Last night we shared with you Todd McShay’s NFL Mock Draft 4.0 which included 2 Rounds, now we update Don Banks’ SI NFL Mock Draft, sadly it is only 1 round. Banks makes 2 significant decisions early in the draft that are significantly different then most Mocks that we have seen and could have a huge impact on the Cleveland Browns decision making. First he has the St. Louis Rams, who are the lynchpin of the draft, selecting Jake Matthews instead of Greg Robinson or Sammy Watkins and then he has the Jacksonville Jaguars taking Watkins. Those two picks are non-standard at this point in Mock Draft season but could start to be seen more often. Those picks, as well as Jadeveon Clowney #1 overall, leave the Browns with:
4. Cleveland — Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Of the four quarterback-needy teams that reside in this draft’s top five, the Browns are the team I’m most convinced will take a first-round QB. Cleveland simply has no starting option behind the rehabilitating Brian Hoyer. But then again, Cleveland also owns the No. 26 pick, so maybe there are plenty of options from that perspective. Many mockers are linking the Browns to Fresno State’s Derek Carr, either at No. 26 or possibly even No. 4. But Carr in the top five is an obvious reach, and Cleveland should not be in the mood to gamble with so much on the line in its latest rebuilding effort. Manziel may not be the first choice of new Cleveland offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who lived through (barely) the media blitz known as the RGIII phenomena in Washington, but if I’m the Browns, I’m banking on the guy who has won most of his biggest games and plays like he isn’t afraid to have all the pressure put on his shoulders.
So we are back to the Manziel/Browns connection for most Mock Drafts. Many had gotten away from it for a couple of weeks but have walked back to it recently. Hints of the Browns interest in Carr, among others, has turned the attention at #4 to QB and Manziel. If the draft plays out this way the Browns could take Khalil Mack and play him all over the defense, one of the other 2 QBs or take a risk on the “#2 WR” Mike Evans, who some have as their highest rated. Don’t be surprised if a surprise name, Eric Ebron, Aaron Donald or another, starts to rise and be linked to the Browns at #4.
26. Cleveland — Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
If the Browns don’t go quarterback at No. 4, as I have them doing with Manziel, many expect Carr to land in Cleveland in this slot. That would certainly cut down on the size of the first-round quarterback gamble, but I have the Browns taking another cornerback with the pick they received from Indy in the Trent Richardson trade of last year. Fuller is either the second- or third-best cornerback in the draft, depending on the analyst, and his athleticism and cover skills would supplement a secondary led by No. 1 cornerback Joe Haden.
All of the Mocks are starting to get a similar feel to them, which may be a good thing. The Browns are linked to 2 of 4 positions in the first round: QB, WR, CB or ILB. In this case they go with Fuller who Banks has high thoughts of as either the 2nd or 3rd best corner in the class. Adding a top flight corner will assist Haden and Mike Pettine’s secondary while freeing up the pass rushers that are littered all over the Browns roster. The only WR selected after #26 was Kelvin Benjamin late in the round as Banks has 6 total going in the first round. Two more corners and a offensive guard were selected later in the round as well.
A QB and a CB but no receiver or offensive lineman. Would you be satisfied?