2017 NFL Draft: The Cleveland Browns’ Freakish Draft
Yup. Cleveland really and truly came up with something special in the 2017 NFL Draft … Browns fans hope.
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2017 NFL Draft Position Rankings
From the college perspective
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OTs | OGs & Cs
DEs | DTs | OLBs | ILBs | CBs | Safeties
– 2018 Top Ten NFL Draft Prospects
– 2017 NFL Draft First Round Pick-by-Pick Analysis
In 2012, the Cleveland Browns had what appeared to be a franchise-changing draft.
Trent Richardson was a no-brainer future Pro Bowl running back, Brandon Weeden was a veteran quarterback who could step in right away and produce, and Travis Benjamin was a great-looking deep threat with potential No. 1 target upside.
In 2014, Justin Gilbert was a can’t-miss corner taken by the Browns at the eight, and while the opinions were mixed on Johnny Manziel, he was a shot at the stars at the 22.
It’s not like Cleveland has always whiffed on big picks, making a great call on Joe Haden at the seven in 2010, taking Alex Mack in the first round in 2009, and picking a future Hall-of-Famer in Joe Thomas in 2007. But the Browns haven’t been able to put together a complete draft class to change around their woes.
If nothing else, Cleveland made the perfect move at every pick, including trading when needed to move down in the first, up from the second to the late first, and getting ridiculous value after ridiculous value.
Even at the No. 1 with Myles Garrett.
The Browns got stars, and they got freakish talent with each of their first five picks.
Garrett is the prototype of prototypes at defensive end, with no-question-about-it skills and upside. Not only was he the top talent in this draft, there was a 50-mile-wide gap between him and anyone who could be at the No. 2.
Did the Browns go after Deshaun Watson at the 12? That would’ve sent Cleveland fans to the moon, but instead they traded down, and took a shot at something special getting Jabrill Peppers at the 25 – and getting more picks for doing it.
Yeah, there are questions about Peppers – it’s why he slid – but there’s no question from anyone that he’s a top 15-caliber athlete and talent. If he doesn’t work out, at least it was a great value grab.
Tampa Bay spent the 19th pick on O.J. Howard and the Giants spent the 23rd pick on Evan Engram. Again, getting fantastic value, the Browns moved up to the 29 to get Miami’s David Njoku – yet another ridiculously athletic prospect with a world of upside.
But the Browns didn’t get a quarterback in the first round.
It was a risk. The Bills could’ve gone QB. Arizona needs one, and the Jets have to address the problem – and they all drafted before the Browns in the third. But DeShone Kizer kept falling, and falling, and falling … and boom.
Drafting really is mostly about dumb luck, and to get Kizer with the 55th overall pick is absolutely ridiculous.
From the college perspective, DeShone Kizer is the top quarterback in this draft, and five months ago, it wouldn’t have seemed crazy if he went No. 1 overall.
There are issues with Mitchell Trubisky (size, big-time arm, experience), Watson (size, big-time arm, way too many picks) and Patrick Mahomes (needs better touch, needs to work in a pro-style system). Physically, there aren’t any issues with Kizer.
He’s very big, very athletic, has an arm just a shade worse than Mahomes’, and he’s got two years of experienced. He’s polished, doesn’t need a lot of tinkering, and has the ability to step in and start from Day One.
So why did he drop? There was a snowball effect of negativity against him, but it’s all there to be special.
And, again, he was a fantastic value pick compared to what it took to get the three quarterbacks taken before him.
Oh, and by the way, with the first pick in the third round, Cleveland took an NFL starting defensive tackle in Charlotte’s Larry Ogunjobi.
But Cleveland fans have been hurt before. They’ve been told there’s hope after a loaded draft class. They’ve dreamed that things were finally going to change.
This time, it appears to really and truly be happening.
Cleveland, if you can’t win with this core of star prospects, you really and truly might be cursed.