The Browns are effectively an expansion team, so they need to focus on drafting the best player available. With Myles Jack's knee being a growing issue, that would be Ezekiel Elliott in this case. Elliott is a local product who would add a much-needed weapon to Cleveland's horrible offense. I think he's a safe prospect to mock here because only Dallas stands in the way of him falling to No. 8.
Of course, there's a possibility of a trade. The Dolphins or Bears could move up for Elliott. If they do, that's fine, since this selection will still be correct. Either way, Elliott should be the eighth pick in the draft as long as he's not fourth.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Myles Jack, LB - I found it interesting that Cleveland's vice president of football operations, Sashi Brown, declined to comment on Jack's knee. He refused to say anything about it, so perhaps he's trying to hide his interest.
2. Ronnie Stanley, OT - Stanley is a more-logical choice, but he may not be available.
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
I don't think Paxton Lynch will be available when the Browns are scheduled to be on the clock. The Jets and Chiefs could both take him, or perhaps the Broncos could move up ahead of Kansas City. Thus, the Browns will have to plot a trade of their own, which is very feasible because they happen to have extra picks. Leaping the Chiefs and swapping choices with the Packers makes a ton of sense.
Pick a position, any position. The Browns need help there. The defensive line could use some help, and Carl Nassib fits the range as a mid-third-rounder.
Pick change; previously Connor Cook, QB
Rd. 3, Pk. 14
Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State
I considered Myles Jack to the Browns, and I had him slotted at No. 8 in another update. Here's a solution at inside linebacker.
Pick change; previously Graham Glasgow, C
Rd. 4, Pk. 1
Max Tuerk, C, USC
The Browns acquired Jack Conklin in an earlier mock draft. An upgrade is needed on the offensive line, which is a train wreck. Max Tuerk can play both guard and center, so I'm sure he'll find some way to sneak into the starting lineup.
The Browns lost Travis Benjamin to free agency. That left just Josh Gordon as a viable receiving option, and now it's sounding like Gordon won't be playing for a while in the wake of his recent failed drug test. Check out the Disaster Grades for more on Gordon.
Rd. 4, Pk. 40
KJ Dillon, SS, West Virginia
Name a position, and the Browns could probably use two of them. Adding more secondary depth isn't a bad idea.
Pick change; previously Daniel Lasco, RB
Rd. 5, Pk. 2
Ryan Smith, CB, N.C. Central
The Browns have a new front office, so there's no obligation to keep Justin Gilbert on the roster. They need a cornerback, as Tramon Williams can't really start much longer.
Rd. 5, Pk. 33
Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
The Browns are hurting at right tackle, and they could address the position much earlier than this.
Pick change; previously Nicholas Kwiatkoski, LB
Rd. 5, Pk. 34
Moritz Wilhelm Boehringer, WR, Germany
The Browns are definitely a candidate to double up on receivers, as Josh Gordon isn't the most reliable football player.
Cleveland could go a variety of directions with this pick, but I do think the Browns are going to lean to taking the best player available regardless of position. In this case, that would be Elliott. He would give Hue Jackson an offensive building block and a difference-maker. Of course, the Browns could trade down again with a team that wants Elliott like Chicago or Miami.
Elliott averaged 6.3 yards per carry in 2015 for 1,821 yards with 23 touchdowns. He had 27 receptions for 206 yards as well. In all but one game in 2015, Elliott exceeded 100 yards. The junior was tremendous with his burst, vision, balance and ability to rip off yards in chunks. He would hit the hole quickly and explode to the second level. In the passing game, Elliott showed nice blocking and receiving skills. Sources say he's a first-rounder.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder was the workhorse who carried the Buckeyes to the National Championship in 2014. He destroyed Wisconsin (20-220-2), Alabama (20-230-2) and Oregon (36-246-4) in the final three games to lead Ohio State. Elliott averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the year for 1,878 yards with 18 touchdowns. He had 28 receptions for 220 yards, too. Elliott showed speed, cutting ability and a knack to pick up yards after contact. He worked out well on the field at the combine, but he didn't impress teams in the interviews.
Pick change; previously DeForest Buckner, DL
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
The Browns grab their quarterback competition to go with Robert Griffin III.
Cook connected on 56 percent passes in 2015 for 3,131 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's showed NFL evaluators that he has a quality arm, pocket presence, flashes of brilliant passes, and the mobility to avoid rushers and roll out.
On the flip side, Cook lacks accuracy, which is a real problem heading into the NFL. Sources also have questions about him off the field, his lack of leadership, and his focus on football. Teams said he interviewed poorly at the combine. They were surprised about his lack of football I.Q. from an X's and O's perspective and diagnosing coverages.
The 6-foot-4, 217-pounder played in a pro-style system and displayed steady improvement with his ability to function in the pocket while working through his progressions. There is that accuracy issue however. He'd make some amazing throws into extremely tight windows and then would regularly miss on routine passes.
In 2014, Cook connected on 58 percent of his passes for 3,214 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He completed 59 percent of his passes in 2013 for 2,755 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. Cook improved throughout that season and was very impressive against Ohio State and Stanford to close out the year.
Pick change; previously Josh Doctson, WR
Rd. 3, Pk. 2
Shilique Calhoun, DE/3-4OLB, Michigan State
Barkevious Mingo was a pick of the prior regime and Paul Kruger didn't make a big impact. Thus, Cleveland might be interested in a few front seven defenders next offseason.
In 2015, Calhoun totaled 10.5 sacks, 49 tackles, 15 for a loss, one forced fumble and three passes batted. His pass-rushing moves and overall play looked improved over the 2014 season. For the next level, the 6-foot-4, 251-pound Calhoun could stand to add some weight and functional strength, plus further expand his repertoire of pass-rushing moves.
After a slow start to 2014, Calhoun started playing better. The junior speed rusher recorded 39 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and a forced fumble for the year. Calhoun was one of the top players on Michigan State's superb defense in 2013. For the year, he recorded 37 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Rd. 3, Pk. 14
Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
The Browns could use multiple wide receivers from this draft class.
Thomas (6-2, 212) has a good NFL skill set with some size and speed to get vertical. He needs some development as a route-runner, but he could be a nice X receiver to stretch the field along the sideline. Thomas has upside and teams like him. He ran slower than expected at the combine, however, which could push him into the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Despite inconsistent quarterback play in 2015, Thomas totaled 56 receptions for 781 yards and nine touchdowns. He impressed in his battle with Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller during the 2015 season opener. Thomas was the Buckeyes' possession receiver in 2014 with Devin Smith serving as the deep threat. Thomas caught 54 passes for 799 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. He also dealt with a running quarterback in J.T. Barrett for much of the year.
Rd. 4, Pk. 1
Deiondre' Hall, FS/CB, Northern Iowa
The Browns could use some cornerback competition.
Hall has excellent size to be an NFL cornerback and was very impressive at the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is a physical corner who has some Richard Sherman bulldog to his game. Scouts say they love Hall's length and toughness. He really stood out for Northern Iowa as he had six interceptions as a senior. Northern Iowa didn't play a top program in 2015, so performing well against more talented receivers was critical for Hall.
Rd. 4, Pk. 2
Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah
Cleveland could use some safety depth.
Killebrew is another small-school defensive back who earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-1, 217-pounder is a big, long safety who showcased his tackling skills with 132 stops as a senior. He also had seven passes broken up and no interceptions, but he notched three picks as a junior. At the Senior Bowl, Killebrew showed he is a work in progress as needs to develop his instincts and avoid taking false steps.
Rd. 4, Pk. 40
Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State
The Browns need a backup tight end, plus Vannett, at least, should be a serviceable blocker.
In 2015, Vannett had 19 receptions for 162 yards. Ohio State favors throwing to its receivers, but Vannett gave credence to not passing him the ball as he flashed some stone hands with a lot of drops at the Senior Bowl. He is a strong blocker and was an asset in the Buckeyes' ground game, so for the NFL, he should be a blocking 'Y' tight end.
Rd. 5, Pk. 2
Kentrell Brothers, ILB/OLB, Missouri
The Browns could use some inside linebacker depth and competition.
Rd. 5, Pk. 33
Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State
The Browns grab some running back depth behind Duke Johnson.
Rd. 5, Pk. 34
David Onyemata, DT, Manitoba
Here's another defensive lineman to help the Browns improve at getting after the quarterback.
Sources have said they think Wentz could be the best quarterback prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft. In order to help make that happen, Wentz had an excellent Senior Bowl showing off his big arm, ball placement, field vision and athleticism. Teams believe he will continue to rise in the lead up to the draft.
Multiple teams have told me they gave Wentz a first-round grade and think that he is the real deal. They say that Wentz has a good arm, size and athleticism, plus they love him off the field. They also like his pocket presence, field vision, experience under center, ability to make play calls in the huddle, and potential to grow in the NFL. They believe that he will fill out his frame in a NFL strength and conditioning program. The big challenge for Wentz, in their view, will be the drastic change in the speed of the game coming from North Dakota State's opponents compared to the NFL. He also will need to mature into a leadership role.
On top of his good arm, mobility, pocket presence, field vision and accuracy. Wentz operated in a pro-style system with play calls in the huddle and working under center. In 2015, he completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,669 yards with 16 touchdowns and two interceptions while missing almost half the year with a broken wrist. Wentz also had four rushing touchdowns.
As a junior, Wentz completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,111 yard with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also had six touchdowns on the ground. Wentz was a backup as a freshman and sophomore.
It's a toss up, Goff or Wentz. Wentz has the size (6'6 237 and 10 1/2 inch hands), arm, and athleticism, in contrast Goff has the smarts, pin point accuracy (at times), and has competed at a high level for the last three seasons, unlike Wentz who had to play South Dakota State the past 4 years. Tough. Goff isn't as big as Wentz (6'3 210) and only had 9 inch hands. The both seem to be smart, but we haven't truly seen Wentz against NFL caliber players for more than a game. Go back and look at his tape and there are some good throws, and some bad ones. Goff although he had some poor games, managed to have a very successful career for a CAL team that was outmatched by the rest of the conference. Wentz feels like the better prospect, but Goff seems like the better player. It's really anyone's call, the Browns might as well flip a coin, unless a team trades up and takes the other.
Well the Browns look to be huge winners at this point. They trade out of the number 2 spot and now have 6 picks in the top 100, all while still getting one of the 6 top tier prospects in the draft (the way I see it these 6 non-qbs are in the top tier and after this pick there is a huge drop off). The best thing the team can do at this point is help make life easier for RG3 as he is now the QB for the current moment, and continue to build to support their next hopeful franchise QB. This pick comes down to an offensive tackle (Ronnie Stanley) or Zeke, ultimately Zeke will just be too good to pass up. This guy is a pure stud. Running backs are devalued in this current version of the NFL but having a back that can be a legitimate 3 down bell cow superstar back just makes life so much easier. A 6’ 225lbs bulldozer with soft hands and elite level quickness and speed, not just for a man of his size but for the position as a whole, Zeke is the total package. He’s able to stop on a dime and make the correct read as well as any recent running back. Perhaps the most interesting and telling aspect of his game is that he is very likely the best pass blocking back scouted in a while on top of his amazing running skills. This shows his willingness to get down and dirty and truly displays his desire to win and help his team at all costs. Zeke truly has very few weaknesses in his game and is probably just a small step below Adrian Peterson as the best running back prospect in the past 10 or so years.
Browns trade back and get Bosa
Scouting report: Has an NFL-ready frame. Good muscular definition and flexibility to go along with a confident, competitive attitude. Solid upfield burst off the snap. Has booming power in his hands. Uses arm extension and forward lean as his primary weapon. Generates speed-to-power bullrush and plays off of that with a punch and pull technique that pulls tackles off-balance. Focuses pass rush attack on outside shoulder of tackle using forward lean and aggressive hand play. Active hands can completely wipe out a tackle?s weak outside hand allowing him to cave-in the edge. Usually gets hands on defender first. Able to stack and slide along line of scrimmage in pursuit of ball-carrier. Strong core and able to rag doll tight ends who aren?t committed to the fight. Adequate closing burst to the ball. Looks fluid and nimble when dropping into space. Has the talent and traits to be used more aggressively than he was at Ohio State. Grew as a run defender this season. Has forced five fumbles over the last two years. Football is in his blood with a father who was drafted by Dolphins in first round of 1987 draft and an uncle who played at Ohio State in the mid-80s. Motor will never be a problem
Other possibilities: Ezekiel Elliott RB, DeForest Buckner DE, Mackensie Alexander CB
*TRADE ALERT!!!! The Browns trade Joe Thomas and a 5th round pick in next years draft, for the #26 overall pick.*
While I am not sure if Lynch will be the pick here, I put it at 80/20 that this trade is made on draft night. Lynch makes sense for the Browns, as they seem content with RGIII this year, and Hue Jackson wants his guy for the future. I have been high on Lynch since the Cincinnati game this year, and am quite frankly surprised he is expected to drop this far. The Browns move ahead of the Cardinals, Cheifs, and Broncos who are either looking for a starting QB or looking for someone to stash behind aging QB's.
The Seahwaks get a Pro Bowl Left Tackle with 2-3 years left of high level play, to help the them return deep in the playoffs.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Paxton Lynch Going to Browns
Rd. 1, Pk. 15
Corey Coleman, WR,
The Browns needed a play-maker. Actually, they needed about five play-makers. Well, one down, four to go.
This is a bit higher than I've seen Corey Coleman projected, but part of that was the fit. Most teams like larger receivers, so it was difficult to slot him. However, Coleman is an athletic freak, and he's exactly what Cleveland had to acquire. Even better, the Browns moved down to snag him, which definitely helps this grade.
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE/3-4OLB,
I CHANGED MY MILLEN Grade
I said I'd give the Browns a Millen if they didn't take Myles Jack at No. 32. Well, OK, I guess I lied, but I'm still marking Cleveland down for not taking perhaps the best talent in the 2016 NFL Draft atop Round 2. The reason this is not a Millen is because I like Emmanuel Ogbah. However, I don't know about his scheme fit in a 3-4, so this is still pretty bad. I don't get why Cleveland didn't pick Jack.
Actually, you know what? I changed my mind. This is a Millen. The Browns are a losing franchise and needed a winner like Jack. This is a Millen.