Don Banks from SI came out with his first 2014 NFL Mock Draft today. Not surprisingly he has the Cleveland Browns drafting a quarterback #4 overall and drafting a wide reciever #26 overall. Yet neither player is the primary targets often mentioned for those two picks and those two positions. Instead Banks thinks a bit outside of the box, but not too far, in retooling the Browns offense.
4. Cleveland — Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Browns could finally experience some first-round good fortune at quarterback in finding Bridgewater waiting for them. The Cardinals’ star is the most accurate and accomplished passer in this draft, and he’s seen as the cleanest pro prospect among all the QB hopefuls. After Brandon Weeden and all those who came before him in Cleveland, accuracy in the passing game is something Browns fans could get used to. In this scenario, Cleveland will have its choice between Bridgewater’s superb touch and command of a pro-style passing game, or the sturdier size and pocket-style quarterbacking of UCF’s Bortles, who some scouts think has the most NFL upside.
With Johnny Manziel off the board at #1 and two non-quarterbacks in Jake Matthews and Jadeveon Clowney going 2 and 3 the Browns are left with a choice. The player compared to Big Ben or the player that may have been the #1 overall pick in last years draft. Banks has the Browns going with Bridgewater based on his accuracy. He is correct that Browns fans have longed for an accurate quarterback, but that longing falls after their desire for a winner. Is it possible that Teddy experiences a Geno Smith like fall? Around this time last year Smith was considered a shoe in top 5, most seeing him #1 overall, but on draft day he fell to the second round. With the quarterback wrapped up the Browns then going shopping for a wide receiver in Banks’ draft.
26. Cleveland — Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
If the Browns nab their next franchise quarterback at No. 4 (and we gave them Bridgewater), the thinking is they’ll try to get him a quality receiving target late in the round, someone who can take some pressure off No. 1 receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron. Beckham and Fresno State receiver Davante Adams should come off the board in this range, but Beckham is the choice because he’s a versatile and explosive pass-catcher who can do damage in either the slot or outside. He has dependable hands, separates easily and is adept at gaining yards after the catch, and might also have a role in the NFL in the return game.
Beckham Jr. is not a name that is often connected with the Browns but could be a perfect fit. His strong body and good hands make him a upgrade over Greg Little, in fact makes him exactly what many people hoped Little would become. Beckham’s ability in the return game give the Browns some security in case Travis Benjamin is not ready, or gets hurt again. Adding a strong slot type receiver could also allow the rookie to succeed in his first year, where many outside receivers fail. TE Jace Amaro and WR Adams, Allen Robinson and others are available still in this draft.
What do you think of Bridgewater? Is he your top choice? Would you pick Bortles given Manziel being drafted #1? Would you like to see another position addressed with the 26th pick? Would you be in favor of another TE? What players would you be willing to trade up for? Ebron at 17, Lee at 18 or any others? At what price?