Reading the tea leaves on the Browns NFL draft strategy.

Cleveland Browns Kevin Stefanski (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Kevin Stefanski (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

With Senior Bowl practices in full swing, a top ten pick in the pocket, and a new GM on the horizon, it is once again draft season for the Cleveland Browns.

With draft season, that means it’s mock draft season, and it is always fun to imagine players that will be joining the Browns and how they will fit with Baker Mayfield or Myles Garrett. All that being said I wanted to explore a few scenarios prior to posting another mock draft next week with all the post-Senior Bowl hype.

1. Trade down-With Paul DePodesta pushing the analytics buttons for the Browns, I think it is likely we see a trade down, especially if the hype surrounding Jordan Love continues. There is a good chance the third or fourth QBs on the board are there at 10…and if so, there should be a market to move down. The Raiders, Colts, and Bucs may all be in the market and the Browns would be able to add another 2nd or 3rd round pick depending on the move up. Who knows, New England may need a QB as well, and the trade up to 10 from 23 would net an additional 1st round pick plus others. It’s a scenario that I wouldn’t love, but it is one that Browns fans should be prepared for. Even if one of the top tackles are on the board. There are some risers at tackle including Mekhi Becton from Louisville, and Josh Jones from Houston, so if the move isn’t trading too far back, one of those tackles should be available.

2. Stay and draft an offensive tackle-Left and right tackle are big needs for this team, and drafting a big-time prospect to develop under the tutelage of Bill Callahan would be ideal. In   Daniel Jeremiah’s first mock draft he had four offensive linemen in the top ten, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Josh Jones is not too far behind, keep in mind with the team building card that Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta had, that offensive tackle is one of the four building blocks for team building.

3. Draft a pass rusher-With the health of Olivier Vernon always a question mark, it would be important for the Browns to target either an interior pass rusher or another edge to put with Myles Garrett and the aforementioned Vernon. The suspension of Garrett, and injuries to Vernon put a spotlight on a lack of depth rushing the passer in Cleveland, and with the rumored addition of Joe Woods as defensive coordinator, the Browns may be looking to duplicate on the Niners success of multiple picks in the first round being used on the defensive line. K’Lavon Chaisson, Javon Kinlaw, Terrell Lewis are guys to watch at 10 or in trade down scenarios. Cleveland Browns: George Paton most qualified for GM job

4. Keep an eye on stats, keep an eye on measurements-With analytics here to stay, everything you see is information. If you want a beat on who the Browns may be targeting early on, ideally it’s a combo or athleticism and production. Age is also a factor, look at baseball, a 24-year-old prospect, isn’t really a prospect anymore, same here, a receiver who runs a 4.6 40 won’t be in demand early. Now later on, while SPARQ scores are still an indicator, the focus turns to production, see the picks of Carl Nassib and Joe Schobert. It’s hedging on what translates best in a volatile market, sometimes those picks hit, and sometimes they don’t, but if it goes wrong, it’s an educated guess.

5. The Browns are not moving up-This may be the easiest guess of the group, with needs on the offensive line, defensive line, safety, and tight end, the Browns are going to be looking to add selections rather than decrease picks, also look for trades where the Browns add capital in later drafts, as that capital as seen as more valuable and easier to acquire than current picks. So if the Patriots trade from 23 to 10 and the Browns get a 3 this year and a 1st in 2021, don’t say I didn’t warn you first.

Next. Cleveland Browns: The three biggest needs in the 2020 NFL Draft. dark