Cleveland Browns Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
May 31, 2013

Solid Starter

Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State – Round 3
I’m cheating a little bit here because the 5-foot-9 McFadden looks like his long-term spot will be as a nickel corner. However, teams are using their nickel packages as much as any other personnel group, so a nickel cornerback is basically a starter in the passing-driven NFL.

Cleveland could try and play McFadden on the other side from Joe Haden, but McFadden’s height could cause some issues with big receivers. The rookie may have the ability to overcome the lack of inches since he is a gritty corner who does a nice job of not allowing separation when he is lined up in man coverage. McFadden has some ball skills as well with 12 passes batted away and three interceptions during his senior season.

For the longer term, I think the Browns are one good cornerback away from having one of the top cornerback trios in the NFL. Another good outside corner to pair with Haden and McFadden in the slot could be a tough group for receivers to deal with. Cleveland may not have hit a boom pick with McFadden, but he looks like a solid contributor and a safe selection.

Most Likely To Bust

Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU – Round 1
I wasn’t a fan of Mingo entering the 2013 NFL Draft. I thought Mike Lombardi and the Browns should have used the sixth-overall pick on Dee Milliner instead, but they went with a backup edge-rusher. Cleveland has a proven rusher in Jabaal Sheard and signed Paul Kruger in free agency. It looks like Mingo will be a rotational player at best.

Mingo never produced up to his capablities for LSU. He totaled 12.5 sacks the past two seasons with only 4.5 coming in 2012. Mingo was also consistently run over in the ground game. There is no doubt that the rookie is an explosive edge-rusher, but he needs more pass-rushing moves. Mingo looks like a one-trick pony, and one trick typically isn’t good enough to beat NFL offensive tackles.

Mingo didn’t play well against elite competition last year. While Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker had struggles with speed rushers in 2012, Fluker was able to shut down Mingo. Texas A&M right tackle Jake Matthews kept Mingo from making any plays in their matchup, too.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is underweight and really lacks the strength to shed blocks, especially in the ground game. Mingo has a boom-or-bust nature to him. His blinding speed could be enough for him to get some production and prove me wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns into a bust.

Potential Boom Pick

Jamoris Slaughter, S, Notre Dame – Round 6
You could easily make the case that Mingo could potentially be either the boom pick or the bust pick. However, I think Mike Lombardi and the Browns’ new regime may have landed a steal with Slaughter late on the final day of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Slaughter is a very intriguing pick. He had a decent 2011 season with 45 tackles, two sacks, two passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception. The senior looked like he was capable of producing even more last year, but the season was ruined by an Achilles’ injury. Notre Dame considered Slaughter to be its most talented defensive back.

The 6-foot, 195-pounder played strong and free safety for the Fighting Irish. He also can play on special teams while he develops as a backup. Slaughter could become, in a year or so, the starter next to T.J. Ward. Slaughter definitely would have gone in the mid-rounds had he stayed healthy and at least duplicated his 2011 season.

Future Depth Player

Garrett Gilkey, OT, Chadron State – Round 7
The Browns landed a nice value with Gilkey in the seventh round. The 6-foot-5, 314-pounder already has an NFL body, and he held his own at the 2013 Senior Bowl against the better competition. Gilkey was a 3-year starter at left tackle for Chadron State and collected a lot of conference awards. He played left tackle in college, but I think he should move inside to guard in the NFL. Cleveland could use depth on the inside of its offensive line and Gilkey could develop into being a quality backup.

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

6. Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU: C- Grade
I guess 2012 tape doesn’t matter for the Browns. Barkevious Mingo was awful this past season and flat out quit in some games. Mingo doesn’t even fill a real need unless Jabaal Sheard is dealt, which is confusing in itself because Sheard was one of the top defenders on the Browns last year. You also have to wonder what the Browns are going to do at quarterback. Michael Lombardi has a dubious draft history, and it doesn’t seem like he’s off to a good start.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

68. Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State: B- Grade
This is a bit early for the 5-foot-9 Leon McFadden, but the Browns were desperate for cornerback help across from Joe Haden. It’s hard to argue this selection too much considering how badly Cleveland needed an upgrade at the position.

175. Jamoris Slaughter, S, Notre Dame: B- Grade
The Browns had to find some competition for the safety spot next to T.J. Ward. This is a slight reach for Jamoris Slaughter, but that’s not that big of a deal in the sixth round.

217. Armonty Bryant, DE/OLB, East Central Oklahoma: B Grade
Armonty Bryant possesses good talent, but he also has character issues. He was arrested during football practice once for selling drugs. He might be worth the risk in the seventh round.

227. Garrett Gilkey, OT, Chadron State: B- Grade
Tackle depth wasn’t a priority for the Browns, but it doesn’t hurt. Garrett Gilkey was considered a Round 6-7 prospect.

2013 NFL Draft Team Grade: C- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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