Cleveland Browns 2020 7-Round Mock Draft Vol, 5

Pete Smith

With free agency having started, the Cleveland Browns have given far and away the best indication for how they intend to build their team. With the moves they made on the offensive side of the ball, signing tight end Austin Hooper, right tackle Jack Conklin and the trade for fullback Andy Janovich, they have not only given a clear indication of what the offense will look like, but really limited their needs.

Defensively, the Browns have signed a handful of players that fill needs to one-year deals. They are signing some players that may prove quite temporary while adding players they may choose to extend over the course of the next year and giving themselves options on how to proceed in 2021.

Other than left tackle and looking for some insurance both for now and the future, the NFL Draft can almost entirely be aimed at the defensive side of the ball. The offense, assuming they can effectively address left tackle is largely sustainable for the next few years. Between an offensive line that is in place for at least three seasons, the Browns would still have Odell Beckham, now Hooper and could ultimately extend David Njoku.

Save for players like Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Sheldon Richardson, the Browns have little money being spent on the defensive side of the ball, enabling the rest to be largely spent on young players on rookie contracts. In essence, the Browns just need the defense to rise to the occasion for a season or a playoff run to get where they need to go. Defense is arguably easier to create lightning in a bottle since so much of it is based on assignments as opposed to timing and chemistry.

For this mock draft, one of the areas being explored was the possibility of trading down. It's not about trying to project the right trade, merely looking at a scenario where the Browns move down to add draft assets to be able to add more players in this draft and exploring some of the players the Browns might target in that scenario. 

Using Fanspeak's Premium On the Clock Draft Simulator, there was a trade down with the Miami Dolphins, sending them the tenth pick to move down to the 26th pick in the first round, adding the 24th pick  in the second round (56th overall) and the sixth pick of the third round (70th overall). The Browns might be able to get a decent haul to move down if a team is trying to come up for Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver out of Alabama. He's a popular target for this type of move.

Round 1: Ezra Cleveland, OT Boise State

Age: 21 (Born May 8th, 1998)

Height: 6'6"

Weight: 311 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.93

Broad Jump: 9'3"

Vertical Jump: 30"

3-Cone Drill: 7.26

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.46

Bench Press: 30 Reps

The Browns appear to have a prospect or few they would happily select with the 10th pick in the draft, including Tristan Wirfs from Iowa and Andrew Thomas from Georgia, but the Browns are definitely in the market to add more draft picks while still being able to add a franchise left tackle. One of the possible targets in the event they trade down is Ezra Cleveland.

Cleveland and Wirfs were the two most spectacular athletes that tested at the NFL Scouting Combine. Cleveland has tremendous explosion and has movement skills. He looks like a power forward. The question facing Cleveland as he gets ready to go to the NFL is how badly does he want to be great?

There are plenty of situations where Cleveland does a great job as a positional blocker, shows his remarkable athletic ability to beat opponents to the spot and does exactly what a team would want from their left tackle. Too often, however, there are plays where he doesn't play to the whistle, almost like his shift ended before the play is over. The result is allowing opponents who outwork him to get back into the play or deck his quarterback.

The Browns have an excellent offensive line coach in Bill Callahan and so much of the discussion with Cleveland is finding out how he is wired. Can they get him to be a finisher and unlock all of the potential he has or is he going to be a player that shows flashes of brilliance, but always leaves a team wanting more.

It's important to note the Browns don't necessarily need Orlando Pace at left tackle. They need someone who can consistently do their job as a run blocker, protect Baker Mayfield and simply enable the offense to operate. That said, if the Browns can move down, add draft assets and get Cleveland to play to his potential, they could end up with a player similar to Joe Staley of the San Francisco 49ers, which is a dream scenario.

Round 2: Ross Blacklock, DT TCU

Age: 21 (Born July 9th, 1998)

Height: 6'3 1/8"

Weight: 290 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.90

Broad Jump: 8'11"

Vertical Jump: 29"

3-Cone Drill: 7.77

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.67

Bench Press: DNP

Production: 25 solo tackles (5.5 percent), 9 tackles for loss (13 percent), 3.5 sacks (15.9 percent) in 2019

The market for veteran defensive linemen has been expensive. And while the Browns have talent up front, they need more of it as they are are conscious of cost. The best way to balance out their contract with Sheldon Richardson and their coming extension with Myles Garrett is to keep adding through the draft. Continuing to add defensive line help early in the draft is a great way to upgrade their rotation and provide options in case of injury as well as for when they inevitably have to make difficult decisions pertaining to contracts.

Ross Blacklock's testing for speed is fantastic. The hope is that his awful agility testing is a result of the mess that occurred with the combine format this year, though the tape does raise a reasonable question about his balance, so while he is capable of some impressive athletic feats, perhaps the 3-cone raises another question. It would be great if he could retest it. His production is solid.

Blacklock is an active, athletic, up field penetrating defensive tackle that can get after the quarterback or chase down plays from behind. And in an AFC North division that already features Lamar Jackson and is about to welcome Joe Burrow into the mix, that chase down ability when plays break down could be particularly attractive.

He's remarkably light on his feet and his speed is obvious. It can be frustrating how little he gets out of his stance and first step, at times, basically just ceding the point and then trying to make it up for it after the fact. 

His pad level is tremendous, though he's got a bad habit of lowering his head into blocks and double teams. Not only does this make it difficult to get a feel for where the ball is headed, but it puts him at risk for potential injury to his head and neck.

His game is predicated on speed, simply being active and his hands are largely used in that capacity, trying to a avoid blocks or create angles. He can show some power, but he's largely generating it with his lower body. With coaching and reps, perhaps he can bring heavier hands to the equation.

Reasonably stout as a run defender, he really shines when it comes to working down the line and stringing out plays laterally. His range is outstanding and his ability to win off the snap, getting into the backfield or just running with plays trying to go outside can be frustrating for opponents.

Blacklock clearly has a role early but still has upside. He could be a tremendous 3-tech behind Sheldon Richardson that comes in and plays even faster than Richardson does. In obvious passing situations, they can play the two next to each other to get up the field and pressure the quarterback.

Round 2: Antoine Winfield Jr., S Minnesota

Age: 21 (Born August 16th, 1998)

Height: 5'9" 1/8"

Weight: 203 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.45

Broad Jump: 10'4"

Vertical Jump: 36"

3-Cone Drill: DNP

20-Yard Shuttle: DNP

Bench Press: DNP

Production: 62 solo tackles (13.8 percent), 7 interceptions (50 percent) in 2019

His height isn't great and the lack of agility testing raises some reasonable questions about his hips, but Antoine Winfield is a player with tremendous speed and explosion in addition to out of this world production to be a strong safety. Teams doctors will have to determine how they feel about Winfield's longterm health given that he had two seasons cut short due to injury, but he doesn't look any worse for wear.

Winfield is a tremendous downhill player that isn't always the world's prettiest tackler, but he gets the job done. Better technique would only make him more effective and consistent. He shows ability to adjust his path on the fly pretty well. His gaudy interception total from this past season is impressive and he clearly has sticky fingers, but he needs to find a way to get to more passes.

Winfield has experience playing free safety, strong safety as well as in the box and he's best suited to be a strong safety. With what the Browns intend to do under defensive coordinator Joe Woods, they tend to utilize hybrid safeties and even if a player is nominally one position, they may play snaps in multiple roles.

The Browns signed Karl Joseph to a one-year deal and that move wouldn't dissuade the team from making this selection. Not only is Joseph's future a question after the 2020 season, he has sustained numerous injuries due to his play style and Winfield can insure the position as well as play along side him in certain packages.

Round 3: Malik Harrison, LB Ohio State

Age: 22 (Born March 5th, 1998)

Height: 6'2 5/8"

Weight: 247 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.66

Broad Jump: 10'2"

Vertical Jump: 36"

3-Cone Drill: 6.83

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.32

Bench Press: DNP

Production: 55 solo tackles (9.9 percent) in 2018

The Browns are changing their emphasis on the linebacker position, highlighted in the decision to let Joe Schobert walk in free agency. They aren't looking to invest huge assets or money into the position, reserving those for higher priority areas of the defense. It doesn't mean they don't want good linebackers, but they are more focused on players that can fill a prescribed role, enabling them to be highly successful in a limited scope on their defense. If they can outperform expectations offering additional options, all the better.

Enter Malik Harrison, who tested incredibly well at the combine. His production isn't in the range that would be preferred, but the Browns don't need him to be a full service linebacker. What they need from Harrison is exactly what he is. An excellent stack and shed linebacker that plays the run at a high level and can enable them to get to longer down and distance situations, then taking him off the field to get players more suited to contribute against the pass. The other thing that works in Harrison's favor for the Browns is that he looks ready to step in and do that job immediately.

His athletic testing shows potential to be more and if he can become a contributor in pass defense, that would be great and the defense can then incorporate that into their arsenal, but they aren't counting on a player like Harrison to cover tight ends. If he proves to be a stud, the Browns benefit from it for the length of his rookie deal and they likely let him walk in free agency, then rinse and repeat the process.

Round 3: Devin Duvernay, WR Texas

Age: 22 (September 12th, 1998)

Height: 5'10 1/2"

Weight: 200

40-Yard Dash: 4.39

Broad Jump: 10'3"

Vertical Jump: 35.5"

3-Cone Drill: 7.13

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.2

Bench Press: DNP

Production: 106 receptions, 1,386 yards (36.8 percent), 9 touchdowns in 2019

Jarvis Landry's uncertainty for training camp and the start of the season is problematic enough the Browns need to find someone that can step in and contribute. They also need to improve the group as a whole. Devin Duvernay is a little bit of a wild card in what he can do for an offense. He provides a deep threat, which the Browns don't really have outside of Odell Beckham. Duvernay can also catch a screen and create yards after the catch.

With Beckham, Austin Hooper and David Njoku as receiving threats and Nick Chubb in the backfield, there's real potential to create explosive plays over the top with someone like Duverney.

Duvernay has excellent hands and knows how to use his body to create separation from opponents. His speed is remarkable and he's able to create yards after the catch quickly, extending plays. Duvernay has a running back's build and runs with that attitude, providing an option on jet sweeps, screens or other manufactured touches.

The issue with Duvernay is he's a neophyte route runner. Occasionally, he flashes some ability in that area, but he has a substantial amount of work to do. If Chad O'Shea can get him to buy in and become at least a serviceable route runner, Duvernay can become a longterm starter opposite Beckham. If he goes beyond that, the sky is the limit.

Round 3: Amik Robertson, CB Louisiana Tech

Age: 21 (Born July 6th, 1998)

Height: 5'8 3/8"

Weight: 187 lbs

40-Yard Dash: DNP

Broad Jump: DNP

Vertical Jump: DNP

3-Cone Drill: DNP

20-Yard Shuttle: DNP

Bench Press: DNP

Production: 44 solo tackles (9 percent), 12 pass deflections (31.5 percent) in 2018

Robertson did not test at the NFL Scouting Combine and may not due to the unique situation with this year's draft season. He's twitchy and agile, showing good change of direction ability. His speed looks good, though it's not as critical for a slot corner.

Robertson is short, but he's dense. Coming out of LSU last year, Greedy Williams, who has five inches in height on Robertson at 6'1 5/8", weighed two less pounds than Robertson. Fearless and physical, Robertson doesn't back down from his opponents and is aggressive with his hands at the line of scrimmage, using that as a means to cut larger opposing receivers down to size.

There are times when he will be physically overwhelmed or get beaten on a block or play, but it's not for lack of effort on his part. He'll do whatever is necessary to get to the ball carrier and put them on the ground, including but not limited to biting ankles.

Robertson played as a boundary corner on both sides for the Bulldogs, both in press man and off man and zone. He looks more comfortable operating in press man, being able to mirror a route and asset himself immediately. He is excellent when it comes to operating from a trail position and his timing to make plays on the ball. Robertson never plays scared and that confidence seems to fuels his ability when it comes to making plays on the ball.

Robertson has excellent hands and ability to react quickly, making him a big threat to intercept passes. He also does a fantastic job of breaking away from his assignment when the ball is in the air, becoming an extra defender and occasionally allows him to make a play on the ball.

The Brown signed Kevin Johnson to a one-year deal, presumably to be the team's slot corner in 2020. Robertson would be competition immediately and could easily find himself the dime back initially, then move to the slot in 2021. Robertson is moving to the slot, so there could be an adjustment period and the Browns are covered if that were to happen.

Round 4: Jeremy Chinn, S Southern Illinois

Age: 22 (Born February 26th, 1998)

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 221 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.45

Broad Jump: 11'6"

Vertical Jump: 41"

3-Cone Drill: DNP

20-Yard Shuttle: DNP

Bench Press: DNP

Production: 48 solo tackles (9.4 percent), 4 interceptions (40 percent) in 2019

Jeremy Chinn was largely a man against boys at Southern Illinois and his athleticism and size are impressive. The team that drafts him may try to use him as a full fledged safety, but it's far more practical to think of him as a weak side linebacker or X. Most of his time would be closer to the line of scrimmage, operating in the box or out in the slot in subpackages focused on coverage, which is among the things he did at Southern Illinois.

Chinn has the size and strength to play with NFL tight ends, running with them in coverage but he's still pretty raw, regardless of position. His technique, particularly when it comes to tackling needs work and he needs to play as fast as his body is capable, which is part of the reason making him a linebacker is an attractive option. As a nickel linebacker or slot defender, mostly operating on passing downs, his reads should be simpler and it theoretically allows him read and react more quickly. 

Teams like the Browns may look at someone like Chinn as a potential tight end stopper first, then see what else he can offer. The Browns are looking at a division where every division opponent has at least one tight end that can cause them problems, so they are going to be in search of answers. The Browns themselves have talented tight ends and that hopefully enables them to get a player like Chinn and prepare them for the opposition.

Chinn's body type and speed should also make an attractive target for special teams coach Mike Priefer. He's well suited to play on coverage units for punt and kickoff.

Round 6: Casey Toohill, EDGE Stanford

Age: 22 (Turns 23 this summer)

Height: 6'4 3/8"

Weight: 250 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.62

Broad Jump: 10'6"

Vertical Jump: 38"

3-Cone Drill: 7.08

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.21

Bench Press: 17 Reps

Production: 38 solo tackles (8.1 percent), 11.5 tackles for loss (16.1 percent), 8 sacks (28.5 percent) in 2019

Toohill tested incredibly well athletically and that's a big part of the draw. He also possesses a big frame, long arms (33 1/2") and room to keep adding muscle. Toohill is a player that could easily be 260 or 265 pounds in a couple years while still being a terrific athlete.

He's been somewhat of a late bloomer at Stanford. Last season, injuries limited him to seven games and he still wasn't the impact player he was this season, leading the team in sacks and tackles for loss. Toohill wins a lot on athleticism and has a ways to go in terms of technique and refining for the position.

He shows great speed and range when he's allowed to just run and chase, moving well forward or getting to his drops, something he does notably well. There's consistent effort and energy in his play, but he doesn't always know what to do with it.

Toohill doesn't often looks like he has a plan as a pass rusher and he either ends up in a position where he doesn't have space to operate or doesn't really test the opponent blocking him, making it easier to block him. Along with that, he exposes his chest too much to be blocked. He struggles to shed once engaged, relying on sheer will try to make something out of the rep.

When he has momentum and can work half the man, he can be difficult to stop. He's also pretty stout at the point of attack, though he's rarely doing anything other than holding the line.

So much about Toohill is projection. The team that gets him is looking at him as a ball of clay they can mold into a productive player. They are hoping he can show them enough in camp that enables him to find a way to stick on their roster and be depth on the edge. If he can do that, takes and applies coaching, developing as he goes, he has a chance to end up being a more impactful NFL player than collegiate.

Round 7: Carter Coughlin, EDGE Minnesota

Age: 22 (Born July 21st, 1997)

Height: 6'3 1/8"

Weight: 236 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.57

Broad Jump: 10'6"

Vertical Jump: 36"

3-Cone Drill: DNP

20-Yard Shuttle: DNP

Bench Press: DNP

Production: 34 solo tackles (6.5 percent), 15 tackles for loss (21.1 percent), 9.5 sacks (41.3 percent) in 2018

Carter Coughlin played a LEO role for the Golden Gophers and was a great college player. He's undersized for the NFL and while there are situations where he can be a pass rusher, he's also someone that looks capable of becoming an off-ball linebacker, playing the SAM. He might be able to become an inside linebacker with time.

Coughlin has excellent speed and sideline to sideline range. He is already accustomed to taking on and defeating blocks, showing the ability to work his way to the ball carrier. With a layer in front of him, he would have some protection flying around and making plays. He obviously would be someone that can provide an excellent blitz option and can execute stunts well.

The other part of Coughlin's game that makes him attractive is his ability to drop into coverage. He's an excellent athlete working backwards and is comfortable playing in space. His combination of athleticism and experience on the line of scrimmage also makes him someone that can potentially match up against tight ends.

Coughlin is someone with a combination of the size and athleticism to thrive on special teams and given where he would be on the roster initially, he'd have to provide a benefit there. For the Browns, they can give him a niche role where he can excel and build upon it with time.

Additional Thoughts

The Cleveland Browns led by Andrew Berry go into this draft with the mindset they need to address left tackle but they would like to be able to get a good one in an outstanding class while adding some extra draft assets. Ezra Cleveland be can an outstanding tackle, but even if he's just pretty good, that's enough for what the Browns want to do.

If they move down and swing and miss on a tackle, this becomes a massive backfire, especially if they pass up viable options that go on to succeed elsewhere. Greedy, prudent or a little bit of both, the Browns get their left tackle and add two more picks that become players, getting another talented pass rusher on the interior that may be just scratching the surface of what he's capable in Ross Blacklock and add a linebacker that should be able to step in and contribute immediately as a run defender in Malik Harrison.

Save for Cleveland, the only other offensive player the Browns draft in this class is Devin Duvernay, who can be depth at receiver, play a role and has the potential to be a star in the NFL. Jarvis Landry's uncertain health situation with his hip situation, on top of everything going on with COVID-19, is another challenge the Browns will have to overcome this offseason. Even if Landry is healthy by August, the Browns will want more talent to get reps with Baker Mayfield. Duvernay's ability to stretch the field could add an extra dynamic.

The rest of the draft is focused on defense, adding seven in all, including a few at every level of the defense. Save for Blacklock and Antoine Winfield Jr, everyone else was chosen with a specific role in mind. By focusing them on one job, it hopefully increases their likelihood of success or at least reduces the chances of failure. The ability to do more than their prescribed role is more than welcome. The Browns want to avoid asking players to do things they can't do or overloading them.

Particularly on the defensive side of the ball, the Browns need to be able to establish some continuity with their coaching staff. The Browns may well find themselves approaching certain defensive positions much like the New England Patriots do, which allows them to get these type of players to shine, but the Patriots have consistency in coaching from Bill Belichick. The Browns need that same continuity if they are going to be able to play good defense, especially in 2020 and 2021.

The biggest question mark that's not truly addressed here that may not be addressed as well as it needs to be is the edge position. A healthy Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon create a formidable tandem. Vernon is not likely to be on the Browns in 2021 and it's possible they could move on from him before this season. Regardless of which path they take, the Browns could depth help to continue to keep up the pressure and then allow them to transition effectively into next season. Defensive end may be a position where the Browns have to go heavier on next offseason, adding multiple threats to play with Garrett.

Comments (18)
No. 1-9
jre777browns
jre777browns

Nice OT in the 1st. At this point and time since he is still there after the 1st round, X. McKinney would be a much better pick at safety. Maybe trade up with Detroit and offer Detroit your 4th and 7th rounds. McKinney is worth it... Third round I would consider: Mims at WR, or/and at LB - Logan Wilson or/and Terrell Lewis. Maybe Tyler Biadiaz - C/OG for the 3rd round or 4th round. Maybe trade for Joe Thuney - G from New England - 2021 2nd round pick? Trade O. Vernon to the Raiders for the 81st pick in this years draft. Sign J. Clowney - DE as a free agent. What a team the Browns would have....

Itsbadnews
Itsbadnews

Like the trade prefer Jones or Jackson though. Chinn over Dugger? Like Robertson he's a beast similar to Mathieu possible move to safety freeing up Winfield pick for edge Gross-Matos/Terrell Lewis. Thoughts on Jordon Elliot looks athletic and nasty. Davis-Gaither and Logan Wilson would be my picks at line backer. Wilson would be a steal late he's smart, safe tackler and good in coverage.

Garb
Garb

When the Harvard brain trust of Sashi Brown and Andrew Berry were previously running the Browns front office, they were experts at trading down and adding more assets that eventually became NFL busts. I sincerely hope Berry's return as GM and VP of Football Operations for the Browns has taught him to stay in his lane and draft one of the four premier college LT's with their number 10 pick. This will instantly improve the left side of their O line by keeping Baker Mayfield upright while also improving their new zone blocking run scheme that Brown's new head coach Kevin Stefanski will employ.

1 Reply

Pete Smith
Pete Smith

Editor

Their draft record was better than Dorsey's

Any1mark66
Any1mark66

I love Blacklock Winfield & Chinn. Wonder how Tyler Johnson from Minn would fit into this offense?

Jbarton
Jbarton

Also Love Gallimore from OK watched he's a fighter!!

Jbarton
Jbarton

Hi, sorry not Draft expert but been with FB many years and I love what they have done so far and I also love each of the 5 top LT don't think they really gain any more good stuff with a trade down??

HiramB
HiramB

thank you. I'll take your word for it because I haven't seen any of these guys

LoganD
LoganD

Great read, Pete. I definitely agree that the Browns would be better suited to find an adequate LT in R1 and add more capital rather than taking one of the 'studs'--there are still a number of holes on the roster. Bitonio and Callahan will obviously help the rookie a great deal. I like Winfield Jr. as a player but I'm a bit concerned about his injuries and quickness in Joe Woods' defense. What WRs were available at 41? OBJ and Jarvis both have injury concerns and it seems increasingly likely at least one will be gone for 2021.

HiramB
HiramB

In this draft are you saying you like Blalock over Gallimore or are you assuming you Gallimore is gone?? I do like Blalock but from the little I've seen I like Gallimore a bit more


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