Going Deep: Predicting Cleveland Browns nine picks in 2018 draft

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California: NFLDraftScout.com expects USC quarterback Sam Darnold to lead the 2018 NFL Draft pack. --Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

— By Howard Balzer, NFLDraftScout.com —

The Cleveland Browns have nine picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 1 and 4 in the first round April 26 in Arlington, Tex.

Here is a look at the Browns’ five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2017 season. Below that are the team’s current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2018 picks.

BROWNS’ FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2018 DRAFT

  1. Left tackle: This is the biggest need, but that doesn’t mean it is the one that will be addressed first. Joe Thomas, who started 167 straight games until a torn triceps suffered Oct. 22 ended his amazing streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps, retired on March 14 – the first day of free agency. Just how well Thomas played was made apparent by the trouble his replacement, Spencer Drango, had. Moving right tackle Shon Coleman to the left side without a backup plan is a risky proposition. Despite making three trades to kick off the league year, the Browns still retained their top five picks – 1, 4, 33, 35 and 64. General manager John Dorsey could use one of those second-round picks on a left tackle.
  1. Quarterback: Neither Tyrod Taylor or Drew Stanton is the long-term answer at quarterback. The Browns, with the first choice in the draft, obviously have the pick of the litter. There are things to like and things to worry about with every quarterback in this class; Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield are considered the top four. Whichever one Dorsey picks will have time to learn and correct flaws. The plan is for Taylor to start and the rookie to watch and learn. We’ve heard that one before, though, and the rookie ends up starting. If it happens again, at least the rookie will have a veteran to help. Last year none of the three quarterbacks – DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan – had ever won in the NFL. All three have movbed on to other teams.
  1. Edge rusher: Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams got much needed help with four new defensive backs since the start of the league year, but he still would like to add a pass rusher to book-end Myles Garrett, the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. The Browns could use the fourth pick on defensive end Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State. That would allow Williams to mix and match with Chubb, Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah on passing downs.

Below is a list of all nine of the Browns’ picks, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com.

BROWNS 2018 Draft (Nine picks)

Rd./overall pick: Player selected

1-1: Sam Darnold, QB, USC (6-3, 221, 4.85)

1-4: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State (6-4, 269, 4.65)

2-33: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado (6-0, 201, 4.50)

2-35: Tyrell Crosby, T, Oregon (6-5, 309, 5.23)

2-64: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (5-11, 227, 4.52)

4-114: Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Central Florida (6-2, 203, 4.49)

5-150: P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State (6-0, 308, 4.76)

6-175: Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt (6-3, 233, 4.59)

6-188: Charvarius Ward, CB, Middle Tennessee (6-1, 198, 4.44)

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