The Cleveland Browns had a very successful offseason by obtaining significant players to help them try to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Browns now look to the 2019 NFL Draft to fill the remaining holes. Let’s discover who the Browns can select in the upcoming draft to help bring playoff football to Cleveland.
John Dorsey has led a dramatic turnaround to the historic Cleveland Browns franchise. From the drafting of quarterback Baker Mayfield to the acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns have lit a fire of optimism and hysteria in the city of Cleveland. When you look at their current roster, you see explosive playmakers throughout, but there are still some weaknesses that need to be addressed.
The Browns own eight picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, including three fifth-rounders. The trade for Beckham cost Cleveland’s first-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, the 17th overall pick, and leaves the Browns without a selection in the first round for the first time since 2008.
Let’s discover how the Browns improve their roster and turn their weaknesses into strengths as I ran through the Browns’ eight picks in the NFL Draft and conducted a mock draft using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine.
2019 NFL Draft needs: CB, LB, OT, IOL, EDGE, WR
Round 2, 49th Pick Overall: Rock Ya-Sin, Cornerback, Temple
Ya-Sin was a one-year starter at Temple after being a standout at Presbyterian College. He finished his only season with Temple amassing 47 tackles (36 solos), 12 passes defended and two interceptions. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but his 40-yard dash time of 4.51 at the NFL Scouting Combine was good for 18th among cornerbacks. Rock shines when the ball is in the air, showing impressive footwork and great hands. He has a really high floor considering his limited exposure to top-level wide receivers. His size and ball-hawking abilities are a perfect complement to last year’ first-round pick Denzel Ward.
Round 3, 80th Pick Overall: Dre’Mont Jones, Interior Defensive Lineman, Ohio State
Jones will provide the interior pass rush, as he has 22 sacks over the last three seasons. He should be able to play immediately on passing downs and produce negative plays as he produced for the Buckeyes to the tune of 13 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in 2018. There are concerns about his ability to defend the run, though, as he is more of a finesse player. Jones will need to build-up strength to make up for being an undersized defensive tackle at 6-foot-3 and 286 pounds.
Round 4, 119th Pick Overall: Kris Boyd, Cornerback, Texas
Boyd was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team and is good, physical zone corner who is excellent against the run. He could build some upper body strength on his 6’0″, 195-pound frame. A high-energy corner who is adept at blitzing but sometimes struggles with the deep ball, the Browns continue to build quality depth by adding Boyd.
Round 5, 144th Pick Overall: Chuma Edoga, Offensive Tackle, USC
Edoga was a two-year starter at right tackle for the Trojans. He is a very athletic tackle who is on the lighter side and will need to bulk up for the NFL. His stock shot up dramatically since late January after he was named the overall Player of the Week in the annual practice awards at the Senior Bowl.
Congrats to Senior Bowl Practice Player of the Week (Top Overall), USC tackle Chuma Edoga (@edogawd). There’s a long list of players that improved their draft stock this week in Mobile but none more than Edoga, who consistently stood out in OL/DL 1-on-1’s. #seniorbowl pic.twitter.com/CvGnN6Wgwr
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 25, 2019
His most impressive trait is his arm length of 34 7/8 inches, which is fantastic for the tackle position. Edoga could end up being an under the radar steal that secures one of the tackle spots long term protecting Mayfield.
Round 5, 155th Pick Overall: Khalil Hodge, Linebacker, Buffalo
Hodge was a tackling machine, racking up over 400 tackles and leading all NCAA players in solo tackles over the last three seasons. He has unbelievable vision and instincts but has athletic limitations. Coming into the 2018 season, he had the second best (39.4) passer rating when targeted according to PFF amongst 2019 draft-eligible linebackers. His intelligence and work ethic will allow him to be a solid starter and an inside-the-tackle-box defender.
Round 5, 170th Pick Overall: Emeke Egbule, Linebacker, Houston
Egbule made the transition from tight end to linebacker. He recorded 69 tackles, 5.5 for losses, two sacks and two interceptions during his final season for the Cougars. He has tons of raw, physical talent. NFL teams were intrigued by his potential and natural athletic ability more than his stats that he collected. His thick, muscular build and speed are NFL-caliber. It shows in his coverage against tight ends or running backs, Egbule had four passes defended in 2018. Egbule would be a solid selection on defense with quality players. He’d have time to realize the potential his tape hints at.
Round 6, 189th Pick Overall: Hunter Renfrow, Wide Receiver, Clemson
At 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Renfrow is not built like the prototypical wide receiver, however, he produces on the football field. Renfrow has started more games at wide receiver than any other player in Clemson history. He produced 186 receptions, 2133 yards, and 15 touchdowns through four seasons at Clemson. Renfrow is a reliable, sure-handed slot receiver and is coming into the NFL at a good time for slot receivers. He can learn a lot from Jarvis Landry and will provide a reliable weapon for Baker Mayfield. Renfrow’s work ethic and leadership would be a welcome addition to a talented receiver room.
Round 7, 221st Pick Overall: Derwin Gray, Offensive Tackle, Maryland
Derwin Gray played left tackle for the Terrapins but does not move well enough to play tackle in the NFL. He is a big-bodied mauler, who despite weighing 330 pounds, blocked a field goal attempt in Maryland’s victory over Texas. Gray was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection. He anchored a Maryland offensive line that rushed for 230.2 yards per game, which ranked third in the Big Ten. NFL teams can never have enough offensive lineman and Gray can provide legit depth to an already established offensive line.
The Cleveland Browns are in unfamiliar territory in that they are a playoff-caliber team looking only to fill holes. With their offseason moves, the Browns firmed up their offense to be explosive and feared by opposing defenses. Their defense is still a work in progress but the signings of Sheldon Richardson and the acquisition of pass rusher Olivier Vernon along with the incoming draft picks should make the other AFC North teams concerned that the Browns will be a perennial force for upcoming seasons.