ESPN.com published analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s first mock draft of the year this morning, and he predicted the Browns will select Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner sixth overall.
The German-born Werner, who’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds by Florida State, finished the 2012 season with 40 tackles, including 13 sacks and a team-high 18 tackles for loss, and seven pass break-ups. Werner, a junior, was named the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. He started for the Seminoles in each of the past two seasons.
But Kiper conceded Werner wouldn’t be a logical fit for the Browns if they decide to switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme, a transition they seem likely to make with new coach Rob Chudzinski in charge. The Browns have yet to hire a new defensive coordinator, but Chudzinski has indicated he likes hybrid defenses that can alternate between 3-4 and 4-3 alignments.
“Werner’s a 4-3 defensive end,” Kiper said today during a conference call. “That’s what he is. There are some guys who could play in both schemes obviously that you can look at. But they could also figure at that point, ‘OK, if we’re going to be a 3-4 team, then obviously it becomes a linebacker-driven defense.’
“So we’ll have to see how it all shakes down. Werner, to me, with his pass-rush ability, his great motor, the way he established himself this year as a complete defensive end, kind of has a little bit of a Chris Long-type mode of operation out there. That’s who he kind of reminds me of. Chris Long was the second pick overall [in 2008] and has had a heck of a career in St. Louis so far.”
Kiper identified guard, cornerback and wide receiver as other positions the Browns might target at No. 6.
“If you look at the offensive line, you could certainly look at a Chance Warmack, the guard from Alabama,” Kiper said. “There are some other options that you have. You could certainly look at a cornerback at some point. Josh Gordon did a great job as a young, developing receiver, but you could look at a receiver at some point, [Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle] Patterson being the guy that people would look at in the early first round as maybe a little bit of stretch, but a guy with great upside.”
Kiper didn’t name Alabama’s Dee Milliner as an option for the Browns, but he’s the top-rated cornerback in the draft, which will be held April 25-27. Kiper has the Philadelphia Eagles picking Milliner at No. 4.