Cleveland Browns Pre Free Agency Seven Round Mock Draftby Mason Thompson March 3, 2021 0 comments
The Cleveland Browns are still riding high after making the playoffs for seemingly the first time in forever. Cleveland has a bright future with Andrew Barry and Kevin Stefanski. Under Barry, the Browns had one of the best drafts of the year last year by adding multiple starters and rotational pieces. Cleveland looks to add to their explosive offense while rebuilding their defense. The Browns have four picks in the top 100, including two picks in the third round, and look to continue their success in the draft with another strong outing this year.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Team Mock Drafts.
Round 1, Pick 26: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Cleveland is one of the teams that have completely ignored their linebacker position. Collins would slot in as a SAM or MIKE linebacker and immediately start. Malcolm Smith, Elijah Lee, and B.J. Goodson are all impending free agents, and selecting Collins in the first round would give the Browns a young trio at the second-level of him, Jacob Phillips and Mack Wilson. Collins is a potential top 20 prospect in the class, so getting him at 26 is a steal for Cleveland.
For more on Collins, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 2, Pick 59: Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE, Wake Forest
The Browns need to give Myles Garrett another fierce pass-rusher on the opposite side. Enter Basham, who had almost 20 sacks over the last three seasons, and Cleveland has a partner for Garrett. Olivier Vernon is an impending free agent, and the Browns haven’t gotten much out of him since they traded for him a few years ago. Look for Cleveland to potentially use their first selection on an edge rusher.
Round 3, Pick 89: Alim McNeil, DL, NC State
Cleveland is going to drastically re-tool their defensive line over the next few years. Larry Ogunjobi and Vincent Taylor are impending free agents, and Sheldon Richardson and Andrew Billings are free agents after next year. McNeil would fit in nicely as the new star in the middle of the defensive line as a premier run-stuffer that can also rush the passer. He would immediately provide a depth-piece on the defensive line during his rookie season and continue to develop as a pass-rusher and be a potential starter in 2022.
Round 3, Pick 91: Keith Taylor Jr, CB, Washington
Cleveland has re-tooled their secondary over the last several seasons by adding Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, and Grant Delpit in the draft. Cleveland also traded for Ronnie Harrison and signed Andrew Sendejo, Karl Joseph, Kevin Johnson, Terrance Mitchell, and M.J. Stewart. Well, let’s continue to add some youth to the back-end of the defense. Johnson and Mitchell are free agents, and adding Taylor would be a solid replacement for Johnson. He wouldn’t be tasked with playing too early with Ward and Williams slotted in as the starters but would add some much-needed depth.
For more on Taylor, you can read our scouting report on him here.
Round 4, Pick 110: Ar’Darius Washington, SAF, TCU
Washington is a versatile chess piece on the backend of the defense that could play either safety spot or nickel cornerback. Mitchell is an impending free agent and was Cleveland’s nickel cornerback, and Washington is younger and better than him. If Cleveland wants him to play as a safety, they can move some pieces around with both Joseph and Sendejo as impending free agents. Teams have started to realize that you can never have too much help in the secondary, as evidenced by the Buccaneers this last year.
For more on Washington, you can read our scouting report on him here.
Round 4, Pick 132: Rashad Weaver, EDGE, Pittsburgh
Along with Vernon being an impending free agent, Adrian Clayborn is a free agent after next season. The Browns have almost no depth behind Garrett, and they could use multiple picks on pass-rushers. Weaver is a versatile piece but is almost the complete opposite to what Basham is. While Basham has a lot of burst and flexibility, Weaver has a ton of length and a vast football IQ. He is a steal here.
Round 5, Pick 170: Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina
After using the first six selections on the defensive side of the ball, Cleveland turns to the offensive side. Rashard Higgins is an impending free agent, and Odell Beckham may be on his way out sooner than later. Newsome is a great fit in Cleveland to pair with Jarvis Landry, Beckham, and Donovon Peoples-Jones for the 2021 season. If Beckham or Landry leave, it would be a seamless transition for Newsome to be a starter. He could immediately contribute to special teams as well.
For more on Newsome, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 6, Pick 212: Grant Stuard, LB, Houston
Let’s double up on linebacker as well. Stuard was a star at the Senior Bowl on special teams as he almost blocked a couple of punts when you’re not even supposed to during the game. Along with the three mentioned above, as well as Sione Takitaki and Tae Davis, the Browns linebacker room would go from a weakness to a strength.
Round 7, Pick 251: Bryan Mills, CB, North Carolina Central
With the final pick, Cleveland selects another cornerback. Mills is one of the better FCS cornerbacks in the class. He is a former JUCO prospect that has good ball skills and ball production. Mills can immediately produce as a special team’s force and once again turn a weakness into a strength for the Browns as they continue to improve their secondary.