Packers 2016 Draft: Last minute NFL mock draft
By Kenn Korb
Pick #8 — Cleveland Browns
As seems to always be the case with the Browns, even when they do something good, they find a way to mess up.
Cleveland did well in trading down to receive more picks to for their long-term rebuild, but the spot they traded down to removes them from all of the top-tier candidates of this particular draft. They could obviously trade down further (that would be the smartest move), but in this mock I’m not taking future trades into account.
So if they are picking here, who can reasonably be considered? Well, that list is pretty long, with no concrete answer.
Elliott would be a dynamic option for a moribund offense that needs talent everywhere, but while he has those Adrian Peterson comparisons, drafting a runner this high doesn’t rank as strong value these days.
A receiver like Laquon Treadwell would be far and away the best offensive weapon they have had in years (outside of the oft-suspended Josh Gordon, who due to his near-constant absence from the team I am not really counting here), but he nor any other wideout is a slam dunk-level player definitively worthy of a top-10 selection; also, it’s decently likely that one of the top few options at that spot could be available when the Browns select early in the second round.
Vernon Hargreaves is the top corner behind Jalen Ramsey (unless you see Ramsey as a safety; in that case, Hargreaves is the top option), but the Browns have Joe Haden and just spent a recent 1st rounder on massive bust Justin Gilbert; even if the latter gets cut (which is a legitimate option), the team may be somewhat gun-shy to jump on a hyped-up CB prospect after a trade down in the first round yet again.
Ronnie Stanley may be the best lineman behind Tunsil, but the Browns still have one of the league’s best left tackles in Joe Thomas, and have invested plenty of high picks in the line to date; fans might revolt if they see another, especially if it’s one that won’t play right away.
Reggie Ragland could be a surprise option for the lacking spot in the center of the defense, but inside linebackers always tend to be undervalued (both in the draft and in terms of overall contract value expectations), and the Browns have done everything possible to make it know they are focused on being smarter in the way they conduct the building of their team.
Leonard Floyd, Kevin Dodd, A’Shawn Robinson, Robert Nkemdiche, Sheldon Rankins, Shaq Lawson, Chris Jones; all could have a case for this spot in one way or another.
At the end of the day, if they do remain here I think the team eventually goes with Hargreaves. They need a high-end producer to put opposite of Joe Haden, he’s arguably the best player available, and really, a smart organization shouldn’t allow fear of the mistakes made by the previous regime to determine their own decisions and evaluations going forward.