#RapidMock Grades: Cleveland Browns

CLE 1 14 STL   @BrendanLeister Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn
CLE 2 37     @BrendanLeister Jabaal Sheard – DE/OLB-Pittsburgh
CLE 2 57 SEA   @BrendanLeister Titus Young – WR – Boise State
CLE 3 70     @BrendanLeister Aaron Williams – CB – Texas
CLE 4 99 SEA DEN @BrendanLeister Taiwan Jones – RB – Eastern Washington
CLE 4 102     @BrendanLeister James Brewer – OT – Indiana
CLE 5 137     @BrendanLeister Casey Matthews – ILB – Oregon
CLE 5 140 KC DET @BrendanLeister Greg McElroy – QB – Alabama
CLE 7 248     @BrendanLeister Dane Sanzenbacher – WR – Ohio State


Perhaps Mr. Brendan Leister had the Saul Williams track “Scared Money” dialed up in his dorm-draft-war-room: he clearly wasn’t afraid of spending money on intriguing yet risky prospects.
There’s no question that Nick Fairley possesses top ten ability – he may be the most talented player in the draft – but questions about his attitude, work ethic, and one year wonderdom make him a risky prospect. To a lesser extent, the same holds true with Jabaal Sheard, who has no respect for glass doors, and Titus Young, who was kept off that abominable blue field by multiple suspensions.

At the same time, those three players would fill the Browns’ top three needs; Fairley and Sheard could help the team run a non-disastrous even front, and Young – while lacking physicality and jump ball ability – would add legit speed to the Browns’ offense. And in a master stroke, B. Leister managed to trade down in the first and still get Fairley at #14 overall – getting him later makes the risk/reward in drafting the Auburn production much more tolerable.
Herr Leister also got good value in his next two selections, picking up corner/safety Aaron Williams and a bullet of an offensive weapon in Taiwan Jones. Both could help the Browns at multiple spots and are more talented than the typical player picked at their respective draft slots.
The Browns’ later picks weren’t particularly inspiring: James Brewer is a big beefy offensive lineman, but he may lack the feet of an NFL offensive tackle. Clay Matthews is a nice value in the 5th round, but he won’t provide an infusion of athleticism to a relatively unimpressive LB corps. Greg McElroy is the prototypical Holmgren mid/late round signal caller and Dane Sanzenbacher was a nice 7th round selection, but their impact may be blunted by being buried on the depth chart.

Overall, the Browns did a nice job of addressing their needs, but they did so by adding risky and/or not so intriguing prospects. That said, Brendan avoided the possible calamity of spending #6 overall money on a questionable character prospect, which makes this draft a lot more appealing. Odds are there will be some early round booms and busts, but Leister’s solid selections easily earn him an  A- grade.

Aaron Aloysius – Writer for DraftBreakdown.com and guest contributor to TheOBR.com.


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