The Cleveland Browns NFL 2023 NFL Draft differs wildly from person to person
The Cleveland Browns made seven picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. That’s all that can be said about it with any actual fact. We know that seven rookies were added to the team and we know that they’ll likely show up for rookie camp here in a few weeks. Beyond that, it’s just assumptions and guesses.
Now, some people think that the Browns, as a matter of fact, had a good or bad draft. I don’t know that they did, I don’t know that they didn’t. I gave them a C- because a wide receiver with injury issues, and a slow, nearly 400 lb offensive lineman don’t seem like great picks.
Could they be great picks? Sure. Could they suck? Sure. But we don’t know for sure. I’m mostly basing my observation based on the lackluster drafts that Browns GM Andrew Berry has given us before.
They haven’t been great, just in case you’ve been wondering. Granted, we’ve seen far worse before him. So I think C- is fair, considering I don’t think they did enough to bolster the linebacking corp or the defensive front four.
What else has the league been saying beyond our site?
They Gave the Browns A’s
"It’s hard to believe that Cedric Tillman and Siaki Ika fell to Cleveland in the third round. Tillman is a talented receiver who projects to be a solid No. 2 possession player, while Ika is a monstrous nose tackle. Ika fell because of injury concerns, but he was well worth the bargain toward the end of the third round. Dawand Jones was also a steal in the fourth frame."
"Overall, Berry was able to select players at positions of need and at significant value nearly across the board. While some of these players may not immediately contribute on the field, Berry obviously had a long-term vision of prospects that could become starters or, at minimum, rotational pieces down the line"
"The Browns have made it a priority to improve the interior of their defensive line this offseason, and they continue that with the addition of Ika here. A mountain of a man at 358 pounds, he isn’t just a run defender, registering a 76.4 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2022."
They Gave the Browns B’s
ESPN’s Mel Kiper (B+)
"Again, for what Berry had in this draft, he did a great job. He never reached, and he used his selections on premium positions."
"The Browns did very well with what they had."
"Wypler’s value in the sixth round was too strong to pass on"
ClutchPoints (B-, grade based on average individual grade given)
"We don’t think they’re all immediate impact players, but at least a couple should be.…Overall, Berry focused on premium positions, making the most of his selections. His draft strategy was not too shabby given the circumstances of the team’s position."
ProFootballNetwork (B-, grade based on average individual grade given)
"Cleveland might have a stockpile of centers, but that doesn’t stop them from halting the slide of Ohio State’s Luke Wypler. He’s an athletic piece at the pivot who offers pass protection upside with refined hand skills. The heart of the Buckeyes’ offensive line was the 91st overall prospect on the PFN Big Board."
They Gave the Browns C’s
Dawg Pound Daily (C+, grade based on average individual grade given)
"With their second pick in the fifth, the Browns added Cameron Mitchell from Northwestern. He’s listed at 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds. You would have liked to have seen the Browns bring in a cornerback who can play the slot but Mitchell is basically another outside option.Some believe he could move to safety, which is a more pressing need."
The Ringer (C+)
"Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones has a truly gargantuan frame, giving the Browns a quality backup for right tackle Jack Conklin who could eventually develop into a starter at that spot"
"It’s difficult to draw a lot of value from a draft class that doesn’t have many picks."
They Gave the Browns D’s
"They spent this year’s first-round pick (plus two others) on Watson and what’s quickly projecting as an ill-considered, fully guaranteed, $230 million contract. Their second-rounder was used on underachieving Jets WR Elijah Moore in a pre-draft trade. In Round 4, they took massive Ohio State RT Dawand Jones – hard to see where he fits in, but maybe he’s a microcosm of a larger plan that will (hopefully) make more sense in time. Third-round WR Cedric Tillman and DT Siaki Ika appear like they could help immediately."
DraftKings Nation (D-)
"Tillman and Ika are the only players that could carve out a decent number of snaps for themselves as rookies while the rest will be fighting to simply stick as members of the 53-man roster."
They Graded the Browns Out of 32
Dane Brugler of The Atheltic (10th bes)
"Despite not picking until No. 74, the Browns found tremendous value and landed five players in my top 100. After his breakthrough 2021 season, Tillman entered last season as a borderline first-round pick. He missed half the season with an ankle injury, though, which put a discount sticker on his draft tag — and gave Cleveland a steal. Tillman was one of the few true “X” receivers in this class and will make an impact as a rookie."
They Decided if the Browns were Winners or Losers
Mike Jones of the Athletic (Losers)
"Mortgaging the future for Deshaun Watson meant the Browns had few resources to significantly upgrade their roster through the draft. Can their top pick, third-rounder Cedric Tillman, develop into a threat? Will the rest of the mid- to late-round picks (including UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson) be anything more than depth acquisitions?"
When it comes to the Cleveland Browns’ 2023 NFL Draft, who is right?
No one is right, not right now anyway. There needs to be time to see how it turns out. My grade was specifically about the team addressing needs, and I don’t think they did that, at least not with players that I have confidence in.
The whole concept of the draft is different per person. Some believe you draft by need, others do the awful “best player available” methodology, where you just pick the best name on your board, regardless if he helps fill a need or not.
Most NFL pundits have recently bought into the “best player available” mantra, without realizing that mantra has kept the Browns’ defensive tackles and linebackers weak for the last three seasons. Sometimes it’s ok to actually pick a player you think can help you, even if he’s a “reach”. Whatever “a reach” truly means. After all, if you think he’s the best player available, how is he a reach? It doesn’t matter if you have pick 33, and he’s valued at the 48th pick by ESPN or whoever. Just take the guy you think makes your weakest bits better.
Take the talent you think can help you. The over-thinking is why so many NFL GMs are out of a job in four years. or less.
With the quick turnaround, it’s fair to say that GMs and NFL scouts aren’t the geniuses some point them out to be. Are pundits any better? No. Players fail all the time for a variety of reasons, and evaluating a team’s draft stock based on others’ evaluations is odd.
Some ranked Dawand Jones as a first, or second-rounder. Yet he fell to the fourth. Is he a steal? Some would say his slowness as a tackle would be a hindrance, so did the Browns reach? It’s too soon to say.
The only thing you should ask is this; did the NFL team in question fill the holes on their team? If yes, then the draft was good. If the answer is no, then the draft was bad. I’m not sure what people are expecting out of a third-round receiver who’s already sixth on the depth chart, but I can assure you, he wouldn’t have helped the team as much as a dual-threat linebacker.
Moreover, with how much talent is ahead of Cedric Tillman, if Tillman succeeds, it means that someone like David Bell has failed. Which hurts the credibility of Berry’s 2022 NFL Draft. So, it’s going to be a very interesting preseason to see which Berry-led draft fails to develop.
Either way, it could serve as the final indictment against Berry as GM.