2015 Draft in Review: Cleveland Browns
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
With 12 picks, the Cleveland Browns had enough ammo to address a number of positions while adding a stack of talent and competition to their roster. They focused on the defensive front seven early while adding tight ends and defensive backs late. How did they do?
Round 1: Danny Shelton, DI, Washington
A disruptive force and more mobile than you might expect at his size, Shelton was an easy choice for the Browns to improve their defensive line in both facets. Only one player at the position had more than Shelton’s 50 defensive stops (and that player went Top 10), while he finished with the sixth-highest overall grade.
Depth Chart Fit: Day 1 starter.
Round 1: Cameron Erving, OL, FSU
Spent time at both tackle and center last season, so it’s probably reasonable to assume he also fits at guard. Ervin is a fluid athlete with great hand use, consistently getting the first punch on defensive lineman. Really stood out in run blocking with an exceptional finish to the season against Georgia Tech and in the playoffs versus Oregon.
Depth Chart Fit: Has Alex Mack in front of him at center, but could compete for early snaps at guard.
Round 2: Nate Orchard, ED, Utah
Extremely productive in run defense with 52 stops, a figure that led all edge defenders in this class. Also good as a pass rusher where he gave Andrus Peat particular trouble against Stanford and few players matched his 55 combined pressures (60 including the senior bowl). But he didn’t grade as well as the pressure count might indicate with many coming either unblocked or cleanup.
Depth Chart Fit: Behind Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger at OLB, so probably more of a sub-package player early on.
Round 3: Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
Cleveland bolstered its backfield with this pick, taking a player who finished with the third-highest grade at the position. Johnson has home run ability if he makes it to the second level, which was evident by his fifth-ranked 50.3% Breakaway Percentage, leading to 826 of his 1,641 rushing yards. Should also contribute as a receiver; he forced more missed tackles in the passing game (15) than any other back in this class.
Depth Chart Fit: In contention for immediate playing time. Should at least see snaps on third down.
Round 3: Xavier Cooper, DI, Washington State
More than 50 defensive interior players finished with a better overall grade, but Cooper displayed a very quick first step to beat blockers, though he had trouble finishing at times and lacked the hands to effectively counter. Still managed the fourth-best Pass Rushing Productivity rating against Power 5 opponents at 9.0.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup on early downs, but could see sub-package snaps.
Round 4: Ibraheim Campbell, S, Northwestern
Box safety who was a solid run defender with a fairly low missed tackle count – Campbell graded negatively there just once last season against Illinois. Also got his hands on a combined five passes in coverage to finish slightly positive against the pass, though it’s not his strong suit after surrendering a catch on more than 60% of passes thrown his way.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup behind Donte Whitner.
Round 4: Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State
Good athlete with the production to match after catching 106 passes last season (only three players in this class had more). And no receiver was more elusive than Mayle after forcing 26 missed tackles. Unfortunately, he had huge issues catching the ball as his 19 drops led the position by a mile. Whether that’s correctable will determine how much time he gets among a thin group of receivers in Cleveland.
Depth Chart Fit: Likely in the mix for immediate playing time.
Round 6: Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville
Graded positively in coverage in all but two games (Georgia, Florida State), while surrendering a catch on less than 50% of targets and getting his hands on seven passes. Average grade in run defense, though he’s a good tackler after missing just three last season.
Depth Chart Fit: Rarely played in slot at Louisville, so behind at least Justin Gilbert and Joe Haden at outside corner.
Round 6: Malcolm Johnson, TE, Mississippi State
Versatile player who lined up all over the formation at Mississippi State, though spent most of his snaps inline. As a receiver, only four players caught a higher percentage of passes thrown his way and Johnson had at least 10 more targets than any of them without a single drop. Also fared well in screen and run blocking.
Depth Chart Fit: With Jordan Cameron gone, should have a chance to compete for early playing time.
Round 6: Randall Telfer, TE, USC
The Browns clearly viewed tight end as a weak spot on their roster in taking both Johnson in Telfer in the sixth round. Telfer graded extremely well as a run blocker, ranking fifth against Power 5 teams, with particular success against Oregon State and Colorado. Had similar production to Johnson as a receiver, though three drops and less than 10 yards per reception saw him grade negatively there.
Depth Chart Fit: Similar case to Johnson, though Telfer will likely provide more value as a run blocker than receiver.
Round 7: Hayes Pullard, LB, USC
A player we expected to go off the board much earlier, Pullard had one of the best run defense grades among draft eligible ILBs, though needs to become more aggressive between the tackles. A fluid athlete as well which should translate to coverage in the NFL.
Depth Chart Fit: Backup to start and has the skills to contribute on special teams.
Round 7: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
While we liked his teammate Troy Hill a bit more, there’s no denying that Ekpre-Olomu has the ability if he can overcome his injury issues. He displayed excellent change of direction, challenging receivers at the catch point while getting his hands on 10 passes (eight pass defenses, two interceptions). Also a willing tackler, though with nine missed tackles his size might limit his effectiveness somewhat.
Depth Chart Fit: Outside corner in competition behind Joe Haden.
Dylan Wynn, DI, Oregon State: Six penalties, but still graded positively in both facets. His 8.0 Pass Rushing Productivity rating ranked ninth among eligible defensive tackles.
Marvin Kloss, K, USF: Only 43.5% of Kloss’ kickoffs were returned, seventh among FBS kickers in this class with a significant number of attempts
Elliott Porter, C, LSU: Finished with the second-lowest overall grade among 64 draft eligible centers, almost all of it coming from run blocking
Kyle Prater, WR, Northwestern: Big target that caught at least one pass in every game last season. Graded positively as both a receiver and blocker, though his overall grade ranked 60th at the position.
De’ante Saunders, CB, Tennessee State: No snaps against FBS opposition.
VJ Fehoko, LB, Texas Tech: 26 defensive stops, but missed 16 tackles and his overall grade ranked 147th of 148 off-ball linebackers in this class.
Kenneth Penny, CB, UNLV: Nine penalties pushed his grade down, though also he had more missed tackles (8) than stops (7). Allowed a completion on 45.5% of targets, the 15th lowest rate at the position.
Landon Feichter, S, Purdue: Held opposing passers to a 45.0 QB rating on 39 throws into his coverage. Intercepted five and defensed three more.
Darrian Miller, OT, Kentucky: Blistering start to the season, but fell off in the second half, which included a brutal showing in pass protection against Missouri. Still finished with the sixth-best run blocking grade for eligible LTs from the SEC.
EJ Bibbs, TE, Iowa State: Good showings against Iowa and Oklahoma State, but finished with a negative overall grade after five drops and issues in run blocking.
Travis Lee, CB, Miles: No snaps against FBS opposition.
Kevonte Martin-Manley, WR, Iowa: Slot receiver that fell off after catching 16 passes over the first two weeks of the season. Gained 1.15 Yarder per Route Run from the slot, a figure that ranked in the middle of the pack.
De’Marieya Nelson, TE, Arizona State: Played just 346 snaps, though showed well against New Mexico in run blocking.
Cassius Sendish, S, Kansas: Very good in run defense with 19 stops, but struggled in coverage. Opposing passers had a 124.8 QB rating on throws into his coverage.
Nick Jones, WR, South Carolina: One of just three receivers in this class without a drop last season. Jones hauled in all 42 catchable targets.
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