All CATEGORIES
☰ Menu
Cleveland Browns

2013 NFL Draft: A look at the five teams picking ahead of the Browns and what to expect from them

By Ryan Lewis Published: February 8, 2013

This is the ninth in a 20-part series examining some possibilities for the Browns in the 2013 NFL Draft, including extensive looks at the most likely prospects for the No. 6 overall selection, potential targets later in the draft, trade-down scenarios, what the other teams in the AFC North might do and the top players coming out of Ohio State and the Mid-American Conference. 

Each morning will bring a new, daily posting leading up the NFL Scouting Combine on Feb 20. 

Today, we take a look at the five teams drafting ahead of the Browns in the first round and break down a couple of potential scenarios.

geno-smith.jpeg

Overview of each team: 1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): The Chiefs are a bit of a statistical anomaly as they had three times as many pro bowlers (six) as wins. So there's talent on the roster for new head coach Andy Reid. News for the next few weeks in Kansas City will surround impending free agents, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and left tackle Brandon Albert, both of whom could command top-dollar price tags on the open market. It isn't believed the team can keep both stars, though the team has some cap space and some handy work with other contracts could be done to make room. Much of what the Chiefs do in the draft will hinge on where Albert ends up and if Reid chooses to find a new franchise quarterback.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): The Jaguars are also going through a regime change after an abysmal season that had much fewer bright spots than in Kansas City. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been a bust despite promising starts to the careers of receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in last year's draft. The team also ranked dead last in the NFL with 20 sacks.

3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): The Raiders are reeling. Considering the Cincinnati Bengals' troubles to move quarterback Carson Palmer, the heavy price tag of a first- and second-round pick hasn't paid off, setting the franchise back and leaving Oakland with few options. Palmer is set to make a base salary of $13 million in 2013. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports listed Palmer as a potential cap casualty, saying Oakland won't pay him that kind of money. A 3-4 start to the 2012 season was tampered with a horrid finish -- the Raiders' only win during the final nine weeks of the season was over the team picking No. 1 overall.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Again, a great team on paper didn't translate to the field, and it cost Reid his job. Enter new head coach Chip Kelly and his high-speed, spread offense. In a division with the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, the Eagles seem to be a couple of steps behind. After starting 3-1 (which included wins over the Baltimore Ravens and Giants), the team fell apart, finishing 1-11. Quarterback Michael Vick struggled for much of the season with turnovers and then with injuries. His future with the team is now uncertain.

5. Detroit Lions (4-12): A record-breaking season from wide receiver Calvin Johnson wasn't enough to save the Lions. Detroit's secondary struggled again, and the defensive line hasn't panned out quite like the Lions' brass had hoped. There are quality pieces in place scattered throughout the roster, but head coach Jim Schwartz hasn't found the player or players to bring everything together.

Here are four of the most reputable mock drafts currently available:

NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler:

1. Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
2. Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
3. Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
4. Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
5. Lions: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

Brugler has Reid and the Chiefs selecting their new franchise QB in Smith. Smith seemed to be a lock for the No. 1 pick in September and October but couldn't sustain the hot start to his season. Still, he's a quarterback, and quarterbacks play by different rules because of their value to an offense. The Minnesota Vikings' Christan Ponder, the Tennessee Titans' Jake Locker and perhaps the Miami Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill are all examples of signal callers who didn't grade as high as the players drafted around them but shot up draft boards because of the position they play. As all four analysts see it, the Jaguars have a massive need for a pass rusher around the edge, one of the best positions in this draft class to pick from. Werner certainly fits that mold and his comparisons to J.J. Watt won't hurt. Lotulelei and Joeckel, the No. 3 and No. 4 picks here, are each thought by some to be the best overall player in the class. The Raiders are expected to look at their defensive line and the Eagles, implementing Kelly's offense, could improve the offensive line with a franchise left tackle. The Lions are left with Moore, a versatile pass rusher to help with a below-average pass defense.

In this mock, the Browns end up with Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, LSU DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo and Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones as the top options. Brugler has the Browns going with Milliner, the draft's top cornerback, to play opposite Joe Haden.

NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang:

1. Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
2. Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
3. Raiders: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
4. Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
5. Lions: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

Rang also has the Chiefs selecting Smith No. 1 overall. Likewise, he has the Jaguars taking a pass rusher (this time Moore over Werner) and the Raiders addressing the front seven with Werner. He also agrees with Brugler at No. 4 with the top offensive tackle being taken off the board by the Eagles. And he has the Lions taking one of the pass rushers available. Only one player in the top-five is swapped (Mingo for Lotulelei), and Moore is taken before Werner, but it follows the same blueprint of picks.

This would leave the Browns with Milliner, Jones and perhaps Alabama guard Chance Warmack (even though Warmack plays a position not normally taken in the top 10, he is said to have the kind of talent that can buck the trend) as the top options. Rang has the Browns taking Jones, who might be the draft's best player but will have to check out with team doctors after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis.

ESPN's Todd McShay:

1.Chiefs: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
2. Jaguars: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
3. Raiders: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
4. Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
5. Lions: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

Lotulelei is thought by some to be this draft's top player. And Werner fits the mold as the Jaguars' pass-rusher. Milliner to Oakland is certainly a possibility, as he is the top CB and fits a glaring need in the secondary (which happens to also fit the description of what the Eagles might be looking for). Joeckel to the Eagles, again, is thought to be a solid pick if he falls to No. 4. Jordan, going to the Lions, at least at this point is a surprise. Jordan is thought to be a very athletic pass rusher capable of playing multiple roles on the front seven, but he isn't often ranked above the others at his position (Moore, Mingo, etc.). He's a converted tight end who is said to be raw but could climb draft boards in the offseason.

If Browns coach Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Ray Horton like the pass rushers in this draft class, this is a nice setup. This leaves the Browns to choose between Moore, Mingo and Jones, thought to be three of the draft's top pass rushers on the outside to fit in the 3-4 multi-front scheme to be employed. McShay has the Browns picking Mingo.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr:

1. Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
2. Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
3. Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
4. Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
5. Lions: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Kiper's mock is the first assuming the Chiefs let Albert walk in free agency. Joeckel slides in and fills the space left there. Moore is again the pick to the Jaguars at No. 2 overall, and Kiper also has the Raiders addressing the defensive line with Lotulelei. Like McShay, he has the Eagles taking Milliner to fix a horrid secondary. Kiper has Jones, the No. 1 player on his board, rounding out his top five to the Lions.

Kiper still has the Browns taking Werner, as he did in his first mock. Werner is thought to be very athletic, enough to switch to a 3-4, though he's believed to be a much better fit in a 4-3. His pure pass rushing skills might be able to overlook a growing period, though.

Notes:  The first rule of looking at the draft this early -- before the NFL Scouting Combine and the start of free agency -- is keeping in mind that just about everything can change. Teams could trade for a quarterback, contract extensions don't work out, etc. Everything is fluid.

If Albert leaves the Chiefs, Reid can find his franchise left tackle rather easily in Joeckel, who in all four of the mocks is taken in the top four. All four mocks also have the Jaguars taking a pass rusher (Moore or Werner) and the Raiders finding a piece along their defensive line/front seven. Should Joeckel fall to the Eagles, all three mocks with that scenario have him being taken off the board. And all four mocks have the Lions taking a pass rusher as well.

What this all means for the Browns is that a couple pass rushers who could be employed into the 3-4 multi-front scheme the team will be running will be off the board by the sixth pick. In some, it's three pass rushers gone in the top five. How these players (Werner, Moore, Mingo, Jones, Jordan) jockey for position over the next few months might determine the Browns' pick. Three teams in the top five, like the Browns, have a glaring need to address their pass rush or their pass defense (Milliner).

So it's about teams taking players that won't show up on the Browns draft board (Joeckel is a fantastic left tackle, but with Joe Thomas and  Mitchell Schwartz on the roster, isn't an option for the Browns). The Chiefs taking Smith helps here, which leaves Joeckel (Eagles) and Lotulelei (Raiders) as options later. This might push Milliner and a pass rusher down the board to the Browns.

It's also possible the Jaguars follow the trend and take a quarterback much higher than his draft grade. Mike Glennon of North Carolina State, Matt Barkley of Southern California and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas, all projected to go inside the top eight by at least one of the four analysts, could enter the discussion. If not, a pass rusher seems likely.

The Lions have similar needs as the Browns and could either take another pass rusher or Milliner off the board right ahead of them. Even if the first four picks unfold the way the Browns expect, the Lions could still snatch up whoever Chudzinski, CEO Joe Banner and vice president of player personnel Mike Lombardi have their eyes on. At this point in time, the No. 5 pick is the main selection to keep an eye on.

Print
Add This

OHIO.COM VIDEOS

Prev Next

Browns news, features and notes

SUBSCRIBE VIA RSS