I will be grading the picks and not the players. Instead, the overall pick value when selected.
This weekend was the first in a long time were the Browns did not have a pick in the first round of the NFL draft. In years past it would have been typical for the team to make a reckless trade by overpaying to move up and then pick the wrong player. Even trade back when the team desperately needed a player right then.
This year would be an all-new approach to drafting, and for the first time, a cycle of dysfunction would finally be stopped.
Browns GM John Dorsey held steady and didn’t allow another team to dictate the terms. By the end of the first night, it was precisely the right move, and the draft fell right into place heading into the second round.
Handling the draft: Grade A+
Pick#17: Odell Beckham Jr. (Wide Receiver)
Working out a trade with the New York Giants by swapping picks 17 and 95 with the 2018 1st round pick Jebrill Peppers, Dorsey was able to receive one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. That alone would be enough to give an A for the pick. John Dorsey not just settling for an A was able to wait one year after OBJ was given a new contract saving the Browns millions in the signing bonus.
Pick#49: Greedy Williams (Cornerback)
The Browns made a small move trading pick 49 and 144 to go up in the draft for pick #46 to select LSU cornerback Williams. From reasons unknown to most Greedy a projected 1st round talent had slipped and was now in the second round. Without overpaying and a firm understanding of how this would play out Dorsey was able to select Greedy Williams giving the Browns a tremendous value with pick 46.
Pick#80: Sione Takitaki (Outside Linebacker)
In need of a high energy hard-hitting linebacker, the Browns set their sights on BYU stand out Sione Takitaki for the 80th pick. Takitaki starting to rise up the draft boards after his great week at the Shrine Game. Then not wasting any chances he then flew to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and turned in another excellent performance. Takitaki does have a troubled past and wasn’t projected to be taken that high. While he’s high energy and has a nose for the ball, he also lacks the ability to get off blocks. With higher rated players still available, I believe that Takitaki was over-drafted with pick 80.
Pick#119 Sheldrick Redwine (Strong Safety)
Looking to get another high energy and versatile safety the Browns selected Miami’s, Sheldrick Redwine. The 4-year player tallied 164 total tackles 6 for a loss with 3.5 sacks and 5 interceptions. Redwine, a good overall player, still needs to keep working. He will sometimes be overwhelmed during the play. The Browns could have used this pick to get a higher rated player of need like defensive lineman Greg Gaines of Washington or Ugo Amadi the safety from Oregon.
Pick#155: Mack Wilson (Inside Linebacker)
With the 5th pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Browns selected linebacker Genard Avery. At the time it was hard to foresee how valuable that pick would turn into. This year and once again in the 5th round the Browns found a way to get a player rated higher than the selection. Either by his foot injury or lack of playing time the all-star linebacker, Mack Wilson slid to the 5th round. Wilson once rated as an early second round pick will fill a need at linebacker for years. His sideline to sideline game speed lead many to believe he was the 3rd best by many draft experts. Wilson also has the ability to play all 3 positions at linebacker Strong-side, Middle and Weak-side with the speed of a box safety.
Pick#170 Austin Seibert (Kicker/Punter)
Every Browns fan knows the pain of watching a win slip away with a wide right kick in the final minutes. After a solid offseason of roster, building take a chance on one of colleges most prolific kickers it allows this type of a selection. Seibert from the University of Oklahoma ended his 4-year stint making 310 of 315 or 98.4% in extra point attempts while completing 63 of 79 or 79.7% in field goals ranking first among FBS kickers in career points. This was a luxury pick for the Browns, and it could pay off big.
Pick#189 Drew Forbes (Guard)
The Browns found another small school guard at pick 189. Forbes from Southeast Missouri State played most of his college career as a tackle. With overall athleticism and grit, he was able to make a name his final year. NFL.com has Forbes rated as a backup in the NFL. Already stacked at the guard position the Browns passed on a much needed defensive tackle. Higher ranked players Armon Watts of Arkansas and Isaiah Buggs of Alabama went quickly after.
Pick#221: Donnie Lewis JR. (Cornerback)
GM John Dorsey and HC Freddie Kitchens have both said you can never have enough corners. This year that’s in full effect and with the 221st pick the Browns selected another cornerback Donnie Lewis JR. from the University of Tulane. Lewis was projected to be an undrafted free agent and picking this late teams mostly look for special teams players. Lewis fits that profile with 56 total tackles and 3 interceptions he’s a player the Browns can mold in camp. Once again the Browns failed to address the need at defensive tackle by passing on a higher rated player like Michael Dogbe of Temple.
The overall grade for this draft could go one of two ways. Grading just by the players selected at their current place for filling team needs would be a B-. If the team believed it was comfortable with the roster already in place and wanted to add 1or 2 potential starters with help for special teams, then it would turn into an A-. Looking in from the outside it’s easy to assume the Browns could have found more value with team needs.
That leaves with an overall grade of B+ for the Cleveland Browns 2019 NFL Draft. With the track record so far come this time next year it should into another A+ just like 2018. Go Browns.