By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on May 4, 2014
The NFL Draft is less than a week away and thoughts on who the Browns will select are as unclear as ever. There are plenty of holes the Browns need to fill, and this year's deep draft has made the guessing game difficult. There has been some slight shifting since the last mock draft, and the signing of Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen alters the Browns' plans as well.
Here's a look at the Browns' final complete seven-round mock draft in 2014.
At No. 4, the Browns still decide to go with Sammy Watkins, the playmaker out of Clemson. While Cleveland isn’t desperate for receivers, Watkins is a "can’t-miss" prospect who, along with Josh Gordon, will strike fear in opposing defenses. The Browns are in need of a QB, but with so many options at the position, Cleveland can afford to draft Watkins with the fourth overall choice.
In the final mock draft, Cleveland drafts potential franchise quarterback, Fresno State's Derek Carr. The Browns have been getting heavily acquainted with Carr, and the decision-makers in Cleveland are reportedly very high on him. The Browns could also look for a highly rated cornerback at No. 26, but expect the Browns to take Carr if he’s around late in the first.
The Browns are in need of adding defensive back help, specifically at cornerback. Jean-Baptiste is a big, physical corner at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, and could be the long-term starter alongside Joe Haden in Cleveland. With the size of the receivers in today's NFL, Jean-Baptiste will deter jump-ball situations. Although he's a bigger DB, he is not extremely physical, which hurts his ability to tackle.
The offensive line is an area the Browns will be taking a close look at during the draft. Turner is a powerful run blocker who can get off the line quickly to push back his assignment. The LSU product's stock keeps rising up the draft boards and the Browns are in need of a guard who can instantly produce, especially with Ben Tate's arrival in Cleveland and a renewed emphasis on the running the game.
Staying the offensive lineman course, look for the Browns to seek a tackle with their next pick. Ohio State's Jack Mewhort is a tough tackle who has experience protecting prized quarterbacks. If Cleveland decides to select Mewhort, he will be able to instantly compete for the right-tackle position. Although drafting two offensive lineman in the third round doesn't look appealing, the Browns give themselves more options heading into camp.
Although his stock has dropped, Reynolds is still a viable option for the Browns' secondary. The Browns need help at defensive back; while they have a young free safety in Tashaun Gipson, he is unproven. Selecting Ed Reynolds in the fourth round would give the Browns another option to play opposite veteran Donte Whitner.
For the second time in the draft, the Browns select a cornerback. This time it's Utah State's Nevin Lawson. Lawson was brought in to meet with the Browns in late April, so there is a real interest. Lawson is smaller than ideal, but he makes up for it with his physical play and ball skills, something Browns' cornerbacks have lacked.
Although they signed Ben Tate this offseason, the Browns could use another running back to compete in training camp for a roster spot. UCF's Storm Johnson has the tools to make it in the next level, including his physicality and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He should be strongly considered by Cleveland in the fifth round.
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.
An injury held Ben Gardner out of the Rose Bowl in 2013 and may have hurt his draft stock, but Gardner gets the call in the seventh round 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.
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