The big boys have released their NFL Mock Drafts from ESPN. We start here with Mel Kiper’s. Kiper has been a “draft guru” for a long time and has the hair to prove it. It has become his signature look, interestingly enough its become Mock-able for a guy who makes Mock Drafts for a living. Lets look at Kiper’s Mock Draft 5.0 for the Browns(Insider, Costs $):
4 Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns (4-12) COLLEGE: Texas A&M Class: Soph HT: 5-11 WT: 207 POS: QB
Analysis: Of course it’s a risk, but the Browns are in a reasonable position to take a quarterback at this spot and still come out of this draft with impact regardless of what they get out of that quarterback early on. I’ve also noted before I don’t think they need to draft Manziel with the assumption that he starts in Week 1. Brian Hoyer offers a reasonable bridge to a young starter. If Watkins is available here, I can see that as the pick, and I’m not sure Manziel is the No. 1 choice for the Browns at quarterback. But I’ll bet on their belief in his ceiling here.
Kiper notes what we have been saying through this whole process: Whoever the Browns pick doesn’t have to start early on. That means if they have talent they can be developed through their flaws. Kiper has Sammy Watkins off the board at #3 along with Jadeveon Clowney and Greg Robinson. The Browns would have the choice of a QB, Khalil Mack or Jake Matthews as well as Mike Evans. Thinking has swung back to QB being the pick, with the likelihood the Browns will be the first to take a QB this year. Many don’t like Manziel at this pick but could love him after a year of development. Who the Browns add to the offense to go with him, along with their stellar defense, could set them apart in this draft:
26 Kyle Fuller Cleveland Browns (4-12) COLLEGE: Virginia Tech Class: Sr HT: 5-11 WT: 190 POS: CB
Analysis: After doing this for over 35 years and trading notes with countless evaluators, I can tell you there’s no magic formula for deciphering exactly which cornerbacks are going to make the transition to the NFL quickly and which will take some time. But I’d bet Fuller can play an important role earlier than most. The Browns could use it, too, because they need a player who can take on good receivers close to the level Joe Haden can. Fuller is a fit I like here and has to be in consideration if he’s available.
Another pick that is becoming more universal is the Browns taking a corner with their 2nd first round pick. Fuller is a senior, mature player that can come in right away and play. Being the #2 corner from the start could be a lot of pressure but Fuller’s maturity will help him in the process. The Browns pass over wide receivers Cody Latimer, Jordan Matthews and others to take Fuller here.
Manziel and Fuller, with no idea who Kiper would pick in the 2nd round, would still impact the team short term and long term. What do you think?