CANTON, Ohio- The first round of the NFL draft has come and gone. First off, I wanted to thank everyone on social media who commented on my posts. I love seeing everyone voice their opinions, or in this case, post their opinions on my posts. Here’s the beauty of sports, there is NOTHING wrong with disagreeing. As a matter of fact, about five people didn’t like the Browns selection of Jabrill Peppers at pick #25. Who knows, you might be right. I could be dead wrong and Peppers is a total bust at the NFL level.
So, let’s start getting into the meat of my article.
With the first pick, I wanted Cleveland to take an impact defensive player. The Browns selected Myles Garrett, the defensive end out of Texas A&M. Most experts had him as the best overall player in this draft. Time will tell. The other players I wanted at #1 overall other than Garrett? Solomon Thomas (selected by 49ers), Jamal Adams (selected by Jets), Derek Barnett (selected by Eagles), Malik Hooker (selected by Colts), Jonathan Allen (selected by Redskins). Notice a trend there? All defensive players. Cleveland had a terrible defense last year. Yes, they had a horrible offense, but the defense was worse.
The Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett with the #1 overall pick.
I was so relieved when Cleveland didn’t select a QB with their first pick. I’ve been saying for months that I am not sold on any of these quarterbacks. I know a lot of people here in Ohio wanted Mitch Trubisky. Let me ask you a question. If Trubisky weren’t from Ohio, say Texas, Florida, California or wherever, would you still have wanted him as bad? I’m not going to answer for you. For me, I could care less what part of the country you’re from or what college you played at, yes, that includes Michigan, if you’re a good player that can help the Browns, bring him on in. Trubisky had the hometown storyline going for him along with his love for the Browns and wanted to play for the Browns. I’m sorry, but whoever has the final say in drafting players cannot draft players based on their emotions. Cleveland showed great poise and stuck with their system. They didn’t reach for a QB. Overall, I was beyond relieved that Cleveland passed on a quarterback in the first round. As I’ve stated before, a team with as many holes as the Browns have, their first-round picks need to be impact players. I did not see any of these QB’s, as a player, that would be successful in Cleveland.
I was shocked to say the least when Chicago selected Trubisky at #2 after they traded up a pick with San Francisco. As of right now, the 49ers got the better end of that deal. They got more draft picks and landed a solid defensive end in Solomon Thomas. I do know a couple Bear’s fans and one wasn’t too pleased about the pick of Mitch. I personally felt Chicago should’ve used their pick on a stud defensive player. Another thing that confused me about the Chicago pick? They signed Mike Glennon to a three-year deal worth $43.5 million. It doesn’t make sense to me for a team to take a player that probably won’t make an immediate impact, unless he beats out Glennon and Chicago is paying their backup $43 million. Trust me when I say I wish nothing but the best for Trubisky, and, for the record, Bears fans deserve to have a winning team on Soldier Field.
The Chicago Bears, after trading with the 49ers, selected Mentor, Ohio native Mitch Trubisky at #2 overall
Cleveland also made more news when they traded picks with Houston. The Texans then selected Clemson star Deshaun Watson. I heard a lot of people wanting the Browns to take this quarterback as well. This is what sticks out to me when I look at why Houston is a much better fit for Watson as opposed to Cleveland. The Texans already have, for the most part, the supporting cast to help Watson be successful. Cleveland? Not so much. Watson, if he’s going to be a great quarterback, will have a better chance at reaching his max potential in Houston.
Sticking with the 12th pick, I did want the Browns to take Malik Hooker. I think he would have hopefully solidify the safety positions. Then again, there were quite a few players I wanted Cleveland to draft at 12. Instead, they traded back and with the 25th pick, they selected Jabrill Peppers out of Michigan. Peppers was the Big 10 Player of the year and a great athlete. Cleveland will use Peppers as a strong safety. Now, I liked this pick for a couple of reasons. Peppers can fill multiple roles for Cleveland, including strong safety, return man and the Browns can also use Peppers on the offensive side of the ball in some packages. But, what I like most about Jabrill Peppers, is his love for football and his attitude on the field. Peppers is going to eventually be the vocal leader on the Browns defense. I think Peppers and Danny Shelton will gel great together. In return, I think that’ll bring out even more in Myles Garrett. The one thing that Peppers will need to work on, is his coverage skills.
The Cleveland Browns traded down to the 25th overall pick and selected the versatile player Jabrill Peppers.
After the Peppers pick, Cleveland traded back into the first round and selected Miami tight end David Njoku.
Hue Jackson called Njoku “A great athlete with the ability to make plays downfield”. Njoku can, not only make plays, but he can also block. With Cleveland drafting multiple tight ends the last two drafts, the Browns released tight end Gary Barnidge. While Barnidge was a good tight end for Cleveland, there is a youth movement still going on in Cleveland. Gary Barnidge will be 32 in September. The Browns want young players. Remember, aside from Joe Thomas, who is a pro-bowler every year, the Browns want to have young impactful players on their roster until they make a splash at the QB position. Barnidge signed a three-year $12M deal with Cleveland. I will say this, I would have liked a combo of Njoku and Barnidge in short yardage and red zone situations.
Cleveland now has two first-rounders and three second-rounders in 2018. Cleveland was able to draft three day one impact players in the first round, while adding more picks to the 2018 draft. This makes me believe that they’re going to eventually make a play for the quarterback that they really want. While they wait, the Browns will continue to fill all the other holes and then plug in, who they believe, is their franchise QB. I have no problem with that. Don’t draft a quarterback just to draft him.
I was a little puzzled, to say the least, that the Colts selected Malik Hooker. I felt Indianapolis would definitely select any of the top offensive linemen.
Tampa Bay is now officially loaded on offense after they added tight end O.J. Howard to an already good offense.
San Francisco made out last night. Not only did the 49ers get Solomon Thomas, they were also able to land Reuben Foster, the talented middle linebacker out of Alabama. Plus, the 49ers also added a 2017 third- and fourth round picks and a 2018 third-round pick.
My last puzzling selection? The Saints decided to draft an offensive lineman. Going into the draft, I figured the Colts, Giants and Broncos all would target offensive linemen. Well, Denver drafted a lineman and so did the Saints. The New York Giants went with a tight end. New Orleans, I felt, should have taken the best available defensive player.
At the end of the first round, while I wanted Hooker or Allen at 12, I liked the Peppers pick. Not drafting a QB was a big relief for me. And, moving into rounds 2-3, Cleveland has two picks. The Browns hold the 52nd and 65th overall picks.
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis