Following the trade for Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns had limited draft capital in the 2023 NFL Draft. Were they able to find some mid/late-round gold? The Browns’ NFL Draft grades tell the story of how Cleveland’s 2023 haul unfolded.
Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Grades
Round 3, Pick 74: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
Despite adding Elijah Moore in the offseason, wide receiver projected to be one of the bigger needs for the Cleveland Browns, and sure enough, with their first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, that’s the direction they take. While many believe that teammate and Biletnikoff Award winner Jalin Hyatt was the better pass catcher out of Tennessee, Cedric Tillman was one of the top WRs on the PFN Big Board as the 32nd overall prospect.
Tillman has the size to be a big-bodied pass catcher on the boundary. However, he’s more than just a jump-ball expert. Tillman has the long speed to take the top off a defense when required, while his ability to temper route tempo to deceive defensive backs ensures he’s able to be a three-level threat.
Round 3, Pick 98: Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor
Measuring in at 6’3” and 335 pounds, there’s an assumption that Siaki Ika is just a plug at the heart of the defensive line. While he can fill that role for the Browns defense, allowing others to go to work around him, there’s also an alluring element of pass-rush upside for the former Baylor defensive tackle. His testing times might not quantify it, but Ika has an element of explosion to his game that screams pass-rush upside.
Meanwhile, he’s the ultimate hustler who will propel himself downfield to chase down ball carriers. Cleveland needed to add an interior defensive presence in this class, and in Ika, they certainly get that. The 56th-ranked prospect on PFN’s Big Board, they also get value for their draft capital here late in the third round.
Round 4, Pick 111: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
The Cleveland Browns add some depth at the offensive tackle position in the form of Ohio State’s Dawand Jones. A freakishly sized OT with deceptive athletic ability and the strength and physicality to impose his will, his selection offers good value coming 57 picks after his PFN Big Board ranking.
Rumors of some off-the-field concerns may have caused his slide to the Browns, who pick up a natural RT option.
Round 4, Pick 126: Isaiah McGuire, EDGE, Missouri
I love this pick for the Browns. Isaiah McGuire is one of the most underrated edge defenders in the 2023 NFL Draft class. A 6’4”, 268-pound combination of power and explosion, he has demonstrated strength, the ability to disengage from blocks, and the ability to bend around the edge. With impressive handwork in his armory, McGuire could prove to be a force opposite Myles Garrett.
Round 5, Pick 140: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA
The Cleveland Browns can’t rely solely on their current QB trio of Deshaun Watson, Kellen Mond, and Joshua Dobbs – especially given Watson’s rusty performances last fall. They need to investigate potential solutions, and their selection of Dorian Thompson-Robinson in the fifth round allows them to do just that.
DTR has the ability to take over a game with his dynamic out-of-structure athleticism and competitiveness. The UCLA QB also has the arm talent to drive the ball to all levels of the field. Rumors of an ascent into Day 2 never materialized, but this still represents good value for the Browns.
Round 5, Pick 142: Cameron Mitchell, CB, Northwestern
A fluid and decently fast cornerback who consistently made plays on a poor Northwestern team in 2022, Cameron Mitchell might feel like a surprise or reach at No. 142, but it’s there or thereabouts where he is ranked on the PFN Big Board. A ball hawk, he consistently showcases ball tracking and timing while using his athleticism to jump routes. Additionally, he offers physicality and competitiveness against the ground game.
Round 6, Pick 190: Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State
Cleveland might have a stockpile of centers, but that doesn’t stop them from halting the slide of Ohio State’s Luke Wypler. He’s an athletic piece at the pivot who offers pass protection upside with refined hand skills. The heart of the Buckeyes’ offensive line was the 91st overall prospect on the PFN Big Board.
What Were the Browns’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?
- DT, EDGE, WR
Kudos to Cleveland for adding Dalvin Tomlinson to the interior, but the thing about interior play is that big men need to stay fresh, which means even the best play between 50-70% of the defensive snaps. The Browns are certainly throwing bodies at the problem, but they’re taking wood scraps and trying to turn them into reclaimed wood projects that Joanna Gaines would adore.
Perrion Winfrey was a talented player from Oklahoma but fell in the draft likely because of the maturity red flags he displayed during his rookie season. Winfrey’s arrest stemming from a domestic dispute doesn’t help the Browns’ interior problem.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is a decent low-cost pickup on the edge, but the Browns should look to add to Alex Wright as the only legitimate depth piece. Wide receiver isn’t an absolute necessity, but it could be improved.
Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast
List to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.