Cleveland Browns 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

The Cleveland Browns have holes to fill on their defense. The interior of the line needs depth, and the edge requires support. Do they have enough picks?

The 2023 NFL Draft has officially started, and the Cleveland Browns have holes on the roster to fill. The club hopes Deshaun Watson can return to the form they saw when they gave him perhaps the most controversial contract in NFL history.

Giving him some additional help should be a priority. Another priority has to be the defensive line. Aside from Myles Garrett, Cleveland doesn’t have many pieces at either the interior or the edge.

Cleveland Browns Team Following Round 1 of the NFL Draft

  • DT
  • EDGE
  • WR

The Cleveland Browns’ defensive line lacks meaningful depth. Due to the nature of big guys wearing down faster, rotations are needed to keep everyone fresh. Frontline starters are likely only playing 65% of all defensive snaps along the interior, so quality depth is paramount to keeping up late in ball games.

Additionally, the edge needs some help beyond star player Myles Garrett. He is a top-three edge rusher in this league, but when every big play is expected from him, the load can be immense. He needs a Robin to his Batman.

MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator

On the offensive side, quarterback Deshaun Watson was downright abysmal after returning from suspension for his alleged involvement in dozens of sexual misconduct allegations. He has played very little football over the last two calendar years, and it showed.

Making matters worse, Cleveland did a very Browns thing and gave him the richest contract in league history (until recently), and it’s fully guaranteed. They have to make this work. They will need to get him some help.

Predictions and Top Targets for Every Browns Draft Pick

The trade between the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers shook up the NFL Draft order. The Browns don’t even get to be beneficiaries of early QB selections pushing better talent down to them since they don’t have a draft pick until the third round.

That may not be enough to help them fill their overall team needs. Using the PFN Mock Draft Simulator, here is how I would fill those needs for Cleveland.

3.11 | Siaki Ika, DT

Cleveland would be lucky to be making this selection this late in the draft, as it fills a direct need. Siaki Ika is a big man who eats space for fun. He could serve as a great gap-filler to wear down offensive linemen trying to move him.

3.35 | Tyler Scott, WR

Tyler Scott has the traits to be explosive as a chess piece for the offense and could provide playmaking prowess that Cleveland far too often lacked last year.

4.09 | Sean Tucker, RB

This is a bit of a luxury pick, as the Browns have one of the best backs in the league in Nick Chubb. The value here is too great to pass up, though. Sean Tucker likely goes higher if there aren’t any medical questions, and with how the career arcs of running backs project, bringing in young talent never hurts.

4.24 | DJ Johnson, EDGE

DJ Johnson doesn’t solve the edge problem, but it helps add some decent depth that can be developed over time.

5.05 | Byron Young, DT

Byron Young gives Cleveland a different body type on the interior without sacrificing power. He plays with immense strength and can get into gaps to disrupt an offense.

5.07 | Ricky Stromburg, C

This is a value pick, as Ricky Stromberg adds depth along the offensive line worthy of development.

6.13 | Brenton Cox Jr., EDGE

Brenton Cox Jr. will add to the depth needed on the edge of Cleveland’s defense. The hope is that he can develop into a valuable rotational piece, giving you seven to 10 good snaps a game.

7.12 | Nesta Jade Silvera, DT

More depth for a position of need. Let these late-round guys, like Nesta Jade Silvera, get into camp and see if you’ve found some diamonds in the rough.

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