The Cleveland Browns have made plenty of moves since the league New Year started on March 14. Trading for Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor, and Damarious Randall along with trading away 2017 second round pick Deshone Kizer and Danny Shelton. Starting cornerback from last season Jason McCourty was also traded and longtime Brown Joe Thomas retired after an 11 year career.
The New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts just completed a blockbuster trade which was headlined by the Jets moving from the sixth spot up to the third spot in the draft for presumably a quarterback of their future. This trade could have implications for the Browns selection at the No. 4 spot. One less quarterback will most likely be off the board because the Jets are still in the need of a franchise passer, even with resigning Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater this offseason.
Here is what I thought the Browns should do before the slew of moves.
With the moves made, something that could be smart for Cleveland to do is to take Bradley Chubb with the first overall pick then either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Denzel Ward with the fourth pick. Those selections will not happen, but based on the moves that have already been made, it may not be a bad idea to really get some defensive playmakers in the draft.
Here is the Cleveland Browns mock draft, part two.
ROUND 1, PICK 1: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Even with the trade for Tyrod Taylor, who knows if he is in the Browns long term plans. Taylor will do just fine in Cleveland for the next few years as Darnold can develop his game behind him. Darnold is arguably the best passer in this year’s draft and has shown it at times, too. He had an impressive pro day for USC- in the pouring rain, too. Darnold insisted that he do his throwing drills in the rain, saying “I don’t care if it rains, I’m trying to go to Cleveland.” Much like how Barkley is also a cannot miss talent at the top of the draft board, with the most recent moves by the Browns, Darnold takes that spot away from Barkley. He is someone the Browns will be able to build around for the foreseeable future and has enough talent– size, pocket passer, timing of throws, accuracy, mobility- to be very successful in the NFL.
ROUND 1, PICK 4: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
This pick stays the same amongst all the moves the Browns made. Even with acquiring a DB in Damarious Randall from the Green Bay Packers, Randall may be moved to the safety position. That would essentially open up two starting corner back sports. Fitzpatrick is arguably the draft’s best CB, with Ohio State’s Denzel Ward also in that conversation. Fitzpatrick is more versatile than Ward is, with the ability to play safety as well as being able to cover the slot and to cover the nickel linebacker responsibilities. He possesses great ball skills and has four pick-sixes at Alabama. Fitzpatrick is also able to play and make a difference on special teams.
Saquon Barkley could still be on the board at No. 4, especially after the Jets-Colts trade. After the Browns selection first overall, the New York Giants and Jets are picking two and three, respectively. Both teams are quarterback needy. Even if Barkley is on the board, I do not see the Browns taking him here in an attempt to fix a pass defense that ranked 19th in 2017.
ROUND 2, PICK 33: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson may not be on the board to start the second round, but if he is, Cleveland cannot miss. In another effort to sure up the pass defense and secondary, Jackson is the type of player that may need some time to develop and learn, as he only started 14 games in college. The starting cornerbacks would both be rookies and there would most likely be a learning curve there the first season, but Jackson and Fitzpatrick can both develop into very good ball hawking cornerbacks.
ROUND 2, PICK 35: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Even with the addition of Jarvis Landry, the Browns could still use some help on the outside. Josh Gordon’s life off the field is a big question mark. Corey Coleman has not played close to a full season since being drafted. And the next two receivers are guys who do not have much experience in Ricardo Louis and Rashard Higgins. Drafting Kirk will legitimately give the Browns a fourth receiving option on the outside when Landry, Gordon, and Coleman are good to go.
ROUND 2, PICK 63: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Due to Joe Thomas retiring, Cleveland is going to need to find a replacement to fill Thomas’ shoes, and they are big shoes to fill as he will be headed to Canton as soon as possible. The Browns signed some offensive lineman so far this offseason, but Williams will have a good chance to come in and compete for a starting spot on the line, which has an opportunity to be one of the better units in the league.