Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. have made their careers out of evaluating talent for the NFL Draft. Their Big Boards, Mock Drafts and hair (at least for one) are well known in the sports world. While they may not have universal agreement, their opinion is respected and notice is taken when they make any noise. Tonight we come to you with McShay’s most recent noise, his 2014 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 (Insider, costs $) and what it holds for the Cleveland Browns:
4. Cleveland Browns: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
I think this pick would come down to Bortles or WR Sammy Watkins. I’m going with Bortles. While he isn’t a perfect prospect at QB, he has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this class. He has some improving to do with his mechanics, but he showed clear progress in that area during his pro-day workout, and he checks all the boxes in terms of his size (6-foot-5, 232 pounds), intangibles, character, mental makeup and leadership ability. He can also make plays with his legs and is more creative than he gets credit for.
McShay starts the Browns off with the QB seen by most with the highest upside. McShay has Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson and Khalil Mack off the board in the first 4 picks leaving the Browns to select from the 1 remaining “stud” of the 4 in the draft, Sammy Watkins, or their pick of QBs. Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel have their fans due to the obvious traits they have shown in college. Bortles showed some quality traits as well but is easily considered the QB with the most upside by many draft pundits. The Browns get that guy with the #4 pick.
26. Cleveland Browns (from IND): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
In this projection, the Browns drafted UCF QB Blake Bortles at No. 4 overall, and now they’ve added a big-play threat at wide receiver in Benjamin oppositeJosh Gordon. This pair of picks would give Cleveland a young and potentially explosive passing attack to develop (TE Jordan Cameron and WR Andrew Hawkins would help round out an impressive receiving corps). Benjamin has a lot of developing to do as a route-runner and is inconsistent catching the ball on tape, but he is a red-zone nightmare who does a great job of coming down with 50-50 balls.
Bortles is joined by another physical freak in Benjamin. Benjamin is a raw product that is truly a boom or bust prospect. The next WR taken isn’t until #45 in Davante Adams. McShay has 7 WRs taken in the first round, with the Browns having the last of those picks. Benjamin, if he can learn the route tree and how to catch consistently, would be an amazing fit with Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron, Andrew Hawkins and Ben Tate on offense.
35. Cleveland Browns: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Jean-Baptiste has very good size at 6-3, 218 pounds, and would be a nice fit in Cleveland.
With the Browns second round pick McShay has them getting the big corner they need across from Joe Haden. Adding 3 players on the offensive side of the ball is slightly unrealistic so a corner, safety or inside linebacker shouldn’t be a surprise. Jean-Baptiste may not be the best corner on the board but his size will help him match up with the growing receivers in the league. Across from Haden he will get to break in covering opposing team’s #2 receiver.
McShay added a long term QB starter, a #2 WR and a #2 corner. Having Gordon and Haden makes those #2 acceptable but is that enough value for 3 of the top 35 picks?