Cleveland added upon their secondary in the offseason, but if anything was shown last year – you need depth in the defensive backfield. Not paying for depth is the route to go much of the time and the NFL Draft presents that opportunity.
Cleveland has a need for a boundary corner early, that could be called upon to play meaningful time. As you get later into the draft there are some other prospects that stand out as potential targets for the Browns at the corner position. These players will provide quality depth, perhaps even potential starter ceilings.
Elijah Molden CB, Washington
If the Cleveland Browns want a player that could be a really good slot defender in the NFL, Molden could be that guy. The Washington product is 5-foot-10 and lacks quick speed, but he has potentially some of the best instincts in the draft.
Molden had a spectacular junior season with four interceptions, 12 passes defended and 79 tackles. A player that won’t shy away from the run game and is not afraid of contact with bigger players. Some think that Molden fits better as a safety in the NFL, which he very well could be depending on team needs.
For the Browns, Molden would offer depth as defensive back and could fill in at safety or the slot when needed. Molden needs to continue to work on becoming a stronger, more physical player so he holds up in the NFL. Tackling is one thing, but you have to be able to tackle and stay on the field. Molden’s ball instincts make up for his lack of speed. A casualty to be burned here and there is a potential as he doesn’t test well in straight line speed.
In terms of coverage Molden is a solid fit just for the fact that he makes plays on the ball and tackles well. Corners who tackle well always are held to a hire pedestal, Molden is one. If the Huskie’ corner is there in the third round, he could be an option to give the Browns another body at defensive back.
Tre Brown CB, Oklahoma
Brown is another player, like Molden, who could be just a slot guy in the NFL. Though Brown has played outside plenty and has had some success including three interceptions his senior season. Brown was good throughout the senior bowl week and only helped himself there.
The Oklahoma corner is listed at just a hair under 5-foot-10 and plays really fluid. As a defender he changes directions very well tracking his receiver. An aggressive back that needs to continue to add strength, or the aggression won’t get him far with bigger, faster players he will soon be lined up across from. A 4.5 40-yard dash guy that gets to his top speed rather quickly.
I like Brown as a nickel guy, but can fill in outside when asked upon, perhaps due to necessity. Overall the Big 12 doesn’t defend much of anything, but Brown stood out on tape as an outlier. A guy you would want to target in the fourth to fifth round, if he’s there.
Thomas Graham CB, Oregon
Graham started for three years at Oregon, but opted to out his final season like many across the country due to the pandemic. Graham was dependable to be on the field and produced, totaling eight interceptions over three seasons.
On tape it’s noticeable that Graham isn’t a speed guy, he can be beat deep. On medium routes he turns hips smoothly and works with good technique. Graham relies on technique over pure athleticism, which is fine. A willing tackler that isn’t afraid to play the run game. A little bigger than the two prior players at just over 5-foot-10.
Graham needs to read routes quicker and sometimes doesn’t move his feet quick enough and pays for it. If Graham can get past that mental lapse it would take his game up a notch. Overall, a solid option that seemed to actually be hurt by opting out in terms of his draft profile. A fourth of fifth round guy to add some security to your corner depth. It helps that he’s a player that doesn’t miss time, which should be attractive for the Browns.