Draft Preview: Cleveland Browns

When the Cleveland Browns traded for star wideout Odell Beckham Jr in the 2019 off-season they were considered super bowl contenders. The Browns had all the hype along with all the talent needed on offense to make a push for the playoffs in hopes to end their 17-year drought of missing the playoffs.

Their drought would extend by one year as the Browns underwhelming performance resulted in them going 6-10, one less win than their 2018 season. The Browns still need to add some pieces to their lineup to take them to the level they’re expected to perform at. Here are some positions Cleveland could look to address with their 8 total draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Offensive Tackle 

The Browns did a semi-good job of protecting their QB, Baker Mayfield, ranking 16th in sacks allowed with 41, also allowing 67 QB hits. The main problem with their offensive line is the left tackle position which consists of Chris Hubbard who is the starter and backup Greg Robinson. Both players underperformed this past season as Hubbard allowed 6 sacks and Robinson who was on a “1-year prove-it” deal allowed 4.5 sacks. Robinson is unlikely to be re-signed by the Browns during free agency and now Cleveland is stuck with Hubbard as he has 3 years left on his 5-year $37.5 million contract.

A prospect to look out for is Mekhi Becton out of Louisville who can easily take over a spot at offensive tackle as soon as week 1. Becton has an impressive 6’7 357lbs frame to go along with his freakish size; he has some speed with him as he showed out for his 40-yard dash at the combine.

Becton did great against some of the college top pass rushers in his final year and along with his good pass protection, he did well in the run game as he would tend to keep his blocks. Becton is a one of a kind player with his size and speed the Browns can really pick up a young star to boost their o-line up who can also contribute to their promising future.

Linebacker

The Browns also lost 2 of their linebackers this off-season Starter Joe Schobert and backup Christian Kirksey. Cleveland released Kirksey who has spent time as a crucial starter on the team since being drafted by them in 2014.

4 of those years he was a starter but his game has recently begun to be on the decline. Their big loss was Schobert who left in free agency to sign with the Green Bay Packers this really hurt the defense because he was the most productive player they had and most importantly he was still young going into his “prime years”. With a loss of there 2 lb’s and failing to sign a top linebacker in the free agency there only hope is signing a player in this year’s draft.

A prospect to look out for was Troy Dye out of Oregon who was the “Joe Schobert” for the Ducks in his final year. Dye was all over the field for the Ducks recording 2.5 sacks, 4 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. Even when he had a cast on his hand he wanted to finish off final games of the season and did with a cast on showing his heart and love for the game. Dye is well under the radar projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round. If Cleveland is able to snatch him up in the 2nd round, they will truly be getting a dog to join the “Dawg Pound.”

Safety

The Browns not only need a starting safety they desperately need some depth in that position as Damarious Randall, Juston Burris, and Eric Murray are all set to become free agents. Along with 3 players being free agents, they released Morgan Burnett, a 10-year veteran who was coming off a year where he tore his Achilles this past season in week 11.

The Browns did sign veteran Karl Joseph to a 1-year deal who is coming off a foot injury that kept him out of action for the last 6 weeks of the season. Although Joseph is coming off a foot injury before he got hurt he was putting on a good show as he ended the week 7 and week 8 games by having game-winning interceptions and a couple of big stops for the then Oakland Raiders ( now Las Vegas Raiders). With the Risk of signing a safety coming off an injury, the Browns could still look to draft one in the upcoming draft.

A prospect to look out for is Darnay Holmes out of UCLA who finished off his final season strong earning him a late addition to the annual Senior Bowl. Holmes best attribute is his consistency; he has been consistent all 3 years at UCLA.

He has recorded at least 2 or more interceptions and 3 or more pass deflections each year bringing his college career to 8 interceptions and 17 pass deflections. Although Holmes is a bit undersized at 5’10 he can certainly help the secondary in Cleveland.

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