See who the Canton Repository Browns beat writer thinks Cleveland will take with its 10th pick ... and it’s 41st, too
Steve Doerschuk, who has covered drafts from Browns headquarters in Berea since 1999, is following this one from outside the team complex. But the draft goes on, and here is his view of how the first round might play out.
1, Bengals, QB Joe Burrow, LSU. Whatever their bungles, the Bengals milked 228 starts out of their last two quarterbacks drafted to be long-term starters (Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton).
2, Redskins, DE Chase Young, Ohio State. Twenty years after Washington drafted LaVar Arrington at No. 2, the people are still waiting for something monumental from this franchise.
3, Dolphins (trade with Lions), QB, Justin Herbert, Oregon. This Big Ben-sized athlete will try to light up the skies in a way ex-Ducks Akili Smith (No. 3 overall, 1999), Joey Harrington (No. 3, 2002) and Marcus Mariota (No. 2, 2015) did not in the NFL.
4, Giants, OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa. Nine of Kirk Ferentz's offensive linemen have been picked within the last 10 drafts. Wirfs might be the best.
5, Lions (trade with Dolphins), CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State. Starting with Buffalo bagging Akron Garfield's Antoine Winfield in 1999, eight Buckeye cornerbacks have been Round 1 draft picks.
6, Chargers, QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama. Injuries and inconsistency raise worries, but his 2018 playoff masterpiece against Oklahoma (24-of-27, four TDs, shootout win vs. Kyler Murray) underscores the upside.
7, Panthers, DT Derrick Brown, Auburn. New head coach Matt Ruhle, a former Penn State linebacker, came up as a D-line coach. This pick lights his fire.
8, Cardinals, OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama. Kyler Murray took a combined 19 sacks in losses to the Panthers, Rams and Steelers. Arizona needs Wills' grit and skill.
9, Jaguars, OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville. Adding a massive anchorman to a flimsy line in front of 2019 surprise Gardner Minshew appeals to Doug Marrone, a former O-line coach.
10, Browns, LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson. In pegging Simmons as the third-best player in the draft, Hall of Fame GM Gil Brandt noted his 2019 snap count included 225 plays at safety, 307 at linebacker and 257 at corner. "Brandt: I can't remember a player like this."
11, Jets, WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma. Working with Baker Mayfield in 2017, he caught nine passes for 147 yards and two TDs against Texas Tech. And that was his warmup year.
12, Raiders, WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama. His 24 TDs in his last 28 games make Jon Gruden feel young again.
13, 49ers, WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama. His speed and body type are reminiscent of Ted Ginn Jr., a No. 9 overall pick in 2007 who was still kicking with the Saints in 2019.
14, Buccaneers, OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia. He has a bit of time to grow up in front of Tom Brady, who signed for a guaranteed $50 million across two years.
15, Broncos, DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina. Jurrell Casey and Von Miller could be ideal mentors as DC Ed Donatell shoots for a super front seven.
16, Falcons, CB C.J. Henderson, Florida. Gator coordinator Todd Grantham, who was Cleveland's DC in the Romeo Crennel days, calls Henderson the best corner he has coached.
17, Cowboys, DE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU. Along the lines of ex-Tiger Barkevious Mingo, light on college stats, long on measureable talent.
18, Dolphins, OT Austin Jackson, USC. Shortly before his 2019 season, he underwent a three-hour procedure in which his bone marrow was transferred to his ailing sister.
19, Raiders, DB Xavier McKinney, Alabama. His measureables worry workout geeks, but his playmaking is right up Gruden's alley.
20, Jaguars, WR Justin Jefferson, LSU. He provided the national champs with 111 catches, 18 TDs last season.
21, Eagles, LB Patrick Queen, LSU. His production caught up to his ability under coordinator David Aranda, now the head coach at Baylor.
22, Vikings, CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama. This would be a cute pick by GM Rick Spielman, who traded WR Stefon Diggs (Trevon's brother) this offseason.
23, Patriots, DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa. In 20 previous drafts, Bill Belichick never drafted one of Kirk Ferentz's Iowa players, a curiosity in that Ferentz was on Belichick's 1990s Cleveland staff and sends lots of players to the NFL.
24, Saints, LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma. He has looked the part since a standout freshman season on the team Baker Mayfield led to the final four.
25, Vikings, WR Tee Higgins, Clemson. His nine-catch, 182-yard, three-TD game in last December's ACC title game got everyone's attention.
26, Dolphins, OT Josh Jones, Houston. His vast improvement as 2019 wore on give O-line coach Steve Marshall, formerly with the Browns, something to work with.
27, Seahawks, DT Ross Blacklock, TCU. The son of a former basketball star who toured with the Harlem Globetrotters would be a higher pick if not for 2018 Achilles surgery.
28, Ravens, LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin. He spent five years in the Badgers' program and had a monster 2019.
29, Titans, OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State. Mike Vrabel needs line depth after losing Jack Conklin to the Browns. Vrabel is the type whose staff works well with sleepers.
30, Packers, QB Jordan Love, Utah State. Rumblings have it that the Packers like this off-radar talent who lost a 51-41 Frisco Bowl shootout to Kent State.
31, 49ers, DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama. He's a DeForest Buckner type who lit it up in the 2017 postseason but didn't build on the early magic.
32, Chiefs, C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan. Browns castoff Austin Reiter managed to start 19 games at center for the Super Bowl champs but is viewed in some corners as a stop-gap.
That’s a best guess at how the first round will go. The second round? Let’s just focus on the Browns.
41, Browns, S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota. Son of a former Ohio State All-American DB would be a great option for another playmaker on defense.
Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP