Cleveland Browns Draft: Round 1 Recap
Two Top Picks Shake Up Entire Draft
the Cleveland Browns, owners of a 1-31 record over the last two seasons, went into this draft with their own #1 overall pick, and the #4 pick they received from Houston in a draft day trade last year. That trade netted the Texans Deshaun Watson, who was looking like the Rookie of the Year before his injuries in 2017. And while passing on quarterbacks like Carson Wentz and Watson may have cost former GM Sashi Brown his job, the Browns went into this draft with 5 picks in the first two rounds thanks to him, and this is one of the overall deepest drafts in years. Let's see how new GM John Dorsey did with his position of power in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Baker Mayfield: QB, Oklahoma- A
This pick has been all over the places the last couple months. For weeks, pundits, talking heads and even Las Vegas was sure it was going to be Josh Allen out of Wyoming, even with his obvious limitations. Then it switched to Sam Darnold of USC as the lock to be the Browns' next signal-caller. Finally, just a day before the draft, the Baker Mayfield rumors caught fire. Some refused to believe. Others embraced it. It was the same reaction as when he was actually picked last night. Some feel he is Johnny Manziel 2.0, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, he's shorter, white, and had a bit of immaturity, but that's where the similarities end. Mayfield was the most accurate QB in college last year, and it wasn't necessarily close. As a two-time former walk-on-turned Heisman Trophy winner, Baker has worked and grinded for everything that he has. That chip on his shoulder is exactly what the Browns need to turn into a legitimate football team. While he doesn't have one "wow" ability like Allen's arm strength, or Lamar's mobility, Mayfield has a solid blend of everything that makes NFL QBs successful. He also doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. HE can refine things while Tyrod Taylor is starting. While he wasn't my #1 QB, he's still a good pick and a great fit for Cleveland.
Denzel Ward: CB, Ohio State- B+
This pick could have gone many ways as well, with tons of mock drafts having Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, or a trade down with the Bills happening here. With the Giants taking Barkley at pick number 2 instead of a quarterback, the Browns had to adjust their options. Barkley was no longer there, and with more QBs available, their trade down wouldn't pull as much interest from QB-needy teams. Many, including myself, thought the pick was going to be Chubb, a DE out of NC State. Cleveland surprised everyone again by selecting lock-down cornerback Denzel Ward out of nearby Ohio State. First off, CB is a huge position of need for the Browns, as verified by the timid 5-yard cushions they played with nearly all of last year. Ward will instantly change that. Although he is a little on the smaller side, he plays huge. He is tough and aggressive, both going after the ball and the ball-carrier. He will bring some flash to this secondary that we haven't seen since Joe Haden's younger years.
Overall I think it was a solid first round for the Browns, picking up top-rated prospects in their two biggest positions of need. With three picks coming today in the second round, including the first and the third, look for some more talent to come the Browns' way. Many first-round prospects have fallen, and I can definitely see them picking up some combination of Derrius Guice, Harold Landry, Maurice Hurst, or Sam Hubbard early on.
Looking forward to what the rest of the draft brings, go Dawg Pound!
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