There I was, minding my own business and (successfully) defending my dissertation, when I learned that Cleveland had traded the #2 pick. I had previously hoped that Cleveland would do just that, and I am pleased that they did.
The trade was #2 and a 2017 4th rounder to Philadelphia for their first rounder this year (#8), a 3rd rounder, a 4th rounder, and a 1st rounder and 2nd rounder next year. On the surface, it looks like Cleveland got a lousy haul, but keep in mind that the Browns are still in the top ten. LA was #15, which made the #1 pick more valuable to them. Cleveland, on the other hand, only dropped six spots and got a lot for their trouble.
Now, making great trades for good picks is one thing. Cleveland has done this before (sorry, Kevin). However, when team picks well (Watkins looks like a great pick for Buffalo) and the other doesn’t (Gilbert looks like a bust), the trades don’t look as good. It will be up to Brown and DePo to make a smart choice with pick #8. Two different mock drafts have Cleveland taking linebacker Myles Jack at #8. That would be a great pick. He’s extremely . versatile, which Cleveland needs. Other mocks have Cleveland taking DeForest Buckner, a huge defensive end who could be just what Cleveland needs; Jack Conlin, a tackle who would apparently play on the right side (I’m not keen on going tackle in the top 10 unless you’re going to trade Joe Thomas too); another trade down with Miami to take linebacker Darron Lee; Paxton Lynch, who strikes me as Brandon Weeden 2.0 but could have more upside; another tackle, Ronnie Stanley; and/or Joey Bosa, the hometown lineman and pass rusher.
I’ve heard some people suggest Cleveland take a later round QB (Connor Cook has been bandied about quite a bit), perhaps with #32. Paxton Lynch might go #7 to San Francisco, assuming LA and Philly both take QBs. Given that Philly has Sam Bradford, it’s actually conceivable they traded up to take Laremy Tunsil. I’m not sure.
One thing I haven’t seen in any mock is Cleveland going wide receiver. There’s no Calvin Johnson in this draft, true, but Cleveland is pretty desperate for receiving help. Don’t be shocked if Laquon Treadwell goes at #8.
My official preference, assuming Jalen Ramsey is gone, is probably Buckner or Jack. Jack’s knee injury has me uneasy. We have to knock it out of the park with this pick. A healthy Jack is better than Buckner, but a real beast on the defensive line is something we’ve needed for a long time. We shall see, my friends.