The Cleveland Browns first draft under first year general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski are officially in the books. Let’s take a look here on the Broulis Beat Report.
ROUND ONE- There was a glaring need for a left tackle for the Browns. It’s safe to say that Cleveland hasn’t been able to fill that void since future Browns hall of famer Joe Thomas retired back in 2018. With their first selection, the Browns selected Jedrick Wills out of Alabama. Wills was Alabama’s right tackle and protected quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s blind side because he’s a left-handed quarterback. Most experts say it’s very possible to switch from left to right and right to left. It’s a matter of changing footwork and some technique. I’m just glad they address the offensive line early.
ROUND TWO- With the departure of Damarious Randall, Cleveland addressed the safety position with the selection of Grant Delpit of LSU. Again, another position of need and a player that, in mostly any other year would likely have gone in the first-round, was still there. The only knock on Delpit? At times last year, he had some issues with tackling. That hasn’t been a consistent issue, but one to keep an eye on. I’m glad they drafted a safety at some point and that some point was in the second round.
ROUND THREE- Cleveland has had many issues with stopping the run over the years and their lack of both skill and depth on the defensive line has been an issue. Defensive lineman Jordan Elliott is out of Missouri and will hopefully add quality depth to a defensive line that is in desperate need of quality bodies.
ROUND THREE- The Browns let both Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert walk and that has left a big hole at the linebacker position. For the record, I would have liked to see both players return, but Kirksey couldn’t stay healthy and Schobert had too many tackling issues. Schobert is a good player, but not a top tier LB. This brings me to Jacob Phillips out of LSU. The second player drafted by Cleveland out of LSU. With this linebacker core as weak as it is, Phillips has a good chance at seeing the field early. It all depends on how fast he learns the playbook and how he looks in practice.
ROUND FOUR- In head coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense, he runs a lot of two tight-end sets. He wants tight ends to be able to catch AND be able to block. Current tight end David Njoku was a first-round pick back in 2017 out of Miami. Njoku has been inconsistent with catching and blocking. Cleveland will likely have four tight ends on their roster. The Browns drafted Harrison Bryant out of Florida Atlantic. Bryant won the John Mackey award for the nations top tight end. If Bryant proves to be a more consistent catcher AND blocker, this might put Njoku’s future will Cleveland in jeopardy.
ROUND FIVE- Recently, Cleveland signed center J.C. Tretter to a three-year extension. Tretter has been a solid center for the Browns, often playing through injuries and his consistent play on the field. With this extension, Cleveland selected center Nick Harris out of Washington. My hope here, is Harris can have a chance to sit and learn and possibly play just a little. This was a very solid pick for Cleveland.
ROUND SIX- The final pick for the Browns came at pick 187. Cleveland wanted to add some depth at the receiver position by picking Donovan Peoples-Jones out of Michigan. I recently heard an audio clip of former Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer talking about how Peoples-Jones was the most impressive WR he saw on the field while recruiting. Meyer was extremely disappointed that Peoples-Jones committed to Michigan. I wouldn’t have minded seeing KJ Hill of Ohio State getting selected here, but having a chance to draft DPJ might turn out to be a really great thing for the Browns.
OTHER BROWNS NEWS-
It was reported that the Browns are re-signing wide receiver Rashard Higgins to a one-year deal worth $910,000. It’s also being reported by multiple media members that Higgins turned down more money from elsewhere to return to Cleveland. I’m really glad Cleveland is bringing back Higgins. The chemistry between Higgins and Mayfield was pretty obvious in Mayfield’s rookie year and I expect great things to happen again between the two when football resumes.
The Browns recently exercised the fifth-year options on defensive end Myles Garrett and tight end David Njoku.
If there is a football season, I do believe that Garrett will have a big season. Whenever football resumes, I believe Garrett will have a dominate year.
When it comes to Njoku, he really has a lot to prove to me. Njoku has the physical traits and athletic ability to be great, but if he can’t be more consistent catching the ball and learn how to become a better blocker, he won’t see the field much in head coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense.
The NFL, Cleveland Browns and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced that the NFL draft will be held in downtown Cleveland on April 29th– May 1st of 2021.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis