The Browns failed to trade up for Marcus Mariota, so they'll have to find their quarterback of the future next spring; Chris Mortensen reported that Cleveland has "90 percent" given up on a quarterback who rolls $20s in bathrooms. Mike Pettine called the report "90-percent inaccurate," but he was 90-percent lying in order to maintain leverage for Mariota.
Cardale Jones would've been a second-round prospect had he declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, though there was a chance he would've gone late in the first via a team trading up. That will hardly be the case in the 2016 NFL Draft. If Jones starts and continues to thrive, he'll be a top-five selection, and he could potentially go No. 1 overall. He has way too much upside and natural talent, displaying Ben Roethlisberger- or Daunte Culpepper-type ability.
The Browns will see if Johnny Manziel can get turned around this year, but it will be hard with the weak receivers Cleveland will field. Josh McCown was good enough to get the Bucs the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, so perhaps he can do that for the Browns this year.
Cook completed 58 percent of his passes in 2014 for 3,214 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has shown NFL evaluators that he has a big arm, pocket presence, reasonably precise throwing, and the mobility to avoid rushers and roll out. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder plays in a pro-style system and has shown steady improvement with his ability to function out of the pocket while working through his progressions. Cook does need to improve his accuracy though. He will make some amazing throws and then miss on routine passes. The senior should be able to do that in 2015.
Cook completed 59 percent of his passes in 2013 for 2,755 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. He improved throughout the season and was very impressive against Ohio State and Stanford to close out the year.
Rd. 2, Pk. 1
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Browns let Jordan Cameron leave in free agency and replaced him with Cardinals castoff Rob Housler. Cleveland is going to need a tight end upgrade as a starter in 2016.
Howard totaled 17 receptions for 260 yards in 2014. The talented tight end was very under-utilized. As he proved at USC with Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, Lane Kiffin settles on one receiver and struggles to call plays for anyone else regardless of their talent or mismatch potential. Howard's production should go up in 2015 with Amari Cooper in the NFL.
Howard (6-6, 237) flashed big-time potential in 2013. The freshman hauled in 14 passes for 269 yards (19.2 average) with two touchdowns. Howard is fast, has the frame to add size and is a dangerous receiving weapon. He was just scratching the surface of his potential in 2013 and could become a real mismatch advantage in the NFL.