I hope? Or do I?
With only three winning seasons, and one playoff victory, in my entire lifetime, the Cleveland Browns have been an absolute joke of a franchise for a very long time. And at the conclusion of the 2017 draft, they appear to be on the upswing (it would be hard to go the other way, after finishing 1-15 in 2016, but this is the Cleveland Browns we’re talking about here).
The Browns draft picks are as follows:
Round 1, 1st overall: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M – Although not a particularly amazing pass rusher, Garrett was far an away the best available prospect this year and the Browns did not let him pass by. There was some debate right up until Thursday whether they would stick with him or take a chance on UNC quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who only started 13 games in college and would probably just be another name lost in the list of Browns QB’s since the Tim Couch pick in ’99. Despite only 8 sacks in his junior season, Garrett will pair nicely with Jamie Collins as the Browns continue building up their defensive unit.
Round 1, 25th overall: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan – After trading the 12th overall pick to the Texans, and ultimately passing on Deshaun Watson, in exchange for the 25th pick and Houston’s 2018 first-round pick, the Browns may have ended up winning this trade already. Peppers is a freak athlete who played 11 different positions for the Wolverines this season, and is an immediate addition to the team. Experts seem to think he will fit in as a secondary-hybrid plus a special teams expert? I don’t care where you play him, he’s already the best athlete on the roster and the Browns should be thanking his diluted piss that he fell all the way to 25.
Round 1, 29th overall: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL) – The Browns traded their 33rd and 108th overall picks to Green Bay in exchange for the 29th pick and took Miami sophomore Njoku, despite him having only 64 catches and 9 touchdowns while at the U. Cleveland is high on what “draft experts” are calling a “freak athlete” who definitely has room to grow. As Njoku grows into his body, expect his skillset to continue to improve and if the Browns can finally find any sort of consistency at quarterback, he can be a force for years to come.
Round 2, 52nd overall: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame – Kizer’s 2016 was clearly worse than his 2015 campaign, but let’s face it, he might already be the best quarterback on this roster. Cody Kessler and the $72 Million Dollar Man should both be looking up to Kizer on the depth chart, who can ultimately come out as the best QB in this draft class. Browns’ fans are just hoping that they have finally found a quarterback who can actually start 16 games in a season, a feat that hasn’t been done since Tim Couch all the way back in 2001. Since then, 26 different players have started at least a game for the team.
Round 3, 65th overall: Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte – The Nigerian-born Ogunjobi became the first UNC Charlotte alum to be drafted, leaving the school as the all-time leader in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. But he has a lot to prove, having only played seven years of competitive football and playing only two games against Power 5 conference opponents in his entire college. Standing at 6’3″, 305 pounds, Ogunjobi may be a little small at the NFL level, but if he can mature along side Myles Garrett the Browns can expect to see success in the 4-3 defense.
Round 4, 126th overall: Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
Round 5, 160th overall: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Round 6, 185th overall: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida – The one glaring question mark among the Browns’ draft picks is Caleb Brantley, a defensive tackle from Florida who was recently arrested for knocking a young woman unconscious. Cleveland’s executive vice president Sashi Brown told reporters that they may rescind the selection, as this “may not be something we can get comfortable with” (🙄). Mike Mayock of NFL Network had Brantley listed as the fourth-best interior defensive lineman in the weeks approaching the draft, but then we learned that he hits women.
Round 7, 224th overall: Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona State – He’s a kicker. He kicks things. Hopefully better than Scott Norwood.
Round 7, 252nd overall: Matthew Dayes, RB, NC State