This is my first time attempting a mock draft this way and I hope you all enjoy it.
I’m going to do a seven round mock draft on what I would do if I was running the Cleveland Browns during the 2018 NFL Draft.
I’ll be using the mock draft simulator on FanSpeak.com and I’ll be using the big board created by Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.
I’ll list every draft pick I make and a brief explanation of why I made that pick and how it’ll fit the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and beyond.
So let’s get started.
Pick 1: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Everyone knows the Browns have needed a franchise quarterback for a long time. Since the days of Bernie Kosar and the couple years of Vinny Testaverde, Cleveland hasn’t had that signal caller to get them out of the dreads of the league which includes four first round picks (Couch, Quinn, Weeden, Manziel) and 28 total starting quarterbacks since 1999.
Darnold is only 20 years old but has already displayed the characteristics you look for in a franchise type quarterback during his two years at USC.
At 6’3, 221 lbs, he’s the perfect size for an NFL quarterback. He has great accuracy and keeps his eyes down field and also has enough athleticism to extend plays with his feet. There’s concerns about his high number of turnovers and a slow release but he’s been working with quarterback coach Jordan Palmer to correct those weaknesses.
Darnold can sit behind Tyrod Taylor and learn under Drew Stanton during his rookie season until he’s ready to step on the field. He has a tremendous upside and with proper coaching can be a top NFL quarterback down the road.
Pick 4: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
I did consider Penn State running back Saquon Barkley who was available with this pick but with the running back class being so deep, I can afford passing him up for another elite prospect in Bradley Chubb.
Chubb looks the part of an NFL pass rusher at 6’4 and 269 pounds and matches that up with some great athleticism including a 4.65 forty time, 36 inch vertical, 10 feet, 1 inch broad jump and a 7.37 3 cone drill at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Chubb was dominant during his time at NC State including his senior season where he had 26 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks. During his four years, Chubb recorded 54.5 tackles for a loss and 25 sacks.
Joining 2017 first overall pick Myles Garrett and 2016 second round Emmanuel Ogbah among others, Chubb would be another piece to the defensive front which shows a lot of potential as a pass rushing unit and in a few years could be compared to the Broncos and Eagles defensive fronts of past that have won Super Bowls for their respective franchises.
Pick 33: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
When I do these mock drafts, I generally like to take one of the best player available and if it fills a need, it’s an added bonus in my book.
Hughes is very raw as a cornerback with two years of playing time in college and only one as a starter but when you watch him the talent is there.
A physical corner which defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will love and Hughes, while he didn’t run a fast 40 can chase receivers down on deep passes and can adjust his body and also had great timing to go get the football.
With a position that added a lot of pieces this offseason already, Hughes could likely be eased in as the season progresses and because he was a good return man in college, he can start on special teams right away.
Pick 35: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
I’m not expecting him to be around at this pick but with how the board fell through the first 34 selections, this would be a home run selection for the Browns. Hurst has slipped because of an irregular heartbeat while tested at the combine.
Hurst is a disrupter inside of the defensive line and has a great motor for a guy who is close to 300 pounds. He has shown the ability to get after the quarterback with 7.5 sacks during his last two seasons at Michigan.
NFL scouts see him as a 3-tech defensive tackle at the next level and if Cleveland could grab him in the early second round, the AFC North better be ready to block a defensive line of Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, Hurst and Bradley Chubb.
Pick 64: Ronald Jones, RB, USC
I think the Browns will address the running back position at some point in the draft but when Jones slipped to pick 64, I clicked the button quickly to draft him.
Jones put himself alongside the other legendary USC running backs with a successful three year career with over 3,300 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.
He’s a smaller back and didn’t run very fast but he’s got the explosiveness to make people miss on the field however he’s had some injury concerns.
He won’t be a guy who can get the ball 20 times a game and right now that’s okay with Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson also in the fold. Jones can be eased into a role and make impact plays any time they put him on the field.
Pick 114: DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
Hamilton was one of the key players who helped bring Penn State back to national prominence during his four years at State College. Earning Big Ten honors in three of his four years, Hamilton was a go to target in the receiving game with 214 catches for 2,842 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Hamilton projects as a slot at the next level with good size at 6’1 but lacks shiftiness and a good catching radius according to scouts. With the Browns lackluster at receiver behind Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman, Hamilton will come in and compete for a spot on roster but is a great all-around person to have on your football team.
Pick 150: Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
Cappa is a small school guy who turned heads with his performance at the Senior Bowl but scouts are still curious about him due to not playing a strong level of competition in college.
He’s got great size to be an NFL offensive tackle and a good athlete as well. Some say he could be better suited to slide inside as a guard. Cleveland could develop him behind Shon Coleman and Chris Hubbard but they have second year player Rod Johnson as well for that spot.
This was a situation where he was the best player on the board at the time. Cappa and Johnson could compete in camp for that depth spot on the offensive line.
Pick 175: Justin Jones, DL, NC State
Jones was teammates with Bradley Chubb at NC State along a talented defensive front where all four starters are projected to get drafted.
He’s a strong player inside and could be best suited as a rotational lineman at the next level. Browns could look to draft him and bring him to compete with Caleb Brantley, Trevon Coley and Jamie Meder.
Pick 188: Genard Avery, LB, Memphis
Avery is a powerful linebacker who was a state champion powerlifter in Mississippi. He can play inside or outside linebacker and had a monster 2017 season with 80 tackles (22 for a loss), 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Also had a strong combine workout including a 4.59 forty yard dash.
He’s got great size and versatility which Gregg Williams loves and the Browns have a need for depth at linebacker. Avery would be an interesting to guy to watch during training camp and preseason and could crack an NFL roster.