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The Cleveland Browns faced challenges as did the rest of the league when it came to drafting players virtually from their own homes. New general manager Andrew Berry and his team seemed to operate very smoothly when it came to making their picks. So let’s take a look at each selection and see how well they did, with grades from our Browns’ experts, Eric Urbanowicz and L.A. Broadus:
10th Overall Pick – Jedrick Wills Jr., Offensive Lineman (Alabama)
Going into the draft, Jedrick Wills Jr was viewed as one of the “big four” offensive tackles in the draft. The biggest question is if he can make the transition from right tackle to left. Otherwise, he and fellow tackle Andrew Thomas (Georgia) we’re seen as One-A and One-B at the tackle position throughout the draft process.
Eric’s Grade: B+
He’s projected to be a great tackle, even to the point that some believe him to be in the range of a good starter to All-Pro. While he exclusively played right tackle at Alabama, he was protecting a left-handed quarterback (Tua Tagovailoa) and watching his blindside.
What’s stopping him from being an A or even an A- is that he’s never played left tackle. There’s a good chance he can transition but since it’s still an unknown, he’s going to be deducted.
L.A.’s Grade: B+
Wills was rated by some to be the top tackle in this draft. Browns’ legend Joe Thomas raved about Wills ability to change direction and how he creates power with his ankles, knees and hips.
My grade would be higher but it will depend on if he can successfully transition to the left side. As many have said, if there’s a tackle that can do it Wills can… even though that’s not a guarantee.
44th Overall Pick – Grant Delpit, Safety (LSU)
Following an exciting 2018-19 campaign, Delpit took a bit of a step back on 2019-20. However, he still produced enough to be named the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award, given to top defensive back in college football. While he’s seen as one of the top safeties, the biggest question is his ability to tackle.
Eric’s Grade: A-
The first of several steals in this draft, Delpit will be a good complement to fellow safety Karl Joseph. Add in the fact that defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ specialty is secondary, this could be a great match.
L.A.’s Grade: A
The Browns are trying to build a culture in the locker room and what better way to do that then to add a tough confident player in Delpit. Delpit’s biggest perceived weakness was his tackling last year… but it was revealed that he played injured (high ankle sprain).
With that being said, he has the size and length to be an amazing cover safety in the NFL. Delpit says that tackling will not be an issue and if that’s the case the will be a home run pick for the Browns.
88th Overall Pick – Jordan Elliott, Defensive Tackle (Missouri)
After transferring from Texas, Elliott came to Missouri and became a stud. His ability to control the gap and to shoot them has opened up opportunities to get the hit behind the line of scrimmage. His biggest question has come from when his motor cools and he can’t finish.
Eric’s Grade: B-
Talent-wise, this is a full-on A and ultimately a good pick with Sheldon Richardson, Larry Ogunjobi and Andrew Billings being on one-year deals. What knocks it down though is that this pick cost them a chance at Wisconsin linebacker Zach Baun, who was a more urgent need at the time.
Elliott will be an asset to Cleveland but needs sometimes trump talent. Either way, glad to see him in orange and brown.
L.A.’s Grade: B
I like this pick based on value and talent for the Browns. Elliot had one of the best QB pressure grades in this draft according to Pro Football Focus. With the looming questions of Larry Ogunjobi (free agency) and Sheldon Richardson (cap hit), its good that the Browns added some depth at this position.
97th Overall Pick – Jacob Phillips, Linebacker (LSU)
Basically the “other linebacker” next to Patrick Queen, Phillips was seen as a tackling machine. A reliable tackler and good in coverage. His biggest issue, however, is his lack of leadership on the field and explosive athleticism.
Eric’s Grade: B
With Baun and Wyoming’s Logan Wilson already off the board, it came down to Phillips vs Ohio State’s Malik Harrison, who was taken with the next pick.
Given that Cleveland lost their leading tackler in linebacker Joe Schobert, they needed a sure tackler. They get that in Phillips who in two years missed three tackles. The question of his ceiling is what keeps him low.
L.A.’s Grade: C
Phillips wasn’t necessarily bad nor was it the best of picks as they had some other linebackers that they could’ve drafted at this spot. Phillips does possess what the Browns needed in his ability to tackle.
With the team letting both Schobert and Christain Kirksey leave in free agency, the biggest question will be who can lead this young group on the field.
115th Overall Pick – Harrison Bryant, Tight End (Florida Atlantic)
High football IQ, athletic traits and toughness as a blocker made Bryant a much sought after tight end. Early comparisons were to San Francisco’s George Kittle. Though he’s too light to be a Y-tight end, he has the potential to be a great one.
Eric’s Grade: A
The Browns added Austin Hooper to a tight end room with Stephen Carlson and David Njoku. With Njoku’s future uncertain, Bryant could become Cleveland’s version of George Kittle or Travis Kelce. If he can work on his blocking, he may be the ultimate steal of the draft.
L.A.’s grade: B+
This is the pick that really intrigues me. The Browns already had a fairly strong tight end room and it just got a lot stronger. Bryant has all the traits to be an all-around player at his position, which is rare since teams usually have a catching and a blocking tight end that they carry on the roster.
Tight End is a tough position to learn since they are both a receiver and a lineman. As long as he can come along at a decent pace he should turn into an outstanding player.
160th Overall Pick – Nick Harris, Offensive Lineman (Washington)
A hard worker, Nick Harris is mainly known as a center with some experience at guard. While not physically imposing, his grit and technique made him an intriguing prospect.
Eric’s Grade: C
Yes, he was compared to Philadelphia Eagles’ center Jason Kelce and yes he’ll learn under J.C. Tretter for the next few years. However, with questions at the defensive end, maybe this wasn’t the time for an investment pick.
L.A.’s Grade: C
Harris has the ability to be a really good center but the Browns just extended starting center J.C. Tretter and according to GM Andrew Berry, he is in their long term plans.
Harris has the ability to play some guard as well so it will be interesting to see if he can compete for the right guard spot. If he happens to win the starting spot at guard this grade will change. If not, the Browns could’ve added a more important piece with this pick.
187th Overall Pick – Donovan Peoples-Jones, Wide Receiver (Michigan)
An all-conference all-purpose threat, Peoples-Jones could do it all at Michigan. He could catch the ball on the outside, he could return kicks, he could score…really there wasn’t much he couldn’t do. Projected to be a third or fourth-round pick, he fell hard when wide receivers didn’t really go on run.
Eric’s Grade: A+
Though he has pro-level limitations, Peoples-Jones has the potential to do big things in the NFL. Most believe that a bulk of his struggles came from Jim Harbaugh’s offense. Given he’ll be going to a place with better weapons around him and a pro-level quarterback, he may be the ultimate steal of the draft.
L.A.’s Grade: A
This was a low-risk, high reward pick and it couldn’t have gotten better than this. Peoples-Jones played on a struggling offense at Michigan and would’ve been rated much higher if he played somewhere that showcased his skill set better.
He has the size and speed to compete for the third spot at receiver and has the ability to compete as a kick/punt returner. Most feel that his best football has yet to be played and he will get his opportunity soon.