New Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey can not only put his stamp on the team, but ensure he never buys a drink in Northern Ohio again if he nails this draft. The Brown have all the ammunition they need to solve their biggest positional need at quarterback, load the team with talent or trade up or down as they see fit.
Here’s my version of Cleveland’s perfect 2018 NFL draft.
Round 1, Pick 1: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2017: 63.1 completion percentage, 4,143 yards, 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, five rushing touchdowns (6-4, 220 pounds)
I’ve seen Josh Allen in this spot on plenty of drafts, but I don’t buy it. Darnold is my No. 2 ranked QB in this class and should supplant Tyrod Taylor by Week 10 at the latest.
Round 1, Pick 4: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
2017: 72 tackles, 23 for a loss, 10 sacks, two passes defended, one forced fumble (6-4, 275 pounds)
The Browns are most definitely open for business with this pick if some team is looking to jump the Denver Broncos for a QB. I can’t see them trading out of the Top 10 unless a team like the Bills wants to give up both first rounders this year and a first rounder next year. If they stand pat, they’ll land Chubb or Saquon Barkley, one of the two best position players in this class. This will be an expensive pick to trade.
Round 2, Pick 33: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
2017: 237 carries, 1,251 yards, 11 touchdowns, 5.3 yards per carry, 18 catches, 124 yards receiving, two receiving touchdowns
If the Browns do stand pat at four and Barkley doens’t fall to them, they should snap up Guice here. He’s a first round talent that drops to the second because the run on quarterbacks and defensive tackles.
Round 2, Pick 35: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
6-5, 325 pounds
With Joe Thomas retiring, the Browns must get a starting tackle out of this draft. There aren’t a lot of guys ranked as first rounders. Crosby projects as an early starter.
Round 2, Pick 64: Justin Reid, Safety, Stanford
2017: 94 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, 1 sack, five interceptions, six passes defended, one fumble recovery (6-1, 204 pounds)
Cleveland drafted Jabril Peppers and traded for Damarious Randall this offseason, but Reid should be better than both. The Browns can still pick up Randall’s fifth year option after a test drive this season and move Peppers to linebacker.
Round 4, Pick 114: Rashaan Gaulden, CB, Tennessee
2017: 63 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, one interception, five passes defended, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries (6-1, 193)
Gaulden was one of the few bright spots, talent wise, in an abysmal year at Tennessee. As long as he can keep his middle fingers under control, he should turn into a solid pro. With the scrubs the Browns plan on fielding this season at corner, he could end up a starter.
Round 5, Pick 150: Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Mississippi
2017: 76 catches, 1,106 yards, 12 touchdowns (6-2, 210 pounds)
The Browns got a gift with the triumphant and non THC-laced return of Josh Gordon to playing shape last season. That doesn’t keep them from needing a receiver. Robertson has a big body, good hands and decent speed.
Round 6, Pick 175: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
2017: 30 tackles, 10 passes defended (6-2, 198 pounds)
McFadden will probably move to safety as a pro, but he’ll add defensive back depth and be a solid addition to special teams.
Round 6, Pick 188: Skyler Phillips, OG, Idaho State
6-3, 324 pounds
Phillips played both guard and tackle for Idaho State, including left tackle. He could turn into a solid right side guy in the NFL, but at worst can back up all five spots.
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