2012 NFL Draft - Cleveland Browns

Posted Apr 28, 2012

Cleveland Browns - AFC North, 2012 Draft Selections & Prospects


Cleveland Browns

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay  

- 2011 Cleveland Draft Breakdown
- 2010 Cleveland Draft Breakdown

The Draft Was ... a possible game-changer. Nothing shifts the momentum of a franchise faster than bringing in a key new skill position player, and the Browns got two with RB Trent Richardson and QB Brandon Weeden. However, the rest of the draft was mediocre. DT John Hughes was a puzzler in the third round, and LB Emmanuel Acho and DT Billy Winn were nice names but probably won't do much from the sixth round. There are plenty of bodies, but the draft is all about what happens up top with Richardson and Weeden.
Best Value Pick: DT Billy Winn, Boise State, 6th round
Worst Value Pick: WR Travis Benjamin, Miami, 4th round
They Should've ... gone after a better wide receiver. Hughes doesn't make a whole bunch of sense, especially in the third round, especially with Chris Givens still on the board. Instead, Givens went with the first pick in the first round and Cleveland took Benjamin four picks later.
Division Draft Ranking: 2
Overall Draft Ranking: 3

First Round

RB Trent Richardson, Alabama (Jr.) 5-9, 228
Overall Pick No. 3 CFN Overall Ranking: 6

CFN Analysis: Cleveland wanted its guy and it moved up to get him. At the No. 3 pick he needs to become a feature workhorse back who becomes another LaDainian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson. Can he last? Can he be a 25-carry, 16-game back? Unless the Browns have plans at some point to address the quarterback situation, he had better be the prepared to be the entire offense right away. On the plus side, though, the Browns didn't give up all that much to move up one spot, giving Minnesota a 4th, 5th, and 7th.

It's not a question of whether or not Richardson is a great talent; it's a question of whether or not he'll be worth a high draft pick in today's day and age of interchangeable running backs.

Very quick, freakishly strong, and rocked up in perfect shape, he has all the tools. He might be a little shorter than some might like, and there's no room to get any bigger, and he always seems to have a ding of some sort, but it's all there to be a franchise back, and yes, if there's any one back who might be worth a high pick, Richardson could be it.

He's a natural, creative runner who can both flash to the outside and move and can crank out tough plays on the inside. While he's not afraid of contact, that's more of a problem at times because he takes a beating with knee problems a major concern for his shelf life. Anyone taking him high, though, will have to do its homework on exactly who he was great against with most of his stats coming against the mediocre. Of his 21 rushing scores last year, 14 came against teams that didn't go bowling. However, he has all the skills to be an even better pro than a collegian with the talent to be used in a variety of ways including as a nice outlet receiver.

With the right attitude and character he's not a diva and will do all the dirty work needed to get better, and he'll love the idea of being a workhorse as long as he can hold up. Fine, so he'll be overdrafted considering the position doesn't matter like it did ten years ago, but that doesn't mean he won't produce.
CFN Projection: First Round

First Round
(from Atlanta)

QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
6-4, 221
Overall Pick No. 22 CFN Overall Ranking: 54

CFN Analysis: He'll be a sitting duck in the pocket and he has to start NOW for the pick to work, but Cleveland has its backfield and has upgraded its offense in a huge, huge way with Trent Richardson at the three and now with Weeden. The Browns needed big-time players to try to create more of an identity, and now they have one. No, there's no quarterback controversy. Weeden needs to be the starter from the second the wheels touch down.

Way too old – turning 28 turning the season – way too immobile, and with no time whatsoever to season, there are plenty of reasons to stay away. But for a team that could use a ready-made passer to step in and make a good offense sharp right away, Weeden could be the readiest of all the quarterback prospects. A professional in his demeanor with years as a minor league baseball player on the résumé, nothing fazes him. The arm is terrific, the motion is quick, and he's deadly accurate, but he's not going to move and will end up taking some huge shots. More than anything else, though, this is it. He might be a perfect No. 2 quarterback who can save a season by stepping in and producing for five games, but he has the talent, the arm, and the intangibles to make a difference right away.
CFN Projection: Third Round

Second Round

OT Mitchell Schwartz, California 6-5, 317
Overall Pick No. 37 CFN Overall Ranking: 141

CFN Analysis: The Browns really, really need to get a wide receiver at some point soon, but it's going to be a while before they pick again. After addressing the skill stars in the first round with Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, they made sure the right tackle spot was solidified with a decent prospect who can move. This is a wee bit of a reach even through he was fantastic during Senior Bowl week. He's a good technician who can play right away, but he can't work at left tackle and he could end up spending most of his NFL career at guard. There will be plenty of second guessing if Stephen Hill or Rueben Randle turn out to be fantastic.

Versatile, he can either be an athletic guard or a solid right tackle with plenty of experience and good consistency. While he could see time on the left side if needed, he'll be at his best when he doesn't have to deal with the speedy rushers on the blindside. After seeing so much playing time he has his technique down and doesn't need a ton of polish, and he's crafty enough to make up for his mistakes by outthinking is man. There's a huge concern about a back injury that's going to be a problem throughout his career, and it's enough to be a glaring red flag and possibly even knock him off some draft boards. If he's healthy he'll be a steady NFL starter, but how reliable can he be if he struggles with his back? Considering his lack of upside, he's a buyer beware pick.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

Third Round

DE John Hughes, Cincinnati 6-3, 309
Overall Pick No. 87 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked
CFN Analysis: The Browns were doing so well and they were bringing in so many talents, and then this. The defensive interior needs beefing up, and stopping the run is a must, but Hughes is a run-of-the-mill tackle who won't do anything other than work in a rotation - at best.

A big body for the interior of the line, he was a steady starter on the nose while others, like Derek Wolfe, were able to shine and do get all the glory. An anchor, he manages to hold up well and does a lot of the dirty work needed. However, he doesn't move, won't be a pass rusher at the next level and won't be around on third downs. There's nothing special about his game and he'll have to show something great right away to make a roster.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

Fourth Round

WR Travis Benjamin, Miami 5-10, 172
Overall Pick No. 100   CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked
CFN Analysis: He doesn't have the size, but he's a blazer with the speed to blast the top off a defense. However, he'll need plays designed for him. He doesn't have the size to be a major part of an offense and can be erased by just about anyone who gets a hand on him, but can he be too quick for defenses? He's can be used in a variety of ways and he has the phenomenal speed that can't be coached, but he's a luxury pick and a toy for an offensive coordinator to play around with.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

Fourth Round

ILB James-Michael Johnson, Nevada 6-1, 241
Overall Pick No. 120 CFN Overall Ranking: 135
Arguably the best pure middle linebacker in the draft, he's built for the position and has the technique and toughness to handle himself as a rock in the middle of a 4-3. With great character and a solid work ethic, he has everything in place to be a quarterback up of a defensive front and he'll do whatever is needed to make a play. While he's not a flier, and he's not going to blow anyone up, he has good enough range to get by and he's a solid athlete. The problem is that he might not be for everyone. He can try to work on the outside – and played there at times at Nevada - but he's going to be far more productive if he's stuck in the middle.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

Fifth Round

OG Ryan Miller, Colorado
6-8, 323
Overall Pick No. 160 CFN Overall Ranking: 142
A superstar offensive tackle prospect, he has the size and the length to work at right tackle if needed, even though his career will be spent as an athletic guard. While he's too tall for the position – he's way too tall to throw over – he's a bit too upright and can't quite get the leverage needed. Even though he doesn't look quite right, he'll beat people up and there's no problem whatsoever lighting his fire. While he's strong, he's not going to flatten anyone and tends to work better when he gets to maul. There's a lot to like and he'll work to make himself into a regular, but he needs to be on a line where he can zone-block and not be a power blaster.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

Sixth Round

ILB Emmanuel Acho, Texas 6-1, 238
Overall Pick No. 204 CFN Overall Ranking: 168
Where is he a fit? He's not quite big enough to be a top interior presence, and he's not fast enough to work outside. While he's smooth and he moves well, he's a 4.7 40 runner who doesn't time nearly as fast as he plays. Coaches are going to bend over backwards to want him to work out. With ideal character and the perfect personality for a locker room, all the intangibles are in place to go along with good tackling skills, but he's missing too many NFL tools, doesn't hit with a purpose, and has way too many deficiencies to be a star of a starting linebacker. Even so, he'll be a nice swing defender who can be used in a variety of spots and will do whatever is needed to be a part of a team.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

Sixth Round

DT Billy Winn, Boise State 6-3, 294
Overall Pick No. 205 CFN Overall Ranking: 84
A nice all-around player, Winn's an active run defender who can maul an offensive lineman, and he's athletic enough to be used as a strong interior pass rusher. Quick and with a nice repertoire of moves, at the very least he could be a specialist end in a 3-4 or could even be moved to the outside as a big 4-3. However, while he was a productive college player, he has limited tools and might have a hard-ceiling. A finesse defender, he's not an anchor and he has to get stronger, but he'll be a disruptive force if bigger defenders are doing the heavy lifting against the run.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

Seventh Round

CB Trevin Wade, Arizona 5-10, 192
Overall Pick No. 245 CFN Overall Ranking: 233
Far better on tape than in workouts, he didn't do much in the short drills and his best time was a 4.56. However, he hovered around the high 4.6s at times. Even so, he's great when the ball is in the air and is a proven tackler who can come up with the stop in the open field. No, he's not a blazer, but he can kick it into gear when he's able to gear up to another level. There are concerns about his consistency and he doesn't always seem to have the light on, but he's a good enough talent to be tried out as a backup corner and dime defender.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

Seventh Round

TE Brad Smelley, Alabama (FB) 6-2, 233
Overall Pick No. 247 CFN Overall Ranking: 238
A jack of all trades player, he could find a home as a fullback who'll occasionally move outside to tight end. A great H-back prospect and a proven receiver, he turned into a big part of a national championship offense and emerged as AJ McCarron and the Tide passing game started to improve. A good blocker and with nice hands and smarts, he's a good football player. However, he doesn't have NFL talent missing athleticism and the right body. Built like a fullback, he's too short and doesn't have the speed to make up for it. A bit of a luxury pick, he'll be a special teamer to start before being a decent backup option at several spots.
CFN Projection: Free Agent