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ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. Gives the Browns a ‘B-‘ for Their Picks in the 2018 NFL Draft

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Browns, who according to Kiper got an ‘B-‘ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

It’s all about Baker. I said it when the pick was made, and I still feel that way. Give new general manager John Dorsey credit: he stuck to his guns and took the guy he believes in. Last year he traded up for Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City — not at all a chalk pick at the time — and this year he went with Mayfield, who lacks classic “No. 1 QB prototype” traits but brings elite accuracy, significant experience, and former walk-on moxie that seems to galvanize teammates. I would have drafted Sam Darnold, and we’ll all watch these careers play out side-by-side. But after passing on so many QBs, the Browns got their guy.

Denzel Ward was the top cornerback in this class and hits an obvious need. I would have picked Bradley Chubb at No. 4 — the thought of him and Myles Garrett on the same line is pretty enticing. I like Austin Corbett (pick 33) as an immediate depth option on a line where the Joe Thomas void feels significant. No. 35 pick Nick Chubb’s arrival means the Browns now have one of the more interesting backfields in the NFL — he, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson can provide a lot of looks and production. Chad Thomas (67) provides some rotational help, and if he pans out, the absence of Chubb won’t be as much of a conversation.

Antonio Callaway is that classic mixed bag. On one hand, this is a supreme talent with first-round pedigree. But the “yeah, but” is impossible to ignore. The off-field issues are significant, and there’s an outside chance he doesn’t stick at all. That said, him Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, David Njoku, and that group of running backs? That’s a lot of talent. And that’s just the question for Cleveland: does all that talent become something? And can Baker be the catalyst?

We’ll see.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/1 Baker Mayfield QB OKLAHOMA
1/4 Denzel Ward CB OHIO STATE
2/33 Austin Corbett G NEVADA
2/35 Nick Chubb RB GEORGIA
3/67 Chad Thomas DE MIAMI
4/105 Antonio Callaway WR FLORIDA
5/150 Genard Avery ILB MEMPHIS
6/175 Damion Ratley WR TEXAS A&M
6/188 Simeon Thomas CB LOUISIANA

Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE.

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