ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his grades for the NFL Draft Sunday and discussed them this morning during a conference call. Kiper gave the Browns a B for filling needs, an A- for getting value out of their picks and an overall draft grade of B+.
"I think every one of these players makes their team," Kiper said of the Browns' eight draft picks. "I could see five starters out of this group very easily, and every one of them will be contributors. I could easily see in a couple years five of these kids being in the starting lineup."
Here are Kiper's quick thoughts on each of the Browns' selections:
However, Kiper didn't have a problem with the Browns later trading the 27th overall pick and their original third-round selection (No. 70) to the Kansas City Chiefs, so they could move up and take Taylor at No. 21. Kiper said he thinks the New Orleans Saints could have picked Taylor at No. 24, and he said the New York Jets were candidates to trade up and take Taylor ahead of the Browns at No. 27.
"I don't really have a problem with that," Kiper said. "Phil Taylor is a big-time, stay-at-home defensive tackle. I mean this kid will occupy. He's gonna command double teams. He's gonna be great against the run. He's gonna free up your middle linebacker. He's gonna do a good job. I thought at that particular point, you really can't argue with (trading up to take Taylor).
"You think back to Gilbert Brown, how valuable he was to the Green Bay Packers all those years. You think about what Pat Williams has meant to the Minnesota Vikings. These huge defensive tackles that have some athletic ability and some talent, which (Taylor) has, are very valuable. Now what he needs to do is work on his endurance and his stamina. If he does that (and) the strength and conditioning coach gets him up to speed there, you've got yourself a heck of a player."