CLEVELAND, Ohio — The NFL Draft is approaching Thursday night with the first round in Cleveland.
To gear up for the big event, cleveland.com has you covered with stories and breakdowns on everything related to the Browns, Ohio State and the rest of the draft that is coming to the shores of Lake Erie for three days.
Get to know four people who will be front and center this week, helping define the draft in Cleveland.
⦁ In Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Urban Meyer will draft the quarterback he’s been waiting for his entire career, writes Doug Lesmerises.
⦁ Zach Wilson of Brigham Young emerged as a top QB prospect in this year’s draft. Ellis Williams details how Baker Mayfield paved the way for him to become a top-three pick.
⦁ All eyes are on San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan at No. 3, writes Mary Kay Cabot. Will it be Mac Jones, Trey Lance or Justin Fields?
⦁ How Justin Fields created at Ohio State legacy and why it will follow him into the NFL, as written by Nathan Baird.
Pre-draft analysis on the Browns
⦁ The draft is here, and there’s no need to search for a quarterback, writes Terry Pluto. Can you believe it?
⦁ Why the Browns should draft a quarterback within the top 100 selections of the draft, writes Williams.
⦁ General manager Andrew Berry is open to trades or staying at No. 26. He’s not seeking “instant gratification” in the draft, writes Cabot.
⦁ The Browns’ established roster will allow Berry to use this draft to set up the team beyond 2021, writes Dan Labbe.
⦁ Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins is a favorite among Football Insider subscribers, and he is one of three players Labbe believes the Browns should consider, if available, at No. 26 in the draft. Two more to keep an eye on: Northwestern cornerback Gregory Newsome II and Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman.
⦁ Readers ranked the Browns’ positions of need for the draft. Before the Jadeveon Clowney signing, they had edge rusher atop the list. Cornerback and defensive tackle followed with linebacker fourth, writes Scott Patsko, who broke down each position.
⦁ With free agency about done, Pluto looks at how the Browns should consider drafting.
⦁ Would GM Andrew Berry consider drafting a wide receiver in the first round? Cabot considers it in her Q&A.
⦁ Should the Browns trade up, down or not at all? Our crew dives into that topic in the Orange and Brown Talk podcast.
How the Browns can win the draft
⦁ Land a cornerback, edge rusher and lots of depth, writes Labbe.
⦁ Trade back in the first round, writes Williams.
⦁ Forget about immediate impact, writes Patsko.
⦁ Eleven players to consider at pick No. 26, but don’t forget Baker Mayfield’s backup, writes Lesmerises.
⦁ Williams took a look each positions of emphasis and broke each one down with the hypothetical of the Browns taking a player at that position in the early rounds. If they take a wide receiver, one comes to mind: Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman. Landing him could cost a first-round pick.
⦁ If the Browns select a linebacker early in the draft it should be Zaven Collins, writes Williams, who broke down his positives and negatives.
⦁ If the Browns select an edge rusher, Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari topped the list of potential players to consider for Williams. As for Clowney, Williams wrote the Browns can let the board fall to them regardless of the signing.
What history is saying
⦁ Baker Mayfield is the only NFL quarterback drafted in the top five from 2009-18 still with his original team. It’s been a particularly bad year for quarterbacks drafted in the top five in that span, writes Cabot, with four getting the boot this offseason from their original team: Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Mitch Trubisky and Sam Darnold, all selected from 2016-18.
⦁ Pluto is looking back on what happened to former Browns on their draft day. He started with 2000 and fourth-round pick Aaron Shea.
⦁ Greg Pruitt wasn’t drafted by his former college coach at Oklahoma, Chuck Fairbanks, who made the picks for New England in the 1973 draft. The Browns passed on Pruitt twice in the first round, but Pluto details the running back’s experience coming to Cleveland.
⦁ Thanks to Vince Lombardi and his relationship with Paul Brown, Ernie Green became a member of the Browns. Pluto looks back on that 1962 draft, where Cleveland took Ernie Davis with the top pick.
⦁ Brian Brennan sat in his dorm room at Boston College on the day of the 1984 draft, as Pluto details the former wide receiver’s experience.
⦁ Phil Dawson was so sure he would be drafted in 1998 that he rented out his favorite place to eat and invited friends and family. Seven rounds later, he was not drafted. Pluto looks back on Dawson’s draft experience, which led him to the Browns a year later.
⦁ If the Browns don’t trade out of the 26th pick, they will make their lowest initial selection of the first round since 1995, when they took Ohio State linebacker Craig Powell 30th. There is history with Cleveland and the 26th pick. The Browns have held it seven times, and Scott Patsko breaks down the unfortunate, infamous and forgotten.
⦁ What could the No. 26 pick net the Browns? Here’s what history says of the last 10 years of the draft.
⦁ What about No. 59? That’s where the Browns’ second-round pick is slated to be. Here’s what history says the last decade of drafts can provide.
⦁ The Browns have two safeties on their roster who went in the third round near where they pick. A look at the last decade’s best third-round picks at No. 89 or later.
Mock drafts and predictions
⦁ What does the Jadeveon Clowney signing mean for the Browns’ draft plans? Tim Bielik takes a look in his mock draft 7.0.
⦁ See Bielik’s composite big board of the top 100 prospects and check out the top 300 ranked players.
⦁ It’s the final week for mock drafts because the real draft begins on Thursday, writes Patsko in taking one more look at them. Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins and Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore are among the popular picks for the Browns.
⦁ Trades you might and might not see by the draft.
⦁ Where will Justin Fields be picked? Lesmerises breaks down the national predictions, plus our own from cleveland.com.
⦁ NFL Draft 2021 rumors and reports, including Jimmy Garoppolo being potentially traded by San Francisco and Fields being one of this weekend’s wild cards.
What to know for Ohio State
⦁ Fields will break Ohio State’s NFL quarterback curse, writes Baird, and one statistic all but guarantees it.
⦁ Is Fields the latest black quarterback to face the draft’s double standard? Baird reviews it.
⦁ Mayfield on Fields: “I can’t wait to see what you do.”
⦁ Ohio State coach Ryan Day addressed criticisms of Fields. “His work ethic was off the charts,” Day said of the Heisman Trophy finalist.
⦁ Ohio State center Josh Myers will lift his family legacy to the highest level in the draft, writes Baird.
⦁ Tommy Togiai completed 40 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Baird writes what that means for his NFL success.
⦁ Can Jonathan Cooper raise his NFL ceiling by switching from defensive end to linebacker? He came to Ohio State as a four-star defensive end in 2016, writes Stephen Means.
⦁ Will Trey Sermon pick up where he left off for Ohio State? The running back closed the 2020 season with a dominant stretch before an abrupt injury, writes Baird.
⦁ Paris Johnson Jr. is sacrificing his NFL trajectory in a “seamless” transition to guard, writes Baird. Johnson has put together an impressive spring, moving from tackle to guard, but what does it mean for his long-term NFL potential?
⦁ The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is responsible for bringing this year’s draft to Northeast Ohio. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, the draft reportedly had an economic impact of $224 million on Nashville. While this year’s event will not be the same, GCSC president and CEO David Gilbert hopes it will help jumpstart downtown, economically, after the pandemic.
⦁ The draft will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and NFL Network with live coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 29. The second and third rounds follow on April 30 and the fourth through seventh rounds are May 1. The picks will be announced from the main stage with Lake Erie as the backdrop. Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to announce the first-round picks, while other NFL personnel and former greats are among those who announce picks in later rounds.
⦁ The Browns have nine picks in this year’s draft, including two each in rounds three and four.
⦁ Presumptive No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence will watch from Clemson instead of attending in Cleveland, writes Cabot.
⦁ Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance accepted invitations to attend the draft in Cleveland, writes Cabot.
⦁ Shaw High School senior Mya Tomoto and Lake Catholic football coach will help announce the Browns’ picks on the second day of the draft, writes Cameron Fields.
⦁ Potential Browns target Caleb Farley, the Virginia Tech cornerback, will not be at the draft. Agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN and NFL Network that Farley tested positive for COVID-19, writes Cabot.
⦁ St. Ignatius’ Liam Eichenberg pushed his draft stock with head-to-head matchups at Notre Dame, writes Matt Goul.
⦁ Eichenberg and Clemson’s Jackson Carman lead Ohio’s prospects in the draft with a few more from the Cleveland area, writes Goul.
What’s going on around town?
⦁ The draft was once the Super Bowl for Browns fans. Now? It’s time to show off, writes Pluto.
⦁ Former St. Ignatius, Ohio State and Browns lineman LeCharles Bentley returned to Cleveland on Tuesday. He addressed youth football and what it can do to push the sport, writes Goul.
⦁ The NFL created a OnePass app for fans to reserve tickets and attend the draft for free. Capacity will be limited, writes Bielik, while the Draft Experience will feature a 40-yard dash and vertical jump against NFL players on LED screens. FirstEnergy Stadium also will be open for fans to kick a field goal.
⦁ The Pro Football Hall of Fame is extending its hours during the final two days of the NFL Draft and kicking off an exhibit, writes Marc Bona. Doors will remain open three extra hours, until 8 p.m. Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1.
⦁ The Greater Cleveland Food Bank teamed up with the NFL and Browns for a food drive before the draft. Check out John Kuntz’s photo gallery.
⦁ How does Destination Cleveland plan to promote the draft and city? Susan Glaser provides a breakdown.
⦁ The Black Pumas and Machine Gun Kelly are scheduled to perform at the draft, writes Marc Bona.
⦁ Rich Eisen and Charles Davis will anchor the NFL Network’s live draft coverage from Cleveland. Mike Greenberg will lead ESPN’s primetime coverage, while “College Gameday” host Rece Davis and Maria Taylor will conduct a college-focused broadcast on ABC.
The first round of the draft begins 8 p.m. April 29. The second and third rounds start at 7 p.m. April 30, and the final four rounds will begin at noon May 1.
⦁ Kings of Leon, a Nashville-based rock group, will perform on April 29 at the Draft Theater stage. The NFL will stream the full concert on NFL.com, in the NFL app and on the league’s Facebook page.
⦁ Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam are proud to showcase Cleveland and hope the draft spurs a better connection to the lakefront, writes Labbe.
⦁ The draft could jumpstart pandemic-stifled Cleveland hotels, restaurants and bars. Mayor Frank Jackson discussed the financial boost, writes Robert Higgs.
⦁ How and where to buy hats the players will wear, shirts and more from the 2021 NFL Draft.
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