Grading the Browns’ 2018 Draft
Written by Brandon Lewis on May 2, 2018
The 2018 NFL Draft concluded Saturday in Dallas with the Browns drafting a total of nine new players, including five offensive players and four on defense. These rookies are looking to make an immediate impact for the Browns in their quest to win back their loyal fans. With many different NFL insiders and analysis all over the place on the Browns draft, I thought I would give you my take on the Browns 2018 rookie class, so here it is.
Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma(Round 1. Pick 1.)
Why: After much debate on which quarterback the Browns would select at number one, they decided on the 6’1, 209 pound, character-problem quarterback from Oklahoma. In my opinion, Mayfield has the best arm in the draft. He can make all the throws, and I do not see the Johnny Manziel comparisons he is getting. Sure, he likes to party, but unlike Manziel, Mayfield loves the game of football. He’s a film rat and cares about winning. I am glad the Browns did not go with the “safe” pick Sam Darnold. In my estimation, you can not go with the safe pick. You have to go with the guy who you believe will be your franchise quarterback for the next fifteen years. For the Browns and me, that’s Mayfield. After years and years of failure, the Browns may have just finally found their quarterback they have been searching for.
Denzel Ward CB Ohio State(Round 1. Pick 4.)
Why: I am so happy the Browns did not trade down at number four, but I am not as ecstatic about it as I would be if the Browns would have drafted Bradley Chubb, the defensive end from North Carolina State. Now, Ward is from Cleveland, and he did play his college ball at Ohio State, but I am just not sure the Browns needed to take a corner this high. Ward is a 5’11, great man-to-man corner, but the Browns already had good depth at that position with T.J. Carrie, E.J. Gaines, and Briean Boddy-Calhoon. In my opinion, Chubb would have brought depth to the Browns defensive line that already has Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah, but if Ward turns into a shutdown corner, this pick will turn from a B+ grade to an A+.
Austin Corbett LT Nevada(Round 2. Pick 33.)
Why: With the first pick in the second round of the draft, the Browns selected tackle Austin Corbett out of Nevada. Now, rumors going around is that Corbett will play left guard, and Joel Bitonio will slide over to left tackle. Still, I do not like this pick. The Browns still have Shon Coleman, Cam Johnson, and Spencer Drango on their roster, all who can play left tackle. I realize you need a Joe Thomas replacement, but this tackle draft is weak, and next year’s tackle draft is supposed to be strong. Therefore, I just do not get why you just do not try out Coleman, Johnson, and Drango at left tackle, and then if they do not work out, draft one next year. However, we’ll see how this pick works out.
Nick Chubb RB Georgia(Round 2. Pick 35.)
Why: Entering the draft, I was praying that Saquon Barkley would still be there at four, so the Browns could snag him, but that did not happen. I am fine with taking Chubb here, but I just did not love the film on the kid at Georgia. At 5’10, 225, I thought he was a little bit slow on tape and was not physical enough when it came to taking contact. I think he will grow, but I do not know if he will be a franchise changing running back the Browns need. He reminds me a lot of a guy the Browns have on their roster already; Carlos Hyde.
Chad Thomas DE Miami(Round 2. Pick 67.)
Why: Since the Browns did not take Bradley Chubb, they needed another defensive end. Yes, they signed Chris Smith from the Bengals in free agency, but ideadly you want four good defensive ends on your roster if you are a 4-3 defense like the Browns are. Thomas for sure adds value, and he produces music! He sounds like a cool kid, and great job by John Dorsey of drafting him even after he traded back three spots with the Colts.
Antonio Callaway WR Florida(Round 4. Pick 105.)
Why: Callaway had a first round grade on most boards, but he failed many drug tests leading up to the draft, including one at the combine. This reminds me of the Josh Gordon situation all over again. Great talent, but can’t stay off the field. This guy has way more off the field issues than Mayfield, and he’s only 5’10, another concern for me since I like at least 6’3 wide outs personality. The Browns definitely took a risk with this pick, and for that, I have to give it an average grade. It’s either going to be a great pick, or it’s going to blow up. Only time will tell.
Genard Avery LB Memphis(Round 5. Pick 150.)
Why: This may end up being the steal of the draft for the Browns. According to profootballfocus, Avery had a 83.5 pass rush rating grade coming out of college, six more than the next highest player on the board. He can play special teams and any linebacking position. I think the Browns just found a keeper inside the middle of their defense.
Damion Ratley WR Texas A&M(Round 6. Pick 175.)
Why: This feels like a pick in case Callaway does not work out, which is why I get the pick. Ratley is 6’3, so I like the height a lot, but the Browns have a bunch of wide receivers on their roster, If you count Callaway and Ratley, the Browns currently have 11 pass catchers on the roster, Now, five or six will get cut before the season, but it just seems like this was a pick the Browns could have gone elsewhere with.
Simeon Thomas CB Louisiana(Round 6. Pick 188.)
Why: With the last pick in the draft, the Browns definitely went for depth chart purposes. A tall corner standing at 6’3, and with a weight of 193 pounds, Thomas definitely has potential. I like his length but with him and Ward now being the sixth and seventh corners drafted, playing time for Thomas may be small because ot the amount of time Ward, Calhoun, and Carrie will get as the starters, Thomas will have to make his name known in the preseason. However, since potential is there, and day three of the draft is all about value,(73 percent of an NFL roster is made up with draft picks taken on day three) I think a C+ is a fair grade.
Overall Grade: B-
Overall, I think the Browns grade for the draft is a B-. They hit the lottery at number one with Mayfield, but then after that, it is really all over the place. They did pretty good in the top portion of the draft, and got some hit or misses in the later portion. Reminder, this is just my opinion, and pure speculation as nobody truly has any ideas on how well this rookie class will turn out for the Browns until a couple years down the road.