I still don’t believe 100% in the approach that Browns executive V.P. of Football Operations Sashi Brown and his “Harvard Hierarchy” are using, but I have to give the front office credit for what they came away with in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Going in they needed to acquire quality, impact, plug-and-play guys in the first round, a quarterback, add some depth on both sides of the ball and maybe an extra draft pick or two for next year.
They achieved almost of that with the 10 picks they used on players in this draft, and added the Houston Texans first round pick in 2018. Next year the Browns will have 12 total picks in the draft including (2) first round picks and (3) second round picks.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start wondering how many of those picks it will take to make sure they draft USC quarterback Sam Darnold or maybe UCLA QB, Josh Rosen. Let’s focus on what they did this year.
Round 1 – Pick 1 – Myles Garrett – DE – Texas A & M
They didn’t out-think themselves with the first overall pick and simply took the best player available in the draft in Garrett. He is a plug and play guy and needs to be an immediate difference maker in sacking the quarterback and creating havoc in the backfield, while making opposing offensive coordinators lose some sleep having to game plan for him. Better be in the running for defensive rookie of the year.
Round 1 – Pick 25 – Jabrill Peppers – SS/PR/KR – Michigan
Not a huge fan of this pick this high because while Peppers is an outstanding athlete, he’s a man without a true position at the NFL level other than returning kicks and covering kicks and he had a diluted urine sample at the NFL combine. The hope is that new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams can turn him into a starting strong safety. Only time will tell if this was a genius move, or a poor first round selection. I would have taken Malik Hooker here, a more proven true safety who is a plug and play kid.
Round 1 – Pick 29 – David Njoku – TE – Miami
I like this pick a lot because this kid is just scratching the surface of what he can be at the tight end position and he’s already pretty good. He’s got size, speed, athleticism, big hands and he’s only 20 years old. He’s a little raw and it may take a couple of years for him to learn to block at the NFL level, but I believe the future is very bright for “Joku” and by releasing TE- Gary Barnidge, he’s a plug and play guy.
Round 2 – Pick 52 – DeShone Kizer – QB – Notre Dame
The Browns had to come out of this draft with at least one quarterback and they got theirs by being patient and getting good value for their pick with Kizer. While inconsistent and immature at times with the Irish, Kizer possesses the height, weight, strong arm and hunger to possibly be a starting QB in the NFL maybe as early as the 2017 season if he takes to Hue Jackson’s teaching ways and gets comfortable maybe by mid-season in Jackson’s offense.
Round 3 – Pick 65 – Larry Ogunjobi – DT – N.C. Charlotte
I’ll be honest; I don’t know much about “Jobi” other than seeing him work out at 1am on YouTube. That he lost over 100 pounds after he wasn’t allowed to play video games by his parents and a number of respected football people liked him including the guy I respect the most when it comes to grading players, Dan Shonka from Ourlads.com. He sure does look the part of an interior defensive lineman and getting to line up with Danny Shelton and Myles Garrett will only help him. He looks like Tarzan, let’s hope he doesn’t play like Jane!
Round 4 – Pick 126 – Howard Wilson – CB – Houston
Good ball skills with average hands, average tackler with a slender build that he’ll need to bulk up, but has the potential to be a starting corner in the league in a few years. Had 5 picks for Tom Herman’s defense last year and was 1st team All ACC defense.
Round 5 – Pick 160 – Roderick Johnson – OT – Florida State
Started at left tackle the last 3 years for the Gators but was inconsistent with his play and technique and needs to get stronger and put on a few pounds. But with his long arms, good lateral movement and hustle has a chance to maybe be the replacement for Joe Thomas down the road if he can listen and learn from the Browns best player since they returned to the NFL in 1999. Let’s hope he’s better than his then Seminole teammate and now once again his teammate, Cam Erving.
Round 6 – Pick 185 – Caleb Brantley – DT – Florida
A good defensive lineman, but this pick all comes down to whether or not he is cleared of his misdemeanor battery charges for hitting a woman outside of a bar recently. A risky pick by Sashi Brown!
Round 7 – Pick 224 – Zane Gonzalez – K – Arizona State
If you’re going to draft a kicker, you might as well draft the best one in college football and that’s who “Gonzo” is. Per Ourlads.com, Gonzalez connected on 83% of his field goals in his career, had a touchback percentage of 75% and only missed 3 extra points in 207 attempts. His career long field goal was 59 yards and he connected on 7 field goals of over 50 yards in his 4 years. FBS all-time career leader with 96 field goals made.
Round 7 – Pick 252 – Matt Dayes – RB – North Carolina State
Had a foot injury in 2015, but bounced back and had his best season as a senior with over 1,100 yards on the ground and 10 scores. Also has huge hands, measuring at 10 ½ inches at the combine. Those big mitts of his allowed him to catch 98 passes out of the backfield for the Wolfpack in his career; a skill that I’m sure caught the attention of the Browns. A back-up, depth type of running back.
Overall Draft Grade: (B+)
Peppers and Brantley picks kept it from being an (A).