The 2018 NFL Draft was huge for the Cleveland Browns as they had new leadership within the front office and with a bevy of picks John Dorsey and crew were looking to score big and turn around one of the worst franchises in sports. Our Cleveland Browns 2018 NFL Draft Review analyzes each of the Browns to see how they did.
Cleveland Browns 2018 NFL Draft Review
1st Round, Pick #1: Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
Even though Mayfield was rumored to be the pick leading up to the draft and even when Scott McCloughan was hired, this pick as still a bit of a surprise. But you have to assume the Browns felt that Mayfield has a bit of Brett Farve in him and that lead them to make the pick. Mayfield does have good ball placement skills and a knack for making plays. But if he is going to avoid being the next Browns bust at quarterback he needs to contain his competitiveness and improve on his decision making.
1st Round, Pick #4: Denzel Ward CB Ohio State
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) January 1, 2018
Playing an aggressive defense that leaves the cornerbacks on an island it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that the Browns ended up taking the best cornerback in this class. Ward thrives in man to man defense using his quick feet and top end speed to stick with defenders in and out of breaks. Sure getting a pass rusher like Bradley Chubb would have been nice, but Ward isn’t a big drop off and fills a position that is much weaker than end.
2nd Round, Pick #1: Austin Corbett OT Nevada
While Corbett played left tackle at Nevada he was looked to transition inside to guard in the NFL because he’s much better in a phone booth and lacks the foot speed to play on the outside. That being said the Browns are deep in the interior and their only glaring need is at left tackle. You don’t draft a player with the 33rd overall pick with the intention to play him as a backup. With a weak tackle class the Browns may have felt this was their best option, but this doesn’t look promising for either Corbett or the Browns.
2nd Round, Pick #3: Nick Chubb RB Georgia
Cleveland clearly needed to upgrade their rushing attack and adding Chubb to Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson gives them a deep unit. I like Chubb as a prospect (4th RB) he does have knee issues and is a limited back. Derrius Guice was the better prospect but the Browns probably felt better with Chubb personality wise and decided that they couldn’t get a comparable back later on. So it may have been a bit of a reach, but if Chubb goes on to be a good starting back it won’t matter.
3rd Round, Pick #3: Chad Thomas DE Miami
Thomas is a powerful defensive end that has the size and strength to be a base defensive end in the Browns 4-3 defense. His is a bit raw but he lacks the bend and burst to beat offensive tackles off the ball on a consistent basis. While he does have some starter upside he’ll likely be a rotational player behind Myles Garrett.
4th Round, Pick #5: Antonio Callaway WR Florida
To be frank I was surprised that Callaway was even drafted because of his laundry list of off the field issues. But the Browns are hoping that they can turn the troubled receiver around and utilize his explosiveness to help the offense score points. Personally I’d be surprised if he’s in the league three years from now.
5th Round, Pick #13: Genard Avery LB Memphis
Avery gives the Browns a linebacker that plays fast and can change directions well. He is much a better in the run game attacking the ball while he lacks that same ability dropping into coverage. Linebacker isn’t a huge need for the Browns as the trio of Christian Kirksey, Jamie Collins and Joe Schobert have played well. At a minimum Avery should be a good coverage player on special teams which will allow him to work on his coverage skills and carve out a reserve role.
6th Round, Pick #1: Damion Ratley WR Texas A&M
While Ratley wasn’t used much at Texas A&M he has a good blend of height and speed that allows him to work downfield as a big play threat. Cleveland has invested a lot in the receiver position the past couple of years to no luck. If Ratley can prove to fill that specific role, he has a shot to stick on the roster. But he’l likely a practice squad guy.
6th Round, Pick #14: Simeon Thomas CB Louisiana
As most 6th and 7th round prospects Simeon Thomas is the perfect height, weight, speed type of prospect. At 6’3 with 4.40 speed he has the traits to be a press man corner. But Thomas is still a raw technique wise and is a big project.