Browns mocks offseason 3.0: draft is fast approaching
False seasons can be both fun and exhausting to write about. We’ve done it a few times so far this offseason, but none in a while.
So far, this offseason has seen the following additions:
- QB Deshaun Watson
- QB Jacoby Brissett
- WR Amari Cooper
- WR Jakeem Grant
- OL Ethan Pocic
- BY Chase Winovich
- DT Taven Bryan
- P Corey Bojorquez
The team also brought back Anthony Walker Jr., Ronnie Harrison, Chris Hubbard and Chase McLaughlin and lost Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, JC Tretter, Rashard Higgins, Mack Wilson, MJ Stewart, Andy Janovich and Case Keenum.
Adding to the 2022 losses are the team’s first-round pick and their additional fourth-round pick that came out in the trade Watson and fifth-round pick that came out for Cooper.
Now, looking at the squad’s current roster of 53 players, we see that some needs still exist. Interestingly, many of these needs were present at the start of the offseason. (Go ahead and click on them, they will open in new windows and come back for today’s post)
So what’s left in the free agent market that could help the team? If they make these moves, what could the draft look like?
It sounds like the most obvious decision most Browns should and will make. With Clowney, it’s hard to know for sure because he’s made it clear that money is the key variable. He had a good season with Cleveland in 2021 and took note of the addition of Watson, so a return makes sense.
Clowney is one of the best remaining free agents and the Browns have the third-largest cap space in the league, according to the NFLPA.
Getting Myles Garrett back with Jadeveon Clowney and Winovich as a rotating defensive end would be a solid group to work with with hopes Curtis Weaver develops.
This is where things get a little vague for a second but on purpose. While there aren’t any top receivers that make sense, the NFL has quite a few worthwhile free agent receivers. Each has negatives to go along with the positives:
- Jarvis Landry – Limited as a slot receiver but consistent, outside of his first big year out on injury in 2021. Landry would be the name most Browns fans want to see.
- Odell Beckham Jr. – The name Cleveland most wants to see and a player who probably won’t play much, if any, of the 2022 season due to his ACL injury in the Super Bowl.
- Julio Jones – Whether it’s being traded for a second-round pick or sitting in the free agent market, it’s been a tough year for Jones. If healthy, Jones would be the best receiver on the roster, but he hasn’t been very healthy.
- Will Fuller – Connected to Watson since their time in Houston, Fuller isn’t healthy very often either, but is a bit younger and has a connection to the team’s new QB.
- Others: TY Hilton, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, DeSean Jackson, Dante Pettis
For this fictional offseason, let’s go crazy with Jones as an addition. Cooper played in the slot often during his career and would give Watson three big fast receivers.
A bear in the middle of the defensive line, Hicks played just nine games last year but produced 3.5 sacks and is a terror for offensive linemen. He won’t be a versatile player, but would be an important addition.
Bringing back Sheldon Richardson could also help inside the defensive line.
Not many good options in the tight market, so bringing Carlson back at least gives them another player they know who can be a wide receiver. After missing all of last season through injury, Carlson can at least provide some depth in this position.
With additions to their most demanding positions, the Browns can go in multiple directions with their picks. At this point, the kicker is the only vital need left.
The team will still need to invest in long-term solutions for the filled positions above, but they are now free to build the best possible project instead of fulfilling needs.
For today’s mock draft game of the fictional offseason, no trades will be used with Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator.
BY David Ojabo, Michigan
At this point, given the needs filled above, getting Ojabo is a steal at pick No. 44. Although he will miss all or most of the season, Ojabo was a top 15 prospect in this year’s draft. .
George Pickens and DeMarvin Leal were the other options considered here and could have been good picks as well, but Ojabo is a long-term partner for Garrett who can become a top pass thrower.
WR Skyy Moore, West Michigan
A very interesting receiver prospect who can play right away. His size indicates that he is a slot machine receiver, but he also has the ability to play outside. With Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cooper and Jones, Moore can make an impact with minimal clicks as a rookie.
TE Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin
Adding the 6’5″ Ferguson gives the team another long-range weapon. With David Njoku still unsigned after his franchise tag and Harrison Bryant the only other tight end with real experience, adding Ferguson helps depth at the position.
DT Zachary Carter, Florida
Carter is an interesting prospect who can play a variety of roles on the defensive line and add to Cleveland’s athletic defensemen. The Browns seem more interested in having passers on the inside than defenders and Carter fits that mold.
Lake Quentin S, UCLA
Harrison is returning but only for one season, so adding Lake, who will help special teams this year, makes a lot of sense. The son of former NFL star Carnell Lake, the safety is versatile in the way he plays the position.
K Cade York, LSU
A young kicker is badly needed at this point because relying on McLaughlin is not a game plan for the season.
CB Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech
With Denzel Ward, Troy Hill and Greedy Williams all entering the final year of their contracts, adding a cornerback in the draft will make a lot of sense.