Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
Browns No. 1 Team Need: Quarterback
I can’t remember the last time quarterback wasn’t a Browns need. I’m pretty sure it was before I was born. Coach Hue Jackson has long held an affinity for big-armed vertical passers, from Carson Palmer to Jason Campbell and last year’s failed experiment with Robert Griffin III.
Browns No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Back
The Browns identified 2016 trade acquisition Jamar Taylor as a keeper, signing him to a three-year, $15 million extension near the end of his breakout year. Otherwise, Cleveland’s cornerback depth chart is unsettled. LCB Joe Haden is declining, injury riddled and overpaid. Second-year UDFA Briean Boddy-Calhoun would likely be the Browns’ third cornerback if the season began today. After whiffing on Tony Jefferson (Ravens) in free agency, Cleveland’s safety depth chart is presently topped by former fourth round pick Derrick Kindred and fifth round pick Ed Reynolds.
Browns No. 3 Team Need: Edge Pass Rusher
While DE Carl Nassib, OLB Emmanuel Ogbah and OLB Jamie Collins offer potentially bright futures, none projects as a franchise pass rusher. Texas A&M DE/OLB Myles Garrett remains the odds-on favorite for Cleveland’s pick at No. 1 overall.
Other Considerations: Right Tackle, Defensive Line
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (1): EDGE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M - Locked in.
Round 1 (12): QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson - I’d be shocked if the Browns don’t exit the draft with a quarterback in the top two rounds. Maybe they are the ones driving the Davis Webb train? Maybe they trade up from this 12th spot? Watson has a much larger sample size than Mitchell Trubisky, a major part of analytics. It will be interesting to see if Hue Jackson makes the pick, the front office makes the pick, or a combination of the two. Cody Kessler’s selection surely seems to be analytics-driven, since he doesn’t fit Hue’s height threshold.
Round 2 (33): CB Sidney Jones, Washington - Jones had a chance of being the second corner off the board before his Achilles injury. Thanks to their abundance of picks, the Browns can plan for the future with this selection. Value, in terms of talent.
Round 2 (52): FS Eddie Jackson, Alabama - Jackson is a long-term starter who shined when moving to free safety. Malik Hooker will go off the board quickly, but Jackson might claim the second tier by himself. He will be cleared for offseason activities after healing from a broken leg that ended his season last fall.
Round 3 (65): DL Carlos Watkins, Clemson - College production was a major piece of the Browns’ 2016 draft. Watkins produced 10.5 sacks last season, a difficult feat for an interior defensive lineman.
Round 4 (108): TE Michael Roberts, Toledo - More collegiate production. Roberts scored 16 touchdowns last season. The staff ran a ton of 12 personnel in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, a possible hint at future plans.
Round 5 (145): T Aviante Collins, TCU - Along with athleticism, the Browns took shots on top athletes last year. Collins is one of those. He did not complete a full workout at the Combine, but when he does, expect high scores. He can compete on the right side.
Round 5 (175): WR Kenny Golladay, NIU - A combination of production and athleticism.
Round 5 (181): DB Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis - A really fun small school player, who lined up at corner, safety and linebacker. Big hitter.
Round 6 (185): EDGE Ejuan Price, Pitt - Undersized, so he might not hit the thresholds the Browns look for, but ultra-productive and flexible. You can make those exceptions in the later rounds.
Round 6 (188): RB Joe Williams, Utah - Williams left his team before the season, then returned and rushed for 1,400 yards. He’s one of the fastest running backs in the class.