Posted April 18, 2014

Cleveland Browns Mock Draft Tracker

Cleveland Browns, NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
Cleveland Browns 2014 NFL Mock Draft Tracker: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

What will the Cleveland Browns do in the 2014 NFL draft? Keep track of all the predictions made in our mock drafts leading up to Round 1 on May 8.

April 17, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 7.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 4: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

We said: Tough to read the tea leaves regarding which way Cleveland might be leaning at QB. One thing does appear rather certain, though: Cleveland plans to spend one of its two first-round picks at the position. Waiting until No. 26 would leave the Browns in a position to miss out on the guy they really want. With the way the top three fell here, they get their choice.

Perhaps they have their eyes on Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles. I’d put my money behind Manziel being the guy.

Round 1, pick 26: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

We said: Make it three straight corners, with the Browns jumping into the mix by rolling the dice on Roby. Assuming he has refocused, thus putting a shaky start to 2013 behind him, Roby might be in the discussion of this draft’s top cornerback before long. His length and athleticism would make him a welcome addition opposite Joe Haden in the Browns secondary.

April 10, 2014  2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 4: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

We said: Of the four quarterback-needy teams that reside in this draft’s top five, the Browns are the team I’m most convinced will take a first-round QB. Cleveland simply has no starting option behind the rehabilitating Brian Hoyer. But then again, Cleveland also owns the No. 26 pick, so maybe there are plenty of options from that perspective. Many mockers are linking the Browns to Fresno State’s Derek Carr, either at No. 26 or possibly even No. 4. But Carr in the top five is an obvious reach, and Cleveland should not be in the mood to gamble with so much on the line in its latest rebuilding effort. Manziel may not be the first choice of new Cleveland offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who lived through (barely) the media blitz known as the RGIII phenomena in Washington, but if I’m the Browns, I’m banking on the guy who has won most of his biggest games and plays like he isn’t afraid to have all the pressure put on his shoulders.

Round 1, pick 26: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

We said: If the Browns don’t go quarterback at No. 4, as I have them doing with Manziel, many expect Carr to land in Cleveland in this slot. That would certainly cut down on the size of the first-round quarterback gamble, but I have the Browns taking another cornerback with the pick they received from Indy in the Trent Richardson trade of last year. Fuller is either the second- or third-best cornerback in the draft, depending on the analyst, and his athleticism and cover skills would supplement a secondary led by No. 1 cornerback Joe Haden.

April 1, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 4: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

We said: The Browns have done a great deal in the last two seasons to enhance and expand their roster, but two serious issues remain — they need a franchise quarterback, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz gave up 11 sacks last season. It would be wise for the team to avoid reaching for its quarterback of the future, though it could (and should) consider Teddy Bridgewater interesting with the fourth overall pick. If they don’t go that route, Robinson would be an interstellar upgrade over Schwartz at right tackle, and would be able to perform spot duty if left tackle Joe Thomas ever misses an NFL snap — which he hasn’t done since entering the league in 2007. Robinson needs technique work, but he’s a complete and total mauler capable of making any opposing defensive end work hard for any pressure he gets. This makes him an optimal right tackle in any system, and given the importance of outside pass protection (not to mention Robinson’s talent), this isn’t a reach.

Round 1, pick 26: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

We said: Carr is in a compelling spot in this year’s draft. He’s not rated as high as the holy trinity of Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles, but he’s seen by many to be the next best thing, and that probably puts him in the late-first, early-second range. Here’s what we know: The Browns, who didn’t provide a strong presence at some of the more glamorous pro days, recently went to Carr to engage him in a private workout. And new Browns head coach Mike Pettine said at the owners’ meetings that he saw Carr as the best pure thrower in this draft class.

“Very physically-gifted. And a lot of times it’s hard to bet against the family history as well. You’re talking about like a Jake Matthews [where] it’s the old ‘Don’t bet against the genetics.’ I think he certainly falls into that category as well.”

Not that older brother David was able to make much of a dent in the NFL, but that was in part because he was selected by an expansion Houston Texans team that didn’t have much else to brag about. If the Browns are on point with Carr in the first round, he could have better luck — he’s got good arm strength, surprising mobility and though he played out of the shotgun in college, that’s not the NFL handicap it used to be.

March 25, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 6.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 4: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

We said: Joe Thomas at left tackle, Robinson on the right side and Alex Mack at center (assuming he stays) — that’s a sensational start on the line. Slide former RT Mitchell Schwartz in to right guard, with John Greco at LG, and the Browns could have one of the top fronts in all of football.

Round 1, pick 26: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

We said: Patience pays off for the Browns, with Carr stepping into the QB battle alongside Brian Hoyer. Whoever wins the job will have several legitimate targets waiting for him: Josh Gordon, TE Jordan Cameron and recent free-agent acquisition Andrew Hawkins. The Browns may be but a quarterback away from playoff contention. Here he is.

March 18, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 4: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

We said: When was the last time the Browns had a quarterback with a little moxie and swagger to him? Bernie Kosar? Otto Graham? If I’m choosing between Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater, I’m taking the guy who has won in big-game settings and seems to relish all that comes with the glamor position of quarterback. After thriving in the SEC, and beating Alabama, Manziel won’t be awed taking the field in Baltimore, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.

Round 1, pick 26: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

We said: If the Browns don’t go quarterback at No. 4, this would be the slot to spend a pick on an arm like Fresno’s Derek Carr or Eastern Illinois’s Jimmy Garoppolo (or is that too reminiscent of the Brandon Weeden mistake in 2012 for Cleveland fans?). Alas, we’ve got the Brownies taking Manziel, so they’ll get him another receiving option to go along with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron at No. 26. Cooks made himself a viable first-round option with that mind-boggling 4.33 in the 40 at the combine.

March 5, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 4: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

We said: Ron Jaworski might not take Manziel in the first three rounds, but the Cleveland brain trust will have no such issues. Manziel still needs to get the hang of pocket passing on a consistent basis, but he’s a human highlight film with great mobility, escapability and improvisation. It will take Manziel a while to become fully integrated into an NFL offense, but he’ll become the face of a franchise that hasn’t had one in a good, long time.

Round 1, pick 26: Xavier Su’a-Filo, OL, UCLA

We said: John Greco and Shawn Lauvao, Cleveland’s primary guards in 2013, allowed a total of 10 sacks between then, and didn’t present much as run-blockers. Any re-do of Cleveland’s offense must include a re-examination of the guard position, and it’s tough to argue with what Su’a-Filo’s put on tape. He’s a big, nasty earthmover with enough agility to play right tackle at the NFL level, and he’ll establish a sense of intelligent aggression from his first day in the locker room. Few players in this class are more fun to watch.

Feb. 26, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 5.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 4: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

We said: There might be a temptation to draft Sammy Watkins or even Mike Evans in this spot to pair with rising superstar Josh Gordon. But who’s going to throw them the ball? Brian Hoyer might be OK in spurts, maybe even for the entire 2014 season. Eventually, the Browns need to find a long-term answer at QB, and the electrifying Manziel would work.

Round 1, pick 26: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

We said: Mentioned above that the Browns could consider going after Sammy Watkins with that No. 4 pick. That Matthews, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin and other impressive receivers are sitting here at 26 highlights why they may wait to address this position.

Matthews ran a 4.46 40 at the combine, off a strong Senior Bowl. He caught 112 balls last season for Vanderbilt in spite of shaky QB play. Count on him to produce in the NFL.

Round 2, pick 35: Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA

We said: Su’a-Filo had a stellar combine and would slot in well on Cleveland’s underrated line.

Feb. 19, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 4: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

We said: The Browns could finally experience some first-round good fortune at quarterback, should they find Bridgewater waiting for them. The Cardinals’ star is the most accurate and accomplished passer in this draft, and he is seen as the cleanest pro prospect among all the QB hopefuls. After Brandon Weeden and all those who came before him in Cleveland, accuracy in the passing game is something Browns fans could get used to. In this scenario, Cleveland will have its choice between Bridgewater’s superb touch and command of a pro-style passing game, or the sturdier size and pocket-style quarterbacking of UCF’s Bortles, who some scouts think has the most NFL upside.

Round 1, pick 26: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

We said: The thinking is that, if the Browns nab their next franchise quarterback at No. 4 (and we gave them Bridgewater), they’ll try to get him a quality receiving target late in the round, someone who can take some pressure off No. 1 receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron. Beckham and Fresno State receiver Davante Adams should come off the board in this range, but Beckham is the choice because he’s a versatile and explosive pass-catcher who can do damage in either the slot or outside. He has dependable hands, separates easily and is adept at gaining yards after the catch, and might also have a role in the NFL in the return game.

Feb. 6, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 4: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

We said: He’s not the safest pick, that’s for sure — the YOLO lifestyle and occasionally weird on-field decisions will leave some teams wondering how he’ll handle things once the playbooks and defenses get a lot more complicated. Manziel has an element of randomness in his play that brings Tony Romo to mind, but the Browns desperately need something at that position — and Manziel also possesses the ability to carry his team on his back at times.

Round 1, pick 26: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

We said: Josh Gordon somehow had an amazing season with Cleveland’s Quarterbackapalooza, but with Davone Bess’ predilection for dropping everything thrown in his direction, whoever’s throwing the ball for the Browns in 2014 would appreciate another consistent receiver. Beckham is a smaller, fluid receiver who would be a great complement on crosses, slants and other slot routes.

Jan. 9, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 4: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

We said: Bortles is the man of the hour in draft circles, with his Fiesta Bowl win putting the capper on a brilliant season. He has a chance to be great at the next level. Right now? I’d say he could be pretty good as a rookie as he undergoes some growing pains. For the Browns, the notion of finally nabbing a franchise quarterback will outweigh any concerns.

Round 1, pick 26: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

We said: The Browns nabbed their QB earlier in this mock. Now, they add a terrific receiver for him. Cleveland already boasts one of the league’s budding offensive stars in Josh Gordon, and he’d welcome the arrival of Matthews, a polished prospect with a productive college career behind him. Matthews will be capable of starting from the get-go next season.

Dec. 5, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.1 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 7: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

We said: Up from No. 17, to the Bears, in Mock 3.0. The initial plan for the Browns here was to wait and nab a quarterback later on, with Sammy Watkins the choice at No. 7. Mariota’s departure takes a big piece out of the QB puzzle, forcing the Browns to strike a lot earlier. Mettenberger can hit all the throws, a must for Rob Chudzinski’s vertical passing attack. 

Round 1, pick 24: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

We said: Swapped in a QB at the Browns’ top-10 pick, so the earlier choice of Tajh Boyd here is now null and void. Instead, the Browns address their need for another WR to work with Josh Gordon. Lee has not had a terrific last season at USC, but he remains a big-play threat.

Sept. 24, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Chris Burke) 

Round 1, pick 4: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

We said: The Trent Richardson trade obviously makes the Browns an extremely intriguing team to watch approaching the 2014 draft. Assuming Bridgewater lands No. 1, Cleveland needs to pick its guy at QB and go for broke to get him. Will that be Mariota? Hundley? Johnny Manziel?

Round 1, pick 17: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

We said: As trade rumors swirl around current Cleveland receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little, the possibility of landing both a top-flight QB and an elite WR should have Browns fans feeling giddy. Don’t be surprised if Evans winds up being the most productive 2014 wide receiver.

April 30, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 4: Marqise Lee, WR, USC

We said: Lee is just 6-feet tall, so we’re not talking about a Calvin Johnson-type that’s going to win jump balls consistently. What Lee will do, though, is get open and make plays. He caught a whopping 118 passes last season for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. You’re looking at a Heisman frontrunner for 2013 and a player that could dramatically improve an NFL offense.