CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns’ already active offseason isn’t even close to finished. They hold nine draft picks in next week’s draft, which is being held in Cleveland. While there might not be a ton of holes to fill, this draft presents an opportunity to add depth to the roster and maybe unearth a few players who could help you right now.
Over the next few days, our Browns writers will present how the Browns can win the draft.
For my version, I used the mock draft simulator on ProFootballFocus.com to help see who could be available when the Browns go on the clock.
Here’s how I believe the Browns can win the 2021 NFL Draft:
Round 1, Pick 26: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern | 6-0, 192 pounds
Newsome is Dane Brugler’s third-ranked cornerback in this class and NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares him to Darius Slay. Daniel Jeremiah has Newsome has him as his No. 28 player in the draft and his fourth-ranked cornerback. PFF ranks him No. 20 overall.
Brugler points out some durability concerns, but calls Newsome “a route magnet with fluid transitions and natural instincts. He projects as a press-man NFL starter as a rookie.”
Jeremiah says he “he has excellent instincts versus the run and pass. … I expect Newsome to develop into a reliable starting cornerback very early in his NFL career.”
He is generally praised as a tackler and projected to be a starter fast in the NFL and that’s what I’m looking for here — a corner who can come in and compete to be the No. 2 guy right away.
Round 2, Pick 59: Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston | 6-5, 270
A cornerback and an edge rusher who can contribute early in the first two picks is almost too good to be true.
Turner is big with good length and wingspan and might be just the guy to slowly work his way into the EDGE rush rotation alongside Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Takk McKinley.
This is a good spot, too. PFF ranks him as their No. 58 overall prospect and seventh-best edge rusher. Brugler ranks him ninth and gives him a second/third-round grade. He can also play inside and outside, which the Browns value in their defensive linemen.
Zierlein includes in his scouting report this nugget from an AFC scout: “I wanted to keep him a secret after I saw him last year and that didn’t happen. He’s going to become a force.”
Round 3, Pick 89: Trade the pick
The Browns have nine picks and it seems a bit much to potentially add nine players to the roster. Considering they hold another pick just two spots after this one, it makes sense to see if you can take this pick and turn it into a third — or even a second — next year.
Round 3, Pick 91: Milton Williams, DL, Louisiana Tech | 6-3, 284
If you’re into PFF grades, let me tell you about this defensive tackle. PFF gave him an 89.7 pass rush grade and an 88.4 run defense grade. They rank him as their third-best interior defender and No. 73 on their board overall.
The Browns are in good shape at tackle, especially if Sheldon Richardson returns, and Williams is a little bit of a tweener, but he’s another player who doesn’t necessarily have to play right away.
Round 4, Pick 110: Divine Deablo, S, Virginia Tech | 6-3, 226
Deablo checks in as the seventh-best safety on Brugler’s board and No. 99 overall on PFF’s big board. Zierlein says Deablo, “has exceptional size and length. He also has a developing skill set that could make him a match for Cover 3 defenses at the Robber spot or as a hybrid player who’s able to handle coverage duties and play near the line of scrimmage.”
His size seems to offer some intriguing versatility and with the investment at the safety position already, Deablo can develop and could even get some work as a linebacker early in his career. This would be a strong upside pick.
Round 5, Pick 13: Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota | 6-3, 202
Yes, another cornerback, because you can’t have enough corners. PFF calles St-Juste a pterodactyl with a wingspan over 80 inches. This is the type of big corner you like to have available to play on the outside.
Brugler says St-Juste “projects as a classic press-man corner with developmental traits” and Zierlein calls him an “intriguing cornerback with impressive measurables and a competitive spirit that shines through at the catch point and in run support.”
Round 5, Pick 169: Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford | 6-3, 222
Brugler gives Fehoko a 3rd/4th-round projection, so picking a physical freak like this in the fifth round would be a steal if the simulator I’m using plays out this way. Fehoko’s 4.43 40-yard dash for a player his size projects to someone who could be a problem once he develops. At this point in the draft it’s never a bad idea to play the traits game.
Fehoko turns 24 in November so, as Brugler points out, he’s an older prospect, which might be a stay away for this front office. He’s still developing, but Brugler also writes, “he has impressive short-area quickness for his size with the hand-eye coordination to reel in tough throws.”
PFF calls him a “physical specimen” and “you don’t see guys with his tools every day.”
Round 6, Pick 211: Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan | 6-4, 311
Will Moore actually be available in the sixth round? If so, he’s a player who projects as a guard, is known for his athleticism and movement than his power but who could excel in a zone blocking scheme. I’d like to see the Browns add an interior lineman for depth at some point and this is the type of upside pick that could pay off down the road. I’ll take my chances on a player developing under Bill Callahan.
Round 7, Pick 257: Trade the pick
Let’s send this pick packing for something next year and start working the phones on those undrafted free agents.
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