Cleveland Browns' Possible First-round Draft Picks

Cleveland Browns' Possible First-round Draft Picks

Tyler Vaysman
3 years ago
3 min read

The Cleveland Browns are in a very interesting position at pick number 26. While they can sit tight and take someone in their current spot, they also have enough capital to move up a few spots if they either fall in love with a player or even trade down if there is plenty of value in the early second round.

Here are some names that have been linked the most to the Browns, whether it be in reports or mock drafts.

CB Greg Newsome, Northwestern

Greg Newsome is a cornerback who has been mocked to the Browns in a few different places, including in both trade-up and stand-pat scenarios. And while some Browns fans may be surprised with going cornerback early, it makes more sense than they think.

While the Denzel Ward pick from 2018 has worked out, the jury is still out on 2019 second-rounder Greedy Williams. Williams missed all of 2020 due to injuries after having a very up-and-down rookie season. With Troy Hill signed as the primary nickelback, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Browns to go with a corner early if they feel Williams can’t be depended on for a full season.

Newsome is a corner who has been as high as second on some experts’ lists of the top defensive backs in the draft. He excelled in man-coverage and had a big role in Northwestern’s return to relevancy last season. Cleveland could trade up for Newsome, but if he is there at 26, he’ll be hard to pass up.

LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

Looking at Cleveland’s needs on defense, one position group that really stands out is linebacker. So assuming that there is no massive trade-up for Micah Parsons, the consensus best linebacker in the draft, someone like Owusu-Koramoah could be the next best thing.

The Browns signed Anthony Walker in free agency to be their new middle linebacker, but plenty of questions remain on the outside. Jacob Phillips was a third-round pick last year who struggled, while Sione Takitaki was a third-rounder from 2019 who also has limited upside. While the team may not give up on their development, questions regarding when, or even if, they take the next level will loom large with several linebackers available in the late first round.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is one of the top play-making linebackers in this class. While not an elite pass-rusher, he flourished with dropping into coverage and making plays on passing downs, something that could help out this young secondary. There are a few other teams who may be interested, but Owusu-Koramoah is a good mix of need and value for Cleveland.

EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (FL)

Even after some offseason moves addressing the position, edge-rusher is still a quiet area of need for the Browns. Fortunately, their pick is right where a number of edge rushers should start to come off the board, including a guy in Jaelan Phillips, who the Browns are reportedly very high on.

Yes, Cleveland paired Jadaveon Clowney with Myles Garrett while also signing Takkarist McKinley. But the former first-overall pick Clowney battled injuries in Tennessee, playing in only eight games without registering a sack.

Meanwhile, McKinley played in just four games last season with Atlanta and netted just a single sack. While a bounceback effort from Garrett should happen, relying on both Clowney and McKinley to be healthy and productive seems like a dangerous game.

Now Phillips has had his own issues with injuries going back to UCLA but then returned to form in 2020 with Miami. He is the ultimate upside edge-rusher with a great blend of quickness and power, giving the Browns a more long-term solution along the defensive line. If Phillips is available, he might be likelier than even Newsome or Owusu-Koramoah to be selected by Cleveland.

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