After coming off back-to-back losing seasons and trading a boatload of draft capital last offseason for quarterback Deshaun Watson, it’s no secret that the Cleveland Browns are in win-now mode. Though Jacoby Brissett filled in admirably last season, the Browns clearly struggled amid Watson’s 11-game suspension. Cleveland finished 7-10 and last in the AFC North as it marked consecutive seasons without a playoff berth.
General Manager Andrew Berry is notorious for wheeling and dealing when it comes to draft picks, so for now, the Browns have eight selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. With the offense mostly set with cornerstones in Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, and the recently acquired Elijah Moore, the task ahead now lies in bolstering the defense. Myles Garrett is a force, but even he needs support around him.
With that in mind, all eyes are toward April’s NFL Draft.
Significant free agency additions
- QB Joshua Dobbs
- WR Elijah Moore (via trade)
- EDGE Ogbo Okoronkwo
- DL Maurice Hurst
- DT Dalvin Tomlinson
Significant free agency losses
- QB Jacoby Brissett
- RB D’Ernest Johnson
- EDGE Chase Winovich
- DL Taven Bryan
- CB Greedy Williams
Cleveland Browns 7-round mock draft
Cleveland will wait patiently as they are not on the clock until pick No. 74 (following the trade for Moore), so let’s dive in at a 7-round mock draft on Pro Football Network where trade offers are on the table.
74. DT Mazi Smith, Michigan
98. LB Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati
111. EDGE DJ Johnson, Oregon
126. WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia
140. EDGE Mike Morris, Michigan
142. WR Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia
190. DT Zacch Pickens, South Carolina
229. RB DeWayne McBride, UAB
Cleveland entered free agency with three distinct needs at defensive tackle, defensive end, and wide receiver. The Browns managed to address a few of those needs with veteran additions like Dalvin Tomlinson and Elijah Moore, but the draft still presents an opportunity to add depth behind them.
With that in mind, we went with Mazi Smith out of Michigan as our first pick and DJ Johnson out of Oregon at pick No. 111. Smith is a freak listed at 335 pounds, though after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge last December, there is a chance he could fall further in the draft. Johnson should add some depth on the outside as he works behind Garrett on the depth chart.
From there on out it was about adding depth at the aforementioned key positions, including wide receiver. The Browns have a certified dynamic duo in Cooper and Moore, but in case one or either gets banged up through the season, we added Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Dontayvion Wicks as backup insurance for the 17-game season.