Cleveland Browns: Thumbs down on a way-too-early 2021 NFL mock draft

Cleveland Browns (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

No. 16, Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson

If the Browns are picking 16th in next year’s draft, put on your quarterback evaluating glasses on because it’s time to go to work, again.

As for Ross, he’d be leaving early, but you’ve got to like what you see so far. In fact, the grade here has nothing to do with him. He had 1,000 yards and nine scores as a true freshman on 46 catches. He actually caught 20 more passes in 2019, however, his yardage dropped to 865 yards and eight touchdowns.

Driscoll bases this pick off of the Browns’ wide receiving corps dramatically changing following the 2020 campaign. OBJ and Jarvis Landry figure to be expensive cap numbers, and talk around trade rumors involving Beckham promise to never go away.

Any OBJ rumor is just too easy to report. It’s been refuted several times by several credible sources.

Plus, the fact that the owner, Jimmy Haslam, mentioned Beckham and Landry as part of the young core, suggests the former college teammates won’t be leaving as quickly as everyone thinks.

If they produce, they’ll be here. However, their production is directly tied into how Mayfield performs.

As for the will they/won’t they be here next season: OBJ was OK last year. If he’s just OK, again, maybe the analytics gurus convince Haslam to flip him into a draft pick. Really, there’s just too much that has to play out.

As for the positional need, it’s not a bad place to build. That said, ask me about the aforementioned quarterback problem, not to mention linebacker.

Grade: Thumbs down. I mean, who knows? Playing with Trevor Lawrence for one more year will only send Ross’ stock soaring. Landry’s under contract through the 2022 season, while Beckham’s here until 2023. Again, if the Browns can’t make the playoffs with seven teams eligible, then you’ve got to wonder what’s cooking with Baker.

For what it’s worth, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Cleveland selecting Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses at 16. Moses was projected to go in the top 10 this past season, but missed the 2019 campaign due to a torn ACL.