2020 7-Round Mock Draft Vol, 6
The Cleveland Browns have enjoyed a wildly successful free agency period and they hope to follow it up with an equally successful performance in the upcoming NFL Draft. The offense has one missing piece at left tackle that needs to be addressed, before they can spend the vast majority of their assets on the defensive side of the ball, allowing it to take further shape.
To this point, with the exception of a few key pieces like Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward, little looks truly entrenched on the defensive side of the ball under head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry. They have signed a number of players to short term deals to fill out the roster, but the draft might be a better indication of what they truly want to do.
This year's draft is going to be unique in how teams have gotten the information they need to properly evaluate players and what impact that might have, especially on players that suffered injuries in training as well as small school prospects.
This mock draft was produced using Pro Football Network's Mock Draft simulator. There was one trade and one that seems at least reasonably possible of occurring. In an exchange with the Denver Broncos, the Browns give the Broncos 10th pick so they can presumably select Henry Ruggs III, the wide receiver from Alabama. The Browns receive 15th pick, a third round pick, 77th overall and a third round pick in 2021 from the Broncos.
Round 1 (Via DEN): Josh Jones, OT Houston
Age: 22 (Born June 21, 1997)
Weight: 319 lbs
40-Yard Dash: 5.27
Broad Jump: 9'1"
Bench Press: 24 Reps
Josh Jones is an excellent offensive tackle prospect that played in a zone scheme for the Houston Cougars and has ample experience at left tackle. Jones was a player that considered declaring for the NFL Draft as a junior, but opted to stay for his senior year and continue to improve his game. It afford him the opportunity to participate in the Senior Bowl where he was dominant.
One area that has stood out with Jones is his mindset in terms of his career. Beyond staying in college to better himself, when he started preparations for the draft process, he sought out Duke Manyweather to assist with his training. Jones has great admiration for Lane Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles and researched his to the NFL and wanted to put himself in the best position to succeed.
Jones has great size for the position. He only tested his speed and explosion at the scouting combine. His speed was fine while his explosion was excellent.
Jones has excellent movement skills and strength for the position, is aggressively able to get in position and can show good initial punch at the line of scrimmage. He's also been an extremely reliable pass protector.
There are some criticisms about his technique, but the habits that stand out are largely on the move. Jones has a bad habit of ball watching as a run blocker when he's at the second level. Instead of just looking for an opponent to block, he looks for the ball carrier and ends up not doing anything as a result. It also makes him look like he's prematurely shutting down when he's down the field. It's a bad habit that can be corrected.
Jones is an ideal fit for what the Browns want to do offensively as it's a big part of the Houston Cougars offense. And they employ more plays that work to get outside than a team like Iowa does, so Jones has substantial experience of reaching to the outside and operating in space.
Jones definitely has upside, but he might have the least upside of any of the major tackles the Browns are targeting. Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs are younger as well as being more physically outstanding while Ezra Cleveland is taller and a better athlete, but has far more to do in terms of technique to be able to operate at a high level. Jones is a plug and play tackle that looks more than capable of being a good football player, which is what the Browns really need out of their left tackle, particularly if Thomas and Wirfs are off the board. If they can add assets in the process, that's ideal.
Round 2: Grant Delpit, S LSU
Age: 21 (Born September 20, 1998)
Height: 6'2 1/2"
Weight: 213 lbs
Delpit didn't test at the scouting combine as most of the LSU players opted to do, citing fatigue from the extended season, having won the national championship. Delpit has been estimated to be a 4.5 to 4.6 guy, which is fine. Not having testing results is disappointing, but he does have a ton of tape to evaluate for athleticism. Because of his size, which is prototypical for the position, he doesn't need to be a 4.4 speed player, though that would be nice. The real question for Delpit is just how good his hips are.
LSU does not give out much detail on injuries during the season, so Delpit was only said to have an ankle issue, but it was revealed to be a high-ankle sprain. He also had surgery on his collarbone in the spring of 2018.
Production: 46 solo tackles (11.1 percent), 9 pass deflections (13.8 percent), 5 interceptions (29.4 percent) in 2018
No defensive back, arguably no defender was more dominant than Delpit was for LSU as a sophomore. He not only had elite production as a free safety, he also tied for the team lead in sacks with five and had 9.5 tackles for loss. Entering the 2019 season, it was a forgone conclusion that Delpit would be a top-15 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, Delpit did not play as well. Injury played a role and some of the issues he had in 2018 were a bigger focus in 2019 such as missed tackles.
Delpit's production in 2019 was not bad either, but it wasn't near the other worldly production he exhibited in 2018. He wasn't regarded as the best player on the defense anymore, taking a backseat to players like Derek Stingley Jr., K'Lavon Chaisson, Kristian Fulton and at the end of the year, Patrick Queen.
None of that diminishes the fact that Delpit possesses remarkable talent. He's proven it, both in his ability to make tackles on both sides of the line of scrimmage but impact the back end, both in man and zone coverage. In many ways, he's ideally suited to be a hybrid safety in the type of two-high scheme the Browns want to play.
He's big enough and physical enough to be a strong safety, but possesses the instincts, awareness and ball skills to play free safety. Ultimately, it makes more sense for him play free safety and he does have issues to clean up when it comes to tackling, but his ability to impact the game could allow him to be utilized all over the defense, which is likely appealing to new Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods.
Delpit comes in and immediately competes with Andrew Sendejo for the starting free safety spot as well as providing the ability to use some big nickel package options if that's the path the Browns choose. Delpit and Karl Joseph have the ability to contribute from multiple spots in the defensive scheme Woods wants to employ.
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
Production: 55 solo tackles (9.9 percent) in 2018
The Browns have changed their emphasis on the linebacker position. 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. Free agent B.J. Goodson is a good example.
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 and given the current setup, he'll have his chance to compete for a starting spot.
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 (Via DEN): James Lynch, DL Baylor
Age: 22 (Born January 20th, 1998)
Height: 6'3 5/8"
Weight: 289 lbs
40-Yard Dash: 5.01
Broad Jump: 9'3"
Vertical Jump: 29"
3-Cone Drill: 7.39
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.39
Bench Press: 23 Reps
Production: 24 solo tackles (4.8 percent), 9 tackles for loss (13 percent), 5.5 sacks (22 percent) in 2018
Lynch played defensive end in an odd front at Baylor, where he had an outstanding season in terms of making plays behind the line of scrimmage. His production in terms of solo tackles was very low. His sophomore year was more well rounded.
Lynch tested very well as a defensive tackle, which is where he best translates in the NFL. His speed and explosion are excellent and he has great balance. Lynch is a power player with an excellent first step that can physically overwhelm opponents on his way to the quarterback. He possesses the speed to close and track down quarterbacks trying to escape. His energy and power are certainly assets going to the NFL, but he needs to improve his pass rush repertoire and ability to shed blocks as he won't be able to simply bully NFL guards and centers.
Lynch represents a ball of energy with athleticism that can come in as part of rotation behind Sheldon Richardson, has the ability to hold up against the run, but brings speed and effort as a pass rusher. He can also sub in and play in a nickel role as a rusher and get after the quarterback.
That would give the Browns an impressive interior group with Richardson, Larry Ogunjobi and Andrew Billings. That's in addition to having Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon and Adrian Clayborn coming off the edge.
Round 3 (Via HOU): Brian Edwards, WR South Carolina
Age: 21 (Born November 13th, 1998)
Height: 6'2 3/4"
Weight: 212 lbs
Production: 71 receptions, 816 yards (30.5 percent), 6 touchdowns
Bryan Edwards is a classic X receiver that can attack down the field, be a YAC threat and offer size and strength to the position group. He's been a top receiver for the Gamecocks the past three seasons, having virtually the same production as Deebo Samuel in 2018 and becoming the top threat in their offense this past season.
Unfortunately, Edwards missed the Senior Bowl with a nagging knee injury that caused him to miss the final two games of the season. Then, he suffered a broken foot in training which caused him to be unable to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.
On tape, Edwards has good long speed and can attack over the top as a fade threat and is a option running posts. He takes advantage of his size, boxing opponents out and is aggressive attacking the football in the air. In general, he is better with passes that are at his shoulders or higher.
Edwards is also a player that works well when it comes to hitches and comebacks, working the outside, using his speed to threaten vertically to create separation. He also does a nice job when it comes to slant routes, which are a staple in that offense. Edwards possesses the strength to own space and box out opponents to make catches and advance the ball.
Edwards isn't nearly as effective when it comes to making quick cuts and because he has to build up his speed, he doesn't offer much when it comes to catch and run from a stopped position. He doesn't break as many tackles as one would think considering his size and his hands can be inconsistent. Edwards has a bad habit of letting passes aimed as his torso into his body rather than catching them away from his body.
Edwards does have experience lining up all over the formation. While he tends to play the boundary, he has plenty of experience working from the slot as well as off the line of scrimmage. When it comes to blocking, Edwards is as good as he wants to be. There are times when he doesn't appear terribly inspired and the results look it, but it doesn't take much for him to create space for the ball carrier, which could be an asset for the offense the Browns want to run.
With the Browns offense, where so much is going to be based around running multiple tight ends, Edwards offers another big body that can stretch the field or work from the hash to the boundary. His ability to run slants and posts creates some opportunities to run rubs and layered combinations. Edwards has the potential to be a nice receiver that takes over a starting position down the road, but in the mean time, he can be an extra weapon with potential to grow as a route runner and consistent hands catcher.
Round 4: Amik Robertson, CB Louisiana Tech
Age: 21 (Born July 6th, 1998)
Height: 5'8 3/8"
Weight: 187 lbs
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 6: Antoine Brooks, S Maryland
Age: 21 (Born October 28th, 1998)
Height: 5'10 5/8"
Weight: 220 lbs
40-Yard Dash: 4.64
Vertical Jump: 34.5"
Bench Press: 18 Reps
Production: 69 solo tackles (11.9 percent), 1 interception (10 percent) in 2019
Brooks is an aggressive downhill safety that lined up all over the Maryland defense, from a true free safety to playing in a two-high set to playing slot or in the box. He's a pretty underwhelming deep safety option between some questionable hips and simply lacking the range and length to be consistent back there, even at the collegiate level. The closer to the line of scrimmage he operates, the better the results have been.
Brooks just seems best suited to be a slot safety or weak side linebacker. He's already got the weight to play linebacker and his height can prove deceptive as there are times when he seems able to hide behind teammates and surprise ball carriers, allowing him to make some impact tackles.
His coverage skills at safety simply stretched him too thin, but he does look more than equipped to offer assistance at the second level. And at times, he was able to do that quite well for the Terrapins, often dropping back after showing a pre-snap blitz. He moves pretty well laterally as well and shrinking the area he has to operate should only make it easier for him to be a functional part of the defense.
In the box, he's fearless, able to attack as a blitz threat and just finds his way to the ball carrier, able to drive through tackles. Brooks is just a scrappy, by any means player, that always has played with a linebacker mentality and moving him to the second level simply allows him to be what he's always been.
Brooks has a grinder's mentality, always playing hard. Whatever he lacks in ability, it's not for lack of effort. He gives whatever he has on each and every play and brings an obvious passion.
In addition to contributing as a role player and depth, Brooks will be utilized on special teams coverage units, where he should also provide a benefit.
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"
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.
In a scenario where the Cleveland Browns find themselves unable to select Tristan Wirfs or Andrew Thomas at 10th pick, they are able to do the next best thing. They trade down, acquiring not only an additional draft asset in the 2020 draft, they manage to add to their 2021 draft assets, which currently include an extra fourth and fifth round pick courtesy of trades made by John Dorsey during the 2019 regular season.
They are still able to get a talented offensive tackle equipped to step in and start with tons of experience operating in a zone system in Josh Jones. Along with Bryan Edwards, which addresses depth for now and talent for the future at wide receiver, the Browns should have everything they want to put together an extremely successful offense.
After that, it's all about defense and trying to add impact pieces into the defense being crafted under the guidance of Joe Woods. Grant Delpit offers them what is hopefully a safety they can build around while Malik Harrison and James Lynch could find roles in the defense immediately, working to improve the front seven while Amik Robertson could be their a slot corner for years to come.
Antoine Brooks and Carter Coughlin are role players that could have extremely specific jobs on defense, but should help on special teams. The Browns get two players that could end up being linebackers that specialize in certain circumstances depending on the matchups they face on a game by game and even situation by situation basis.