Cleveland Browns NFL Draft 2021

Cleveland Browns NFL Draft 2021

Ryan Knupp
3 years ago
3 min read

The NFL Draft starts on April 29th, and it feels great not to be talking about which franchise quarterback the Browns should get with their top-five pick. But even though their pick at 26th overall is much lower than they're used to, Cleveland will still have a multitude of options to improve their team and help keep them entrenched in the playoff conversation.

Here is what ammo the Browns are working with just over three weeks before draft day, along with some players who might look in brown and orange.

2021 Draft Picks

Round 1: No. 26 overall

Round 2: No. 59

Round 3: No. 89, No. 91 (from Saints)

Round 4: No. 110 (from Eagles), No. 132

Round 5: No. 169 (from Rams)

Round 6: No. 211

Round 7: No. 257 (from Bills)

Total Picks: Nine (only seven teams have more)

Team Needs

Pass rusher: One of Cleveland's priorities should be looking at edge rushers to help boost their ability to sack the quarterback. Last season, the Browns finished with 38 sacks, which ranked 15th in the NFL. 

Now certainly, the team is hoping for a healthy, bounce-back season from Myles Garrett, while they also added defensive end Takkarist McKinley from the Raiders, who in his first two seasons registered a total of 13 sacks. 

But assuming McKinley doesn't bounce back after last year's difficult season, adding another pass rusher to the mix would be a well-advised decision.

Wide receiver: You have your quarterback set, your offensive line is in good shape, and you have one of the best running back duos in football. Now it's time to give Baker Mayfield another weapon. 

While it's not pressing enough to the point where they have to spend a first-round pick on a receiver, they should look to consider one at least at No. 26 or soon after. Keep in mind, Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off of an ACL injury that ended his season prematurely, and Rashard "Hollywood" Higgins only averages about three catches a game. 

So getting another deep threat receiver to counter the slot receiver Jarvis Landry, much like what Donovan Peoples-Jones was able to do in his rookie year, would be helpful.

Cornerback: One of Cleveland's glaring weaknesses in free agency was in the secondary, where they lost three cornerbacks to free agency headlined by Kevin Johnson. Now the Browns were able to sign Troy Hill away from the Rams, giving them a decent 1-2 punch with former first-round pick Denzel Ward. 

But as the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers just showed, among other things, you can never draft and develop too many cornerbacks in this pass-happy league. Greedy Williams will presumably be back after missing all of last season due to a nerve injury in his shoulder, but adding another depth option or someone who can start in the slot right away would be beneficial.

Who Should They Pick?

Out of all of their needs, I would prioritize defense, particularly improving my pass rush. That being said, Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins would be an excellent choice.

Not only did Collins do a little bit of everything last season, racking up four sacks and four interceptions, but he'll also improve the team greatly at outside linebacker, who right now have Sione Takitaki and Jacob Phillips penciled in as starters.

If they want a pure, traditional pass rusher, Jaelan Phillips from Miami (FL) would be a dream scenario if they fell to 26. An athletic freak, Phillips posted eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss last season and can also play outside linebacker if needed. 

It may be unlikely Phillips falls to Cleveland, but if he's there, general manager Andrew Berry shouldn't hesitate to send the card in.

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