Well, I have found myself a little bit addicted to mock drafts. I’ve played out so many scenarios that I’d be shocked if I haven’t come across what will actually happen in the first round of the draft at some point in the various mocks that I’ve done. I’ve seen crazy things happen, like Yawin Smallwood going in the first round or Ryan Shazier falling deep into the third round.
I think I failed to make this clear when I posted my first mock draft, so I should probably do it now. My mock drafts are not predictions. I don’t see any point in me trying to predict what the Browns are going to do in all of these spots, especially since I really have no idea how close the progression of picks being generated by the mock draft simulators are to reality. I’m just picking the players that I think I would really take if I was the one calling the shots.
One other note: I’m using first-pick.com for my mock drafts because I like the option of making trades. The site’s simulator is definitely flawed. I think it auto-generates way too many trades between teams and occasionally a pick is a real head-scratcher (I guess that is just like the real draft, though, isn’t it?), but it makes for interesting scenarios, some of which probably are pretty realistic. As a rule, I don’t accept a trade that is offered to the Browns when I’m on the clock unless I think it is something that could really happen (for example, I don’t think the Steelers would offer their 1st and 2nd-rounders this year along with their 1st-rounders in 2015 and 2016 to move up to the 4th spot in the draft, but that was offered to me in one of the mock drafts I did).
So, having said all of that, here is how this mock draft played out. There are several similarities to my mock draft 1.0, which you can see by clicking here, but also some notable differences. I welcome your feedback.
Round 1 Pick 1 (1) Texans: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Round 1 Pick 2 (2) Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Round 1 Pick 3 (3) Jaguars: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Round 1 Pick 4 (4) (CLE) Falcons: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Round 1 Pick 5 (5) Raiders: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Round 1, Pick 6 (From Atlanta) Browns select:
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (Previous pick: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – at 4)
The Falcons offered #6 and their 2nd-round pick to move up and nab Jadeveon Clowney when he fell to the 4th pick. This seemed like something that may actually happen in the real draft if Clowney is there at the Browns spot, so I took the offer.
I slid to the 6th spot and was glad that my top pick for the Browns at 4 fell to me again, netting me the quarterback I covet in Teddy Bridgewater. I’ve already written about why I like Bridgewater so much a couple of times on the blog, so I’ll just reiterate very briefly: when I watch him play the position, I already see an NFL quarterback. I don’t have to wonder how he’ll transition to the NFL because he has already been playing in a pro style offense. He arm is strong and accurate, his grasp of the game and ability to read defenses is ahead of the curve, his pocket presence is excellent, his decision-making is sound, he’s already accustomed to making checks at the line of scrimmage and reading the whole field…I could go on, but I won’t. I don’t understand why more people don’t think Bridgewater should be the first quarterback off the board in this draft, but if that thinking allows the Browns to get him I’m fine with it.
Round 1 Pick 7 (7) Buccaneers: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Round 1 Pick 8 (8) Vikings: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Round 1 Pick 9 (9) Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Round 1 Pick 10 (10) Lions: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Round 1 Pick 11 (11) Titans: Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Round 1 Pick 12 (12) Giants: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Round 1 Pick 13 (13) (STL) Bears: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Round 1 Pick 14 (14) (CHI) Rams: Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Round 1 Pick 15 (15) Steelers: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Round 1 Pick 16 (16) Cowboys: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Round 1 Pick 17 (17) Ravens: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Round 1 Pick 18 (18) Jets: Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California
Round 1 Pick 19 (19) Dolphins: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Round 1 Pick 20 (20) (ARI) Chargers: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Round 1 Pick 21 (21) Packers: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Round 1 Pick 22 (22) (PHI) Texans: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Round 1 Pick 23 (23) Chiefs: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Round 1 Pick 24 (24) (CINN) Patriots: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Round 1 Pick 25 (25) (S.D.) Broncos: Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Round 1, Pick 26
David Yankey, G, Stanford (Previous pick: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama)
The Browns have not addressed their weakness at guard in free agency, so that leaves the draft to fill the hole there. Yankey is considered by many to be the best guard available, although I would be happy with him or Xavier Su’a Filo of UCLA.
I wrote about Yankey in my previous mock draft, so I won’t go into great detail on him again. He is a “plug-and-play” draft pick that should be able to start immediately for the Browns. He will need coached up a bit to improve in his technique, particularly in pass blocking, but he should improve quickly and has a skill set that I believe will translate quickly into NFL success. I also like that he plays with a mean streak that Su’a Filo doesn’t really display. Yankey would look really good on the Browns line in 2014.
Round 1 Pick 27 (27) Saints: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Round 1 Pick 28 (28) (CAR) Raiders: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Round 1 Pick 29 (29) (N.E.) Rams: Xavier Su’a Filo, OG, UCLA
Round 1 Pick 30 (30) (S.F.) Jaguars: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Round 1 Pick 31 (31) (DEN) Cardinals: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Round 1 Pick 32 (32) Seahawks: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Round 2, Pick 3
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (Previous pick: Trade down to round 2, pick 12, selected David Yankey, G, Stanford)
I’ll admit that after watching Roby get torched on multiple occasions last season I was really down on his draft stock. However, after reading what many people have had to say and watching him a little more, I am willing to believe that with coaching Roby can harness his tremendous athletic gifts and become an excellent cornerback at the NFL level. After all, it’s not like anyone in that Buckeyes secondary looked like they were getting much coaching last season.
Roby runs a 4.39 40-yard dash, and shows excellent ability to play tight coverage and stay on his man all over the field. The Buckeyes scheme didn’t do him any favors last year, and most feel that he has a good chance to go toward the end of the 1st round in the draft. If he is there for the Browns at this pick, I’d be okay with taking him. He can probably come in and win the second cornerback job from day 1 against Buster Skrine, although he will likely show a learning curve if he does start as a rookie.
Round 2, Pick 5 (From Atlanta)
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame (Previous pick: N/A)
With the second-round pick acquired in the earlier trade with the Falcons, I had to go with the guy I considered the best player available and take Stephon Tuitt.
I think he’s got a very good chance to go in the 1st round, although it’s not out of the question that he could be available to the Browns in round 2. While the team has depth on the defensive line, it doesn’t hurt to add a talented player like this – especially with Ahtyba Rubin in the last year of his contract.
Walter Football rates Tuitt as the best 3-4 defensive end in the draft this year. I don’t see any reason to disagree with them. Tuitt has a tremendous blend of length, power and quickness. Despite his natural gifts, he is also a worker who is striving to get better. In his last two seasons at Notre Dame he posted 19 sacks and 22 tackles for loss. His game regressed slightly at the start of 2013 after he gained some weight during the offseason, but he showed marked improvement as the year went along. In the Browns 3-4 scheme his added bulk could be useful, especially since he still possesses good quickness for a man of his size (6’6″, 320 lbs).
It might not be the sexiest pick at this spot, but I think Tuitt is a guy who could contribute as part of the defensive line rotation immediately and take over as a starter in the event that Rubin departs after the season.
Round 3, Pick 7
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss (Previous pick: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State)
Confession time: I’ve got a man-crush on Donte Moncrief. With so many talented wide receivers available in this draft, he may get lost in the shuffle at times. But if he is here in the 3rd round Moncrief would be a great pick for the Browns.
The Browns need a #2 wide receiver opposite Josh Gordon. Since I’m taking the QB in round 1 with Bridgewater (I know many of you disagree with that pick) instead of Sammy Watkins, here is the guy to fill that need. Moncrief is 6’2″, 221 pounds, and he runs a 4.40 40-yard dash. He has a chance to be a beast at the NFL level.
He isn’t as explosive as Sammy Watkins, but he does boast a big frame, great speed, and smooth route running skills. He is strong in his breaks and displays rapid acceleration that enables him to pull away from defenders and create space against all types of coverage. Another huge selling point: outstanding hands. If the ball is in his area, Moncrief grabs it and pulls it in. He is a very reliable receiver. He also shows a willingness to mix it up in the run game as a capable blocker.
He can improve in using his size and strength and in going up to high-point the ball in contested situations. He has the athletic ability to do so, posting a 39.5-inch vertical jump and a 132.0-inch broad jump at the combine.
I think Moncrief is a real sleeper in this draft. He finished his college career with 156 receptions for 2,371 yards and 20 touchdowns in 3 seasons.
Round 3, Pick 19
Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas (Previous pick: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin)
This is a pick I’d love to see the Browns make. The Alex Mack situation has been covered well already, but suffice it to say that there is some question about how much longer he will be a member of the Cleveland Browns. Swanson would give the Browns both leverage in negotiations with Mack and an insurance policy in the event he leaves.
Swanson was a durable and strong starter for Arkansas over the past 4 years. He demonstrated strength, intelligence, toughness, quickness, and good technique while going up against elite defensive linemen in SEC. Swanson also showed the versatility to play either guard or center in a variety of schemes. Like Yankey, he also displays a mean streak and plays through the whistle.
I’ve seen some suggest that there is an outside chance he could go as high as the first round. He has the ability to perhaps start from day one in the NFL. Swanson is solid in pass and run-blocking, and projects as a long-term starter. Even if Mack does end up signing long-term with the Browns, Swanson could potentially become a starting guard alongside him.
Round 4, Pick 6
Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford (Previous pick: Dion Bailey, S, USC)
The Browns may or may not acquire Arthur Moats in free agency as of this writing. Whether they do so or not, I like Skov at this pick.
Skov was a rock of a starter for Stanford during his time at the school, and displays great instincts and physicality. He is a natural at the inside linebacker position. He gained a reputation during college for making big plays at big moments. He did tear his ACL in 2011, but he looked fully recovered last season, when he posted 109 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and 4 pass breakups. He goes right after blockers and shows excellent skill in shedding blocks and getting into the backfield to cut runners down. He’s a very good tackler, and it’s clear that he’s worked hard to improve in that area.
The only reason Skov will likely slide to the late-3rd round or lower is because he doesn’t have elite speed and could be a question mark in coverage.
His instincts, fiery manner, and physical play should make him an immediate fan favorite. I really like the idea of watching Skov fly around making plays in the orange and brown.
Round 4, Pick 27
Jared Abbrederis (Previous pick: Michael Sam, DE, Missouri)
Last time I was glad to draft Abbrederis with the 19th pick in round 3, and this time he slides all the way to the end of the 4th round.
As I said in the previous mock draft, Abbrederis’ route running, deceptive speed, and soft hands are extremely appealing. He should be able to play inside or outside and be a reliable pass-catcher for Bridgewater as they move forward together, and help take some attention away from Josh Gordon, Donte Moncrief and Jordan Cameron.
Round 5, Pick 5
Terrance West, RB, Towson (Previous pick: Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU)
The Browns have locked up a starting back by signing Ben Tate, but I think most fans would say they should still add another running back in the draft. I think West is a really nice fit.
At 5’9″ and 225 pounds, West is a solidly built and muscular back who finishes his runs strong, driving through contact. He also displays excellent balance and good vision and patience. He is a natural runner who hits the hole aggressively and makes strong cuts to get upfield quickly. He breaks tackles at all levels of the defense. And he has excellent speed for a big back.
West also has the potential to contribute right away as a pass-catcher in third down situations, since that is a weak area for Tate. West can stand to improve in his pass protection, though.
I think he can come in and provide immediate depth for Tate, whose injury history is already well-known to Browns fans, and has the potential to be a good starting running back in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme.
West finished his college career with a tremendous 2013 season, rushing for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns – both FCS records.
Round 6, Pick 4
Tre Boston, FS, North Carolina (Previous pick: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU)
The Browns have brought in Donte Whitner to shore up the strong safety position, which leaves Tashaun Gipson as the starting free safety. While Gipson was improved last year, it’s anyone’s guess if he will continue to develop into a true above-average starter. If he doesn’t, I like Boston as a guy who could develop nicely into a starter.
Boston is a former cornerback, and demonstrates solid coverage skills. He has good speed and size, and gets all over the field to make plays. Boston is not afraid to attack the line of scrimmage and throw his body into the fray and make plays in run defense. He also shows excellent agility, changing direction fluidly without losing speed. In addition, he’s fiery and competitive, displaying good leadership skills as a senior leader for the Tar Heels last season. Perhaps most impressive are his ball skills. He tracks the ball well, gets to the spot and makes plays. Boston will go up and high-point the ball and will not concede the reception to a receiver. He grabbed 13 interceptions in 4 years of college, 9 of those in the last two seasons.
He does need to be coached to improve in maintaining his fundamentals in tackling. At times he shows perfect form but at other times he fails to wrap up the ballcarrier and misses tackles. He also needs to be helped to read the offense so that he can react quicker off the snap.
This is a high-potential pick at this spot, and he should be able to contribute on special teams right away. If he surprises in training camp he could potentially even push Gipson for the starting safety spot as a rookie, although that would be an outside shot.
Round 7, Pick 3
Devon Kennard, OLB, USC (Previous pick: Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty)
Kennard was a 5-star prospect coming out of high school, but he didn’t quite live up to that billing at USC. However, he would be worth a shot as a 7th-round pick.
He shows a solid variety of moves when rushing the passer off the edge. He also does a good job of setting the edge in run defense, forcing runners back to the inside. He shows good play recognition and awareness, and is a good leader. The questions on Kennard seem to center around his somewhat limited athleticism and closing speed, and the likelihood that he is pretty much maxed out in terms of his physical development. He isn’t regarded as a playmaker who will get into the backfield and get stops.
Despite the limitations, as a 7th-round pick I like his solid fundamentals, good technique and intangibles. He’ll probably never be a starter, but he could become a decent rotation player and special teams contributor who will also be a positive in the locker room. That wouldn’t be a miss this late in the draft.
Rob Magee is a lifelong Browns fan who suffered his most devastating punch to the gut when a friend recorded The Langoliers over his VHS copy of the 1993 Browns vs. Steelers game that featured two Eric Metcalf punt returns for touchdowns. You can follow him on Twitter @robisindy, or you can send your thoughts to him at DPNRob@gmail.com.