number of unlikely scenarios, they far outnumber the conventional scenario. In this case, the likely scenario is the most unlikely to actually occur. So, when creating a mock, don’t be afraid to throw some wrenches into the thing. Think outside of the box. Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper will both be wrong, and so will you. Have fun with it. Maybe you’ll be the old lady in the office who gets lucky and wins the March Madness pool.