This pick is now down to two candidates: Myles Garrett and Mitchell Trubisky. The Browns obviously need a quarterback, and I believe Trubisky is what Hue Jackson is looking for. Trubisky has his flaws, but he's very accurate and has a quick release. Jackson may envision Trubisky as his new Andy Dalton.
However, Garrett amazed at the combine, posting astronomical numbers at his size. The Browns were reportedly floored by the performance. This happened after Adam Schefter reported that the Browns have an "astronomical grade" on Garrett. Cleveland needs a pass-rusher as well, and Garrett would be an enormous upgrade.
The question is, would the Browns take Garrett over Trubisky when they're desperate for a franchise quarterback? Well, there is precedent for this, as the Texans picked Jadeveon Clowney when they really needed a signal-caller in the 2014 NFL Draft. Houston simply had Clowney way above all the quarterbacks, and that could be the case with Cleveland and Garrett. Plus, there is a chance Trubisky could be available at No. 12 overall.
Rd. 1, Pk. 12
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
I wrote earlier that Cleveland's No. 1 overall pick would come down to Myles Garrett and Mitchell Trubisky. Well, as a Hall of Fame running back once said, they can eat their cake and eat it, too.
Trubisky, as discussed, fits Hue Jackson's offense perfectly. He seems like he'll be the first quarterback chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft, despite his inexperience. The Browns shouldn't take him at No. 1, but the value is certainly there with the 12th-overall selection. There's a good chance Trubisky will be available here, as the quarterback spots in the top 10 have completely dried up, save for the Jets at No. 6.
Speaking of the Jets, as discussed earlier, the Browns are talking with New York for a trade up. There's a good chance Cleveland obtains Trubisky with the sixth-overall selection.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Marlon Humphrey, CB - The Browns can pretty much address any position here, save for the offensive line, and it would make sense. Cleveland's awful secondary needs multiple upgrades.
2. O.J. Howard, TE - Howard could play in two-tight end formations with Gary Barnidge and eventually take over as the full-time starter.
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
The Browns have a big need for a cornerback, and Chidobe Awuzie has the athleticism they love. Opinions vary on Awuzie; some teams think he's a top-20 prospect, while two front offices told us that they have him in the fourth round.
It sounds like Cleveland is settled on taking the best player in the 2017 NFL Draft, which is Myles Garrett. He has been the consensus best player all year and and has been No. 1 on my big board since the start of the 2017 NFL Draft process. I think the Browns are wise to take him and not reach for a lesser player.
In 2016, Garrett totaled 33 tackles, 15 for a loss, 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Against UCLA in the 2016 season opener, he collected three tackles, 1.5 for a loss and one sack going against a quality left tackle in Conor McDermott. Garrett is lightning fast off the edge with natural strength to bull rush offensive tackles. He is a freakish athlete with the potential to be one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL.
Immediately after arriving at Texas A&M, Garrett began dominating college football. The 6-foot-4, 272-pounder took the game by storm in 2014 as he was an impact-making defender for the Aggies from Day 1. The fast and athletic Garrett was a force on the edge as a quarterback hunter. He had 11.5 sacks as well with 53 tackles and 14 for a loss. That sack total broke the NCAA freshman record previously set by Jadeveon Clowney.
In 2015, Garrett kept it going, racking up 59 tackles with 12.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, two passes batted and an interception. He has blinding speed off the edge and is a natural pass-rusher. Garrett could be the best prospect in college football and could have been in the running for the No. 1-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft if he had been able to declare.
Rd. 1, Pk. 1
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Days ago, I reported that the Browns had spoken with the Jets about trading from No. 12 to No. 6 in order to get Trubisky. I think Cleveland is motivated and has the ammunition to get Trubisky. I think the Browns will get it done and get their guy.
Trubisky looks like a second-round caliber prospect, but that doesn't preclude teams from reaching on him in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft. Some teams graded Trubisky in the second round, but teams across the league believe he will go in the top 10. One team picking in the top 10 that could take a quarterback told me Trubisky is the only quarterback prospect they would take that high. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was very efficient in 2016, flashing good decision-making and good accuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field. He has a decent, but not great, arm and some athleticism. However, across the history of the NFL, there have been very few 1-year college starters who turned into good pro starters. His accuracy going downfield is also something he needs to improve.
The junior beat up on some weak secondaries in 2016, but it still is impressive that he had three straight games throwing for over 400 yards without throwing a single interception. On the season, Trubisky completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
Cleveland could use more weapons for its young quarterback.
Scouting sources compare Samuel to Percy Harvin and think Samuel could be a special play-maker in the NFL. The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder would probably fit better as primarily a receiver in the pros given his build. In 2016, Samuel had 74 receptions for 865 yards with seven touchdowns. On the ground, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry for 771 yards and eight scores. Samuel has explosive vertical speed and is a play-maker with the ball in his hands.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
The Browns need a third cornerback, and a bigger one would allow them to move Joe Haden inside to the slot when they go to the nickel.
After losing Vernon Hargreaves to the NFL, Wilson replaced him as Florida's starter alongside Jalen Tabor. Sources with multiple teams graded the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Wilson as a second-rounder, and team evaluators feel that Wilson has above-average speed to go along with his size. In 2016, he totaled 33 tackles with six passes broken up and three interceptions. Sources also feel Wilson has above-average feel and awareness. He is good at running the route to prevent separation with the size to take on big receivers.
Wilson is a longer press-man corner for the NFL with ball skills, but scouting sources say that there are aspects that Wilson needs to improve. He grabs at receivers a lot and could get called for pass interference penalties in the NFL. They also say that he lacks instincts and has some limitations in scheme. Thus, he will need some development. Wilson's best fit would be as a longer press-man corner.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Marcus Williams, S, Utah
The Browns grab a safety upgrade.
Williams had a quality 2016 season with 64 tackles, three passes broken up, five interceptions and two forced fumbles. He put together a tremendous 2015 season for the Utes with five interceptions, five passes broken up and 66 tackles. It was a breakout sophomore season for Williams after he recorded 59 tackles with an interception as a freshman. The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder could use more strength and weight to tackle in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
The Browns could use more tight end talent. Here's a nice value pick.
As a senior, Sprinkle had 33 receptions for 380 yards with four touchdowns. He played well as a junior as part of a pair with Hunter Henry, recording 27 catches for 289 yards with six scores. As one could expect from playing for Arkansas, Sprinkle (6-5, 252) is a decent blocker, but he also has some off-the-field concerns.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
The Browns could use some competition at three-technique, and this could be a nice value pick.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan
The Browns grab more receiving competition.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Matt Dayes, RB, N.C. State
The Browns haven't taken running back depth yet, and it would make sense to grab a tailback on Day 3.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
The Browns could use take multiple quarterbacks with the all the picks they have in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson
The Browns could use take multiple safeties to upgrade that weak position.
For fans of the long-suffering Cleveland Browns, every season is starting to seem like its own Groundhogs Day, an endless loop they just can't escape. After hitting the reset button once again following the end of 2015, Hue Jackson is now the man tasked with turning this franchise around, the franchise’s sixth coach in ten years. While their 1-15 record might suggest otherwise, this Cleveland team has all the right pieces in place, from Jackson all the way up to GM Sashi Brown and Moneyball analytics-minded executive Paul DePodesta, to be a contender within the next few years. For the fourth time in six years, the Browns have two first-round selections, but if recent history means anything, that may not be best for Cleveland. In 2012 and 2014 the Browns selected Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel. Fast forward to 2017 and Weeden is the only player signed to an NFL team, backing up Brock Osweiler in Houston. 2015 was no different, with Cleveland picking up Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving. While Shelton flashes promise, Erving was constantly outmanned and shuffled throughout the lineup. The Browns are trending upwards after a rough season and cannot afford to swing and miss yet again in the first round. Although neither Robert Griffin III or Cody Kessler seem to be a long-term option, the Browns simply can't risk setting this franchise back even more by pulling the trigger on a quarterback this early, and may be better suited to wait until next year when they can get their hands on Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold. When Cleveland is on the clock at number one overall, they must target the best player available. At 6’6 and 270 pounds, Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett fits the bill. One of the best players in the nation, Garrett made quite the name for himself during his time at College Station. In three seasons with the Aggies, Garrett tallied 31 sacks along with multiple All-American and All-SEC awards. A well-rounded and athletic defender who can lineup at either defensive end or linebacker, Garrett is explosive off the snap and creates havoc for any offensive lineman he’s matched up against. Drawing comparisons to All-Pro Von Miller, Garrett is as much of a can’t-miss prospect as possible, and will be the shot in the arm that this Cleveland defense desperately needs.
I am a skeptic by nature, so I wasn't buying the hype on Trubisky earlier this season. I didn't watch any tape until today, after a month or so of his stock supposedly tumbling. So here's the deal: If the Cleveland Browns don't take Mitch Trubisky with this selection, they are doomed for decades more of futility. The decision to pass on him would be that foolish.
Trubisky is quite a bit better prospect than either of the top two guys last year. And frankly, he's a better prospect than the top two guys in 2015. He has all the tools to be a NFL franchise QB. When I evaluate a QB one of the main things I look at is how the ball comes out of his hand. It's the same for evaluating pitchers in baseball. It tells you how much effort is being made to make elite level throws, and is also an indicator of a special level of hand-eye coordination. It is not by any means a foolproof measure, but it helps elevate guys into elite status. It also ignores focusing on mechanics, which can be over-analysis, but more on that in a moment. Mitch Trubisky just has that special way of delivering the football; when on film in real time you see a QB set to throw, and didn't see where the ball went, that's a serious fastball, and insanely quick release.
Trubisky reminds me a lot of Matt Ryan. When Ryan was drafted I thought he was over-rated, because back then I focused on a perceived weakness much, much more than you should. You will see both QBs on college tape throwing ducks on sideline outs, which are very important routes in a NFL offense. With Ryan I took that for a lack of arm strength, which is a mistake. That throw requires perfect mechanics for any QB - even Aaron Rodgers, whereas on throws the same distance over the middle, an elite QB can put a fastball on a gnat's ass with much less than perfect mechanics. It is a very minor mechanical tweak and focus of a young NFL QB's development process. Trubisky has some flaws that are easily correctable by a competent NFL QB coach, and I believe that from a purely physical standpoint he is easily ready to start on Day 1.
Cleveland grabs its quarterback. The Browns preferred Jared Goff last year to Carson Wentz, and Watson has some similarities to Goff in terms of college system and skill set. <br> <br>
I personally think Watson is a third-round prospect, but there are a lot of quarterback-desperate teams that could push him higher than where he should go. I know multiple playoff teams that are grading him in Round 3. One said they had him as a third-, fourth-rounder. A couple other teams told me they grade him in Round 2, but wouldn't be surprised if Watson was taken late in Round 1, like the Vikings did with Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 NFL Draft. We've seen a long track record of desperation trigging huge quarterback reaches this decade with the likes of Jared Goff, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Jake Locker. Thus, Watson still has a shot at going early in the 2017 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
In 2016, Watson completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards with 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had nine rushing touchdowns as well. Watson turned in a few subdued performances this season against Auburn, Troy, Georgia Tech and Louisville. However he played much better during the final month of the regular season and the postseason. <br> <br>
A problem for Watson in 2016 was poor accuracy in the first two-thirds of the season. He has lots of room for improvement with his field vision and ball placement. Watson missed wide-open receivers for scores throughout the season. He also is undersized and didn't play in a pro-style offense. The Clemson offense predetermined where Watson would throw pre-snap, so he will need to learn to make reads for the NFL. Watson is great off the field with work ethic, character, leadership skills, and loving football. <br> <br>
As a sophomore, Watson (6-2, 205) made some beautiful passes and was a big-time point producer. Watson played really well in 2015 to lead Clemson to the National Championship game, and in that title tilt, he threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns against an Alabama defense that featured tons of future NFL talent. In 2015, Watson completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. On the ground, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,105 yards with 12 scores.
I am a firm believer that this team believes that RGIII can still make a comeback and become something at least a fraction of what he was his rookie year but it never hurts to buy into some insurance with someone who might need an adjustment period but can be a seriously good player. Would not surprise me however if the team would trade this pick away to someone hungry for a first round pick such as the Vikings who traded out of the first for Sam Bradford. Especially with the rumors going around of the two teams working out a big deal in which the details still are unknown. Kizer at the start of the season was made out to be the best Quarterback in the draft before the rise of one year starter Mitch Trubisky. Kizer has the arm strength, accuracy and field IQ that will make him a quality starter but might be hidden in the QB depth chart at first while they give RGIII one last chance.
The Browns had the 1st, but now have the 3rd... not too big of a drop for 2018 first rounder and a 4th rounder this year... Yes, they also gave up a second rounder this year.. But I'm of the mindset that the Browns are in the business of getting as much first round picks as possible. And this trade follows this game plan.
The Browns have holes everywhere, but honestly have made some decent FA moves, especially on the offensive line. Last year, all the Browns' draft picks made their team...that's either awesome or eekk. And their record was more eeeeekkk.
Therefore, they choose the safest and most pro-ready player in the draft. OJ is huge, fast, strong, and understands a pro offense. He is the only true TE in the draft, meaning he can block and catch at an elite level.
Plus, the QBs next year are elite
Show/Hide Other Mocks with O.J. Howard Going to Browns
Rd. 1, Pk. 1
Myles Garrett, DE/3-4OLB
I'm going to assume that Myles Garrett will be Cleveland's pick. If the Browns are foolish enough to pass on him for a mediocre quarterback prospect who has made 13 college starts, I will change this grade to something far, far worse.
I'd normally mark something like this down as a B+. "A" grades are generally reserved for great value picks. This selection doesn't provide value, but it's the right one. The Browns need defensive talent on their roster, and Garrett would provide them with a dynamic pass-rusher, which is something they currently lack. Garrett is the best player in this draft, making this selection a no-brainer.
Or, at least it should've been. The Browns apparently had some sort of conflict, where the front office wanted to draft Mitchell Trubisky. This would've been a huge mistake, so given that the Browns haven't been the smartest franchise in professional sports, they deserve bonus points for finally getting something right. Hence, the "A" grade.
*** If the Browns pick Mitchell Trubisky: *** THE WORST DRAFT PICK EVER Grade
There is no Millen grade that will do this justice. It's quite simply the worst draft pick ever made. The Browns' coaching staff and scouts want Myles Garrett, yet the baseball front office has ignored all of the football people and selected a mediocre quarterback prospect over a "can't miss" edge rusher.
Rd. 1, Pk. 25
Jabrill Peppers, S
I'm going to factor in the trade a little bit here, which takes this grade from a "B" to a B+. I'll grade the actual draft trades later tonight. As for this actual selection, Jabrill Peppers definitely provides the Browns with the athleticism their new front office has been looking for with their analytics. However, Peppers doesn't have a true position, and some teams thought he belonged in the second round. This is a bit earlier than I expected Peppers to go, but I don't have a huge problem with taking him No. 25 overall, especially when taking the trade into account.
Rd. 1, Pk. 29
David Njoku, TE
I usually don't like teams trading up, but the Browns have a billion picks and almost need to in order to grab some talented players. David Njoku is a bit of a project, but he's an extremely talented tight end who has Pro Bowl potential. The Browns still have Gary Barnidge, but he's not going to be around for much longer, so Njoku could take over as the primary intermediate target in a year or two. By then, the Browns could compete for a playoff spot, provided that they find a quarterback somehow, some way.
Rd. 2, Pk. 20
DeShone Kizer, QB
Meh. This pick is fine. DeShone Kizer is an extremely raw quarterback. He has upside, but he's not the perfect mixture of Tom Brady and Cam Newton, like he proclaimed himself to be. I would've hated Kizer as a first-round pick, but he makes sense in the second frame. I'm not optimistic about his chances of being a successful NFL quarterback, but he's worth a shot here in the middle of Round 2. The Browns had to take a shot with some sort of quarterback.
Rd. 3, Pk. 1
Larry Ogunjobi, DT
The Browns will have to beat the Steelers at some point, and to do so, they'll need to contain Le'Veon Bell. Larry Ogunjobi could help them do that. He's a run-stuffing specialist who makes sense atop the third round. This is a solid choice.
Rd. 4, Pk. 19
Howard Wilson, CB
Howard Wilson has nice size and tested well at the combine. He has great instincts despite not having much experience in college. Wilson fits the range, and he potentially fills a need as well.
Rd. 5, Pk. 16
Roderick Johnson, OT
Roderick Johnson was seen as a potential first-round pick by many last summer. I had him in the opening round in my mock until team sources told us that he was extremely overrated and belonged in the late rounds. Johnson struggled in pass protection all year, so here we are. Johnson can run block well, but doesn't have much upside as a sub-par athlete.
Rd. 6, Pk. 1
Caleb Brantley, DT/NT
TEACH THE ORANGUTAN TO INSERT KIELBASAS MILLEN Grade
I said I wouldn't give Millen grades to fifth-rounders, but I didn't say anything like that about sixth-round choices! This pick is just horrible because Caleb Brantley was charged with knocking a woman unconscious recently, and there's still an investigation going on. The Browns even said they could cut him if they discover negative details! Brantley is a talented player, but he's lazy and showed up to pre-draft workouts overweight and out of shape. He's not worth a draft selection.
Rd. 7, Pk. 6
Zane Gonzalez, K
For those who know little about Zane Gonzalez, the Arizona State kicker drilled seven of his nine attempts from beyond 50 in 2016. The Browns would've won two games had they owned a better kicker, so Gonzalez will surely be an upgrade.
Rd. 7, Pk. 34
Matt Dayes, RB
I had Matt Dayes going to the Browns in the sixth round, so there's some value here with the penultimate pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Dayes is a change-of-pace, third-down back with good pass-protection skills. The Browns coached him in the Senior Bowl, so it's nice that they're familiar with him.