We are officially in April, which means the NFL Draft is only a few weeks away. The first 9 picks will greatly affect who the Browns take at 10, but odds are, one of the many great Offensive Lineman prospects will be available by the time Andrew Berry and company get on the clock.
The Browns have an opportunity to acquire great talent within the first 3 rounds of this draft. While nothing is guaranteed, certain players at positions of need should be available at each pick and if things go correctly, Cleveland could absolutely nail the early rounds. Let’s take a look at what I believe could be the perfect players to take in the first 3 rounds.
Pick 10: Andrew Thomas (T) – Georgia
There are several fantastic tackle prospects in this draft, but Andrew Thomas is the best fit for Cleveland. At 6’5″ and 314 pounds, Thomas moves well for his size and he’s a good athlete with powerful hands. He has a great mentality and can move laterally very well, which is crucial in Kevin Stefanski’s wide zone offense.
He definitely isn’t a finished product, there’s plenty to work on. His footwork needs to improve and pass blocking isn’t as smooth as it could be. With Offensive Line coach Bill Callahan coaching him up, one could determine that he could likely turn into a Pro Bowl left tackle for the Browns. Also, fun fact: Not only did he used to block for Nick Chubb at Georgia, but he also said at the Combine that he thinks it would be cool if he got to block for him again.
Pick 41: Grant Delpit (S) – LSU
If you really think about it, the Browns haven’t really had a legit dynamic safety on their defense since 1999. While they signed Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo in Free Agency, safety is still very much on their radar in this year’s draft. Grant Delpit has a great chance of being there at pick 41 and if so, the Browns should take him.
I know a lot of fans, myself included, would also like to have Antoine Winfield Jr, but Delpit is better and if he is still on the board then they would be smart to take him over Winfield. At 6’2″ 213, Delpit is a good-sized safety that could potentially solidify the position for years in Cleveland. He is very physical and possesses a unique ability to get downhill on plays. His instincts and ability to read plays were fantastic at LSU, and it’ll only get better. His weaknesses are run support and his overall range as safety. Those things are coachable and there’s a favorable chance he will flourish in the NFL.
Pick 74: Malik Harrison (LB) – Ohio State
Even with the signing of BJ Goodson in free agency, Linebacker is still a big question for the Browns this year. Mack Wilson showed some promise last year and Sione Takitaki didn’t see the field enough to know how good he can be. The position needs help and Malik Harrison would be a great addition.
The nice thing about Harrison is that he has experience playing all linebacker spots, so he could be a nice plug-and-play guy for Cleveland. What scouts have determined about him is that even though he’s a big linebacker at 6’3″ 247, he moves laterally very well. The Browns need speed on defense and he could pair well with who they already have. At Ohio State, 66% of all his tackles as a starter were solo. Pretty impressive stat.
Pick 97: Alex Highsmith (DE) – Charlotte
Even with the signing of Adrian Clayborn in Free Agency, the Browns still need some depth on the defensive line. 2019 proved that when Myles Garrett got suspended and Olivier Vernon was injured. There were basically practice squad guys on the field. Alex Highsmith is a smaller DE at 6’3″ 248, but he has had amazing production over the last few years in college.
He is very athletic and possesses great footwork and a perplexing spin move. Moving laterally is another strength of his. The biggest downfall to Highsmith is his size and his hand usage. If he could be groomed over the next year or so, there’s a decent chance starting in the NFL is in his future.
It is no secret that this will be a defense-heavy draft for the Browns. There is no telling what will happen, but all we can do is hope certain players fall to the spots we want them. If the Browns were able to get all the players listed here within the first 3 rounds, they would be in great shape entering the 2020 season.