By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on April 24, 2014
The NFL draft is what separates the good teams from the bad, but what separates those good franchises is the ability to land NFL Draft sleeper picks. It's not hard to tell from the Cleveland Browns' struggles that they have been unable to put together a full seven-round draft. While they haven't been overly mentioned as targets for the Browns, here are five sleeper picks who fit perfectly in Cleveland.
When the Browns signed Karlos Dansby in the offseason, they were looking for a dynamic inside linebacker who could stop the run and defend in the passing game. The Browns have young inside linebackers to go along with Dansby, but could afford to add to the linebacking depth with the likes of Williamson. He is an athletic guy who is more of a pass defender, but can fly around the field to make tackles or get to the outside.
The Browns should look to add another running back in this year's draft. Enter Storm Johnson. The RB out of UCF declared early, and for good reason; he's a sizable back who can run up the middle and/or catch passes out of the backfield. Notions that Johnson could be headed to Cleveland have picked up recently as he would be an excellent complement to Ben Tate.
The Browns are in need of cornerback help. It can be expected that they will look for a CB earlier in the draft, but with a glaring need, Cleveland could target Exum in the later rounds. Exum is a physical corner whose stock has dropped on account of ball awareness. His size is what interests teams, so while he may be a project, Exum would be an excellent sleeper pick with the right coaching.
What he lacks in size, Steen makes up for it in toughness and ability to hold off defenders. Steen has gone under the radar during pre-draft talks, mainly because he is undersized compared to many of his fellow Alabama offensive linemen, past and present. The fact that Steen hails from 'Bama is a huge positive as it's no secret the Crimson Tide filter top players into the NFL.
An injury held Ben Gardner out of the Rose Bowl in 2013 and may have hurt his draft stock, but Gardner could be a late-round sleeper with the Browns. Gardner is a tenacious pass rusher who can also stop the run. Although the Browns have a heavy amount of defensive lineman, the Stanford product has the work ethic to make the Cleveland roster and could be a staple in the NFL.
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