1. First round, 6th overall: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
This pick was a slight surprise to me, since I thought for sure the Browns would go with Dee Milliner, but even after adding Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves at the DE/OLB position, they weren’t done adding dynamic pass rushers and brought in the extremely athletic Barkevious Mingo. Mingo will likely start his career out similar to Bruce Irvin, coming in on passing downs with the sole purpose of sacking quarterbacks, but I think he will eventually be able to develop into an every-down player. There’s a reason why this guy was rated so highly coming into the year, and even after a disappointing junior season, he still went in the top six selections. That will give you an indication of the natural talent this guy possesses, and the impact he can have on games at his best. I think Mingo is a huge upgrade to the Browns’ defense if they can learn to use him correctly right out of the gates. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton never really had this kind of dynamic pass rushing crew to work with in Arizona, so it will be interesting to see how he gets all of these guys involved.
2. Third round, 68th overall: Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State
I think the Browns treated this selection like a second rounder, and Leon McFadden will likely start for them. This is a guy who doesn’t have ideal size or strength for the cornerback position, but he is just good at a lot of things. He has really good hip movement and is fluid in his backpedal. He seems to read quarterbacks really well and can explode in and out of breaks to bat down the ball. I think you saw the results of that last year in his senior season, where he was a pretty dominant player and teams didn’t throw his way very often. The one area where he could struggle is downfield with bigger receivers. I think he reads routes pretty well and for the Browns, you have to look at him as a plug-and-play starter on the opposite side of the field as Joe Haden. They have a huge need at corner, and hopefully McFadden can fill that void as the #2 starter.
3. Sixth round, 175th overall: Jamoris Slaughter, S, Notre Dame
Nobody, including Slaughter himself, thought he was getting drafted. In the third game of the season in 2012–his fifth year at Notre Dame–he hurt his Achillles and missed the rest of the season. He was shocked about being picked, but scouts are really high on this player when healthy, and there are some out there who believe that if he is on the field, he can challenge for a starting job next to T.J. Ward. I definitely don’t think that’s out of the question, given that the competition is 2011 seventh round pick Eric Hagg and 2012 CFA Tashaun Gipson. The Browns probably would have liked to have added a safety a bit earlier, but they obviously felt really good about Slaughter’s medical process and what he is capable of doing on the field when healthy. He had 45 tackles, four for a loss, two sacks, and an interception as a junior in 2011.
4. Seventh round, 217th overall: Armonty Bryant, DE, East Central (OK)
This is a kid coming out of a small school with loads of potential as a pass rusher (school record 26.5 sacks) but he was arrested for selling marijuana to a cop. He said it was a stupid mistake, and as right as he is, he won’t be able to afford that if he wants his NFL journey to culminate in success. This kid has really solid size for a rush linebacker at 6’4″ 267 pounds, along with a 4.69 40 yard dash and some explosive athletic ability. He blocked nine kicks in his time at East Central (OK). I think this is the kind of risk you take in the seventh round to get a guy who you feel like could be a priority free agent for teams, so you lock him in and try to get him developed. The Browns are suddenly deep at the DE/OLB position, so he may have to sneak onto the practice squad.
5. Seventh round, 227th overall: Garrett Gilkey, OT, Chadron State
The Browns worked this guy out before the draft, and they obviously felt that it went well enough to use a pick on him. They need depth along the offensive line, and this guy started at left tackle for DII Chadron State last season. Some project him to the NFL as a guard, but he could probably give them depth at right tackle as well. Guy who plays with an edge, and will have a chip on his shoulder entering training camp.
**Second round selection was used in 2012 Supplemental Draft to select Baylor WR Josh Gordon
**Traded Fourth and Fifth round selections to Dolphins for WR Davone Bess, a Fourth round pick, and a Seventh round pick
It’s important to also factor in the fact that the Browns got Josh Gordon essentially with their second round pick this year, as well as the trade where they acquired WR Davone Bess from the Dolphins. I think those are two big pickups in addition to the ones they made in the actual selecting of players from the class of 2013. I think Cleveland addressed its top two defensive needs at rush LB and CB, and they were able to come away with two receivers who will play a significant role in their offense. The later round picks will all add solid depth and potential. A nice draft for Cleveland.