Draft review: Cleveland Browns


Before the draft, we looked at the needs of the Cleveland Browns.  (Eventually, those needs included “a really good lawyer.”)  Now that the draft is over, it’s time to look at how they did.

What they needed:  Cornerback, quarterback, receiver, linebacker, safety, tight end, kicker.

Who they got:
Round 1:  Barkevious Mingo, LB, LSU.
Round 3:  Lee McFadden, CB, San Diego State.
Round 6:  Jamoris Slaughter, S, Notre Dame.
Round 7:  Armonty Bryant, DE, East Central (OK); Garrett Gilkey, OT, Chadron State.

Where they hit:  Mingo can be called a luxury pick, given that the Browns didn’t have a pressing need at outside linebacker.  But the ability to get to the quarterback no longer is a luxury in the NFL; it’s a necessity.  With free-agent acquisition Paul Kruger, the Browns suddenly have the ability to apply the Chudzinski Crunch to the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton.  McFadden gives them a potential starter across from Joe Haden, and Slaughter fills an obvious need at safety.

Where they missed:  With their second-round pick used last July on receiver Josh Gordon, the Browns traded their fourth-round pick for a third-round pick in 2014, and then their fifth-round pick for a fourth-round pick in 2014.  For a team that needs to get better now, deferring a pair of picks to next year won’t help that effort, regardless of who they eventually get.

Impact rookies:  Mingo could become an instant star, especially if opposing offenses opt not to game-plan around him until he proves his ability at the NFL level.  McFadden could get a lot of interceptions, if quarterbacks avoid Haden and test the rookie.  And if the rookie passes.

Long-term prospects:  The Browns already had a decent amount of talent, and the decision to not draft a quarterback means that Brandon Weeden will indeed get another year to show that he’s the long-term answer.  The lack of any new tight ends, given coach Rob Chudzinski’s affinity for those who play the position, is a good sign for the five guys already under contract.

34 responses to “Draft review: Cleveland Browns

  1. The Browns probably could have traded down 10-12 spots and still got Barkevious. But after getting absolutely worked by Rick Speilman last year I can understand why they would sit on their hands.

  2. I don’t know why they needed a QB. If it wasn’t for butter finger WR, they would of won more games. I’m a ravens fan, and I think Weeden out played Flacco both games. The 1 st game browns WR dropped TDs passes that hit them in hands. The 2nd game Browns were out coached. Give this kid a chance. AFC North is a tough division to play in.

  3. I just wanted to see them find a way to trade off Brandon Weeden for whatever they could get. And now there’s tons of new QBs prior to the start of the season who are going to be easily available.

  4. How can you knock the trades they made? They gained an additional pick in 3 and 4 next year. I’m a Browns fan but making the playoffs this year is still a stretch. I think they can make some noise but 8-8, 7-9 is more realistic (at best). So by trading, they gain options for trades up if Weeden isn’t the answer. Plus the off season additions were better than taking a shot on a 4th or 5th rounder (Bess was a great move IMO).

  5. The Browns are already one of the youngest teams in the NFL, with 30 more starts by rookies in 2012 than the next team (the Colts). Banner and Lombardi weren’t going to fix all of their holes by adding even more youth in the 4th and 5th rounds of the draft while simultaneously implementing new offensive and defensive schemes with a new coaching staff.

    Furthermore, the Browns were one of the more active teams in free agency, still have $30 million under the cap (more than any other team, which is a direct result of having so many players still under their rookie contracts) and are well positioned to add more free agents once teams begin cutting veterans due to rookie additions (which some teams will be forced to do in order to stay under the cap).

  6. “The Browns probably could have traded down 10-12 spots and still got Barkevious. ”

    No, they couldn’t have. There were three edge rusher prospects with elite potential, and those guys were always going to go at the top of the draft.

  7. if i could grade our draft it was a C- mingo is great but we missed out on HONEY BADGER i was there live and how could we pass on him 😦

  8. My problem isn’t with trading those picks, but rather with the guys they drafted. Mingo didn’t produce commensurate with his numbers at LSU. He has a high bust potential as do many unproven pass rushers taken in the top ten.

    Weeden showed potential last year. He made some very nice throws in terms of both accuracy and arm strength and showed potential with Gordon who was well worth that second round pick. That said, he needs to works on seeing the field because if he can’t stop throwing it to the other team he isn’t going to be the future in Cleveland.

  9. As a Browns fan i can say this was a Horrible draft…we did not need a LB in the first round.We clearly needed a CB,Safety,WR,QB ,RG/RT…i like the CB pick but outside of that horrible draft,atleast if your going for needs.He maybe athletic and fast but was he a need with a team filled with needs and he obviously needs to bulk up a lil bit….i can go on and on but looks like we will be picking in the top 5 again next yr!

  10. Mingo would have never gotten past the Cardinals….the Cards never draft for need in the 1st Rd. Mingo would have been rated higher on their board.

  11. Browns were the second youngest roster in the NFL in 2011 and got even younger last year. Now they go thru an ownership, front office, coaching and systems change. Wouldn’t make senses for them to keep loading up on young, untested and unproven talent. They’ll ride with the core nucleus they drafted over the past 2-3 years and supplement with FA’s.

  12. This is the way I look at the Cleveland Browns draft. Mingo is going to be very productive in Horton’s defense. He’s very quick on his feet and gets to the QB, and ball carrier! Their 2nd round pick is basically, Josh Gordon. He’s proven to be a good downfield wideout, and had a very productive rookie season. Cleveland then took McFadden, a decent cb, that is very good at getting to the ball and loose in the hips. His one disadvantage is that he is on the smaller side. This is where it gets interesting, and frankly I think the Browns were smart for doing this. They traded picks with Miami, to acquire a good slot WR in Devone Bess. Then they traded away their picks for additional picks next year…a third and fourth round! Overall, I think the Browns did a good job at plugging holes, while setting themselves up for picks next year. Mind you, this was a fairly week draft class after mid second round.

  13. ..


    I can’t say I fully agree with you about being a few players away. Most likely you are thinking Super Bowl.

    However, for a franchise that’s been in a tailspin and finally has Pittsburgh and Baltimore in joint retooling years I think contending for a division championship or playoff berth is a real possibility.

    Although injuries render most opinions moot anyways.


  14. Lombardi did a great job. They had 100 rookie starts last year, team will be better justt by staying put. Norv Turner will have the offense scoring more points and getting Dev n Bess for the slot was huge. Should be a lot of optimism in the Dawg Pound.

  15. The verdict isn’t in on Weeden. Last year he played in a system that didn’t use (or even allow) his strengths. I really think we’ll see a huge improvement this year playing under a professional coaching staff. Gone are all the “hangers-on” we had last year, starting with the big one, Holmgren, down to the totally confused Shurmer.

  16. I’m with the rest of the folks thinking the Browns did very well in this draft but it’ll take a season to find out. The Horton defense is all about pressure on the QB and we did pretty well with that last year but this year…it’s going to be brutal to be a QB playing the Browns. The secondary picks aren’t big names the pundits or uneducated fans wanted but with the Horton QB style pressure the existing and rookie secondary will likely see pick numbers rising in a major way.

    That last 7th round pick, Gilkey, looks to be a perfect replacement for shaky Shawn at RG.

    Not only is next years draft better, we added an extra million to our existing league high cap space.

  17. for a team that has lost 11plus 5 years in a row, sure didn’t make many picks..
    but then again when u have an elite qb like Weeden who posted the 2nd worst qbr in the league, why worry..
    this team is a joke…LSU pass rushers are a sure thing…just ask KC about Dorsey and Jackson..3 stiffs…
    Believeland, better believe another last place finish coming in 2013, 2014, 2015…..and so on and so on

  18. its going rather unnoticed – they actually moved up rounds with these trades…seems odd that they could pull that off – i see good value like a good stock broker – buy low sell high

  19. Weeden has all the tools to be successful and seems to be a good fit for Norv Turner’s offense.

    Meanwhile, Dolphins fans are worried that trading their dependable slot receiver (Davone Bess) will work out the same way it did last time (Wes Welker). All Bess has done since he got to Miami is produce and he will be a good addition for the Browns.

  20. overall I like the browns draft. I give a slightly lower trade only because of trading with Pittsburgh. I want to see the team in action before making judgements. weeden is not a west coast qb which is what we ran last year. his strength is the deep pass and that’s what this offense is sett to do. on def I think mingo could well surprise. with the different looks Horton likes to employ he could go in noticed at times especially if Kruger and others are getting to the qb

  21. Let’s not forget they also used draft picks to snag Davone Bess. He may not have actually been a pick, but he’s young and he definitely helps fill out the WR corps.

  22. Banner’s weakness in Philly was a lack of urgency. For years and with McNabb in his prime he refused to draft or sign a quality WR . He probably figured he can use extra picks next year to draft a QB in what could be a strong QB class. Sometimes tomorrow doesn’t come.

  23. Love the picks, biggest need was at CB and Safety and Mingo was a great addition too. Weeden fits perfect in Chud’s system unlike in the Holmgren/Shurmur dink and dunk system. Getting David Nelson and Davone Bess will help in the receiving game. Things are looking good!

  24. Yup…Dolphin fans are not liking the move at all.
    I love the prospects of Little, Gordon and Bess, not to mention Cameron at TE on the field for Weeden in the ChudTurner offense. Can not wait!

  25. The surprise of the Browns draft could be Armonty Bryant. Several of the scouting services had him a top 100 player. IF he grows up emotionally, then he could very well help them The Browns have done a great job in upgrading their front 7. Unlike the past 2 years—-this years Brown’s defense will not be a “Bend-don’t break” defense. I’m looking forward to seeing some aggressive play for once from the Browns.

  26. A few things…

    First, the coaching staff alone improves the Browns on both sides of the ball. Shurmur was a complete joke and while I did like Jauron, Ray Horton has a defensive mind that will thrive in the AFC North.

    Second, the Browns did add a tight end last month in Kellen Davis. While his tenure in Chicago was obviously pretty crappy, the aforementioned coaching improvements may result in some solid play. He has nowhere to go but up with Norv and Chud working him into the offense.

    Third, the most glaring need on offense aside from QB was receiver, which had been addressed in David Nelson and Davone Bess. Both are great additions for the Browns and Josh Gordon still has room to grow. It’ll also be interesting to see how well Weeden can produce in this new offense, which is better suited for his abilities.

    Finally, the Browns stacked their front seven, taking a considerable amount of pressure off the secondary for at least one year. A rotation of Athyba Rubin, Desmond Bryant, Phil Taylor, John Hughes, D’Qwell Jackson, Jabaal Sheard, Quentin Groves, Paul Kruger, and now Barkevious Mingo, et al, is not a bad front.

    The Browns still have holes to fill, but despite the fact that I hate Mike Lombardi, I have to admit the new regime has already made some significant strides. Not to mention that they’ve inherited some better talent than the other yayhoos that have come through Cleveland over the last 10+ years.

  27. As a fan & coverage writer of the Browns, I’m quite alright with keeping Weeden. Why Holmgren & Shurmur saw him as a WCO fit is beyond me, but I can tell you he’s quite a nice fit for Chud/Norv’s Vertical Passing game!

    I will say though, I’m disappointed & quite confused by them staying away from Tyler Bray specifically. With maturing, Bray could be a good replacement for Weeden without having to spend a high draft pick. Then again, only the McFadden pick made sense to me anyways, the rest of it was rubbish in my opinion!

  28. On a related note why is no one talking about bringing in Charles Woodson at S? For at the very least a vet for locker room presence who could help a young struggling secondary? Not to mention he’s a Ohio boy who may give a hometown discount.

  29. …that should’ve said: “got a CB…” above. Posting from my phone I’d a PITA on this site…

  30. Why do they need to “get better now”. They clearly aren’t going to be contending for a playoff spot this year, why is it bad if a team trades so they can have multiple picks in next years draft? They now have two fourth round picks and two third round picks in a draft that some see as better than this past years, and defintley has a better QB class than this year if Weeden doesn’t pan out. Once again I don’t see why the Browns have to win now. This franchise is still in rebuilding mode and shouldn’t expect to win this season.

  31. What is wrong with everyone. We have the youngest team in the league, an outstanding OC, an outstanding DC, we are well under the cap and we are primed to pick up some veteran help when teams need to trim their rosters after they sign their draft picks to get under the cap.
    I was not a fan of Lombardi coming in but let’s cut these guys some slack. They’ve added Kruger, Groves and Mingo to LB corps, Bryant to DL, Barnes, McFadden, Slaughter and Bryant to DB’s, Devon Bess and Nelson to Wr’s and Jason Campbell at QB. The question is, are we a better team than last year and the answer is HELL YES! And we have extra picks in the 3rd and 4th rounds next year. I’m pumped.

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