Let’s be clear about who these guys are. These are not going to be the obvious “should be there when the Browns pick” type of guys. Well, one might be, but that’s a maybe. The other three are guaranteed to be gone by the time the Browns take their selection at pick No. 26. Not only that, but these players don’t really fit a need.
At least, not a pressing need. These are pipe-dream picks. Guys I like as prospects that I would take if they were there.
These are the players that if they actually get to No. 26, that I’d want the Browns to take regardless of their position or their fit. To be clear, they WON’T get to 26 (one might), but each guy can improve the team immensely regardless of who’s ahead of them on the depth chart.
These are pipe-dreams that would improve the team’s depth and flexibility in the future. In two cases their insurance selections, in the other two cases they’re not likely to land that late in the draft.
We all already agree that these four are likely not going to be Browns, but man, I’m such a fan of all four, I’d take them regardless.
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Linemen are like relievers in baseball. Can’t have enough. Penei Sewell may drop in the first round to the middle portions but he won’t fall far enough for the Browns to actually get him. Sewell is the best prospect in the draft and arguably was even a better prospect than anyone in the 2020 NFL Draft at his position. Now, the line isn’t a position of need, hence the “if only” portion of the headline.
Yet, a guy like Sewell would be invaluable for the Browns, considering they had linemen miss seven games last year. With J.C. Tretter and Joel Bitonio getting older, Jack Conklin only having two years left on his deal, Wyatt Teller having injury issues, and Jedrick Wills underperforming, it’s not like the team couldn’t use Sewell.
Now, this isn’t a position of need, even if you could get Sewell and have six quality starters, you wouldn’t in real life. This isn’t about who the Browns would need to take at the spot, simply who would be valuable if the Browns had carte blanche to just pick whichever rookie they want. It’s likely that the line will have at least seven, if not more games where someone misses some time.
Sewell would be an instant upgrade to the backups, and could probably play anywhere on the line if needed. Plus, it’d give you long-term protection if Conklin leaves in 2023 or if Wills doesn’t improve.
Still, if the Browns actually take a lineman in the first round, it’ll be a huge mistake.