Check out this podcast from WZIP’s own John Alfieri, covering the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
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Check out this podcast from WZIP’s own John Alfieri, covering the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
2. Vernon Hargreaves III
3. Eli Apple
4. Artie Burns
5. William Jackson III
Safety: David Rodriguez
1. Vonn Bell – The Ohio State State senior Vonn Bell has had an elevated career as a Buckeye. Bell led the Big Ten with six interceptions as a sophomore and finished with just two his junior season. His speed is something NFL teams should take note of. Bell switched to free safety from cornerback where he was involved in more tackles, ninety two to be exact his sophomore year and with just sixty five his junior year. Bell has blown a few coverages at free safety but it’s nothing you can’t fix.
Vonn Bell is one of the better free safeties coming out of the top five projected players for his position for the draft. His team’s success throughout the years he played shows that he can defend the best. He matched up with Amari Cooper in the college football playoff during the 2014 – 2015 season. Vonn Bell will hopefully be one of the later picks in the first round or early second.
2. Karl Joseph – The most fearful defender in the college backfield before suffering a knee injury after just four games into the season. After a disappointing season he seeks to go early in the second round with his aggressive play style and gritty tackle tactics. Joseph, with his 4.57 forty yard dash speed while staying low and engaging contact, he demolishes the opposing offenders.
His aggressive play style could be a downfall for the Mountaineer senior. It has been said that Joseph lacks in open field tackling which could be a problem. No team wants a guy that can’t handle his own during one on one situations, and that could be crucial. Joseph’s landing in the draft will be based on how quickly he can recover from his knee injury.
3. KelVarae Russell – The questionable KelVarae Russell of the Fighting Irish has on and off battles with his football career through college. Being suspend the season of 2014 for academic dishonesty, Russell managed to return in 2015 and play a good season until the final two games where he broke his right leg. The Irish defensive back Russell has raw talent, his unreal athleticism and excellent hand eye coordination helps him squeeze on the ball mid air. Some cons with his play style are keying in on the quarterback too long and that’s where he loses the receiver. If Russell can to recover from his injury safely he can become something special in the NFL but he’ll have to stay focused and healthy. KelVarae Russell is projected to go third or fourth round in this years draft.
4. Keanu Neal – The six foot junior weighing in at two hundred pounds solid, Keanu Neal, hopes to go in the first round as stated by scouts. The Florida Gator whose physical defense has stood out at his time as a Gator. Neal could be the new addition and perfect fit to the Arizona Cardinals five star defensive backfield. Quick to the ball and with the ability of breaking up passes instantly, Neal has the authority to make a statement in the NFL. Don’t sleep on this guy.
5. Justin Simmons – Justin Simmons of Boston College didn’t miss a beat while playing center field for Boston College. Simmons played an outstanding fifty games while having his time spent on the field. Leading his team in tackles his final year with seventy-six, Simmons’ lengthy play style has made him someone to look out for. He has the ability to break up passes and jump routes. His toughness and ability to make open field tackles with no hesitation is a plus.
There aren’t many weaknesses of Simmons but his size could get to him with his lengthy-ness slowing him down during coverages in the open field.
Coleman is an explosive playmaker as an outside receiver. The 2015 Biletnikoff Award winner, which is the award given to the best collegiate receiver, Coleman is ranked number one on my board because of his ability to make the big play. Decent size for a receiver, not a physical monster by any stretch of the imagination, but has enough build to transition to the NFL.
Most analysts have Treadwell as the clear top receiver in the 2016 class, but I believe in Coleman’s ability to stretch the field while still being able to make plays in the short to intermediate passing game.
Some of Coleman’s shortcomings are mental which causes red flags to be raised for a few organizations, but his high ceiling is what makes him the top receiver in the draft.
Coleman is a projected mid-first round pick, and would have to fall to the Browns later in the first round to be considered a good pick by Cleveland. Even with Coleman’s talent and potential, Cleveland would not be a good fit for Coleman because the of the Browns’ position in the draft.
Best Case Scenario – Emmanuel Sanders
Worst Case Scenario – John Brown
Laquon Treadwell is the most physical receiver in the draft. As previously stated, the majority of analysts have Treadwell as the best receiver in the draft, but problems with drops, route running, and average speed leave me unimpressed. What you see is what you get with him, a solid pass catcher that can line up both inside and out using his physicality to get open. The problem with his “physical dominance” in college is that the NFL is a different animal, and every cornerback is just as physical as Treadwell.
With all that said I still believe Treadwell will transition well to the NFL and be a solid receiver for many years. Whoever drafts him should expect immediate production; the only reason I don’t have him listed as the top receiver is his potential. Treadwell is projected to fall somewhere in the middle picks of the first round, and would be a reach for the Browns at 8, but would be a great addition and a significant upgrade for Cleveland’s receiving corps.
Best Case Scenario – Anquan Boldin
Worst Case Scenario – David Boston
Will Fuller is a speed demon, plain and simple. Fuller is the kind of receiver that stretches the field and allows other receivers to find open space in the middle of the field. A dynamic playmaker, Fuller is second all time on Notre Dame’s receiving touchdown list. Shows the ability to go up and snatch the ball out of the air, and has an extra gear down field that allows him to create space.
It’s worth noting that Fuller was clocked at 2.51 seconds at 20 yards, which means he accelerates to top speed very quickly and that should translate well to the NFL. Fuller’s shortcomings include: untimely drops, thin frame at the receiver position, and question marks surround his ability to make plays in the middle of the field. Fuller is projected in the late first round or early second round. He would be a great fit for Cleveland as a playmaker on the outside, and would fall to the Browns in a range that would make him worth the pick.
Best Case Scenario – DeSean Jackson
Worst Case Scenario – Ted Ginn
Doctson left TCU as the school’s all time leading receiver. A tall lanky receiver that needs to add bulk to his frame if he wants to excel in the NFL, Doctson has all the ability in the world to be a star. At TCU, Doctson played in the spread so he will have to adjust to an NFL playbook, but has enough raw athleticism to ease the transition.
Doctson showed struggles with concentration catching balls over the middle of the field, as well as mediocre route running which raises red flags. If he can overcome those problems and add some weight to his frame he will be a productive receiver in the league.
The Browns could end up drafting Doctson as he is projected as a late first to early second round pick and would be a solid fit on the team.
Best Case Scenario – Joe Horn
Worst Case Scenario – Michael Jenkins
Michael Thomas out of The Ohio State University is a physical beast. Great size for the receiver position, and possesses raw athleticism. More of a work in progress prospect than a NFL ready made guy. Thomas was Ohio State’s best receiver this past season and arguably was the best receiver on the national championship team two seasons ago.
Thomas is still figuring out how to be a complete receiver and has much to improve on. Route running and mental focus are huge downsides to his game, but with the right team he could flourish. He is projected as a second round pick; Thomas could potentially be a good fit for the Browns, but not in a good position to be drafted by the Browns because if they take him high it would be a reach and he most likely won’t fall to the third round.
Best Case Scenario – Marques Colston
Worst Case Scenario – Roy Williams
Since the end of last season the talk of the 2016 NFL Draft for Cleveland Browns fans had been, “Which quarterback should we take?” Now with the draft approaching quickly, the question has changed with the new one being, “What do we do with the second pick?”
The trade between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans for the top spot in the draft and the signing of Robert Griffin III by the Browns has changed the perspective of this draft.
Some experts still had the Browns taking the QB that would be “left over” after the Rams make their choice. With the signing of RGIII, and having a roster that already contains Josh McCown and Austin Davis is another quarterback really what Cleveland needs?
Enter the Philadelphia Eagles, who offered the Browns their first round pick this year, number 8 in the draft, along with third and fourth round picks this year. To sweeten the deal even further, the Eagles will also send their 2017 first and second round picks.
All it will cost the Browns is dropping six spots in the draft and a conditional fourth round pick in 2017.
This move has all the indications that Cleveland has decided not to find a quarterback in this draft and will look to fill other positions, such as the offensive tackle.
Joe Thomas returns for his 10th season on the left side, while a hole was created when Mitchell Schwartz left Cleveland and signed with Kansas City during the offseason. Let’s take a look at the top possibilities for the Browns at the offensive tackle position.
Tunsil is possibly the best athlete of the top tackles in this draft, but unfortunately comes with a long list of negatives that could prove costly on draft day.
First the positive, the 3-year starter at tackle has great balance, can handle speed when coming at him, and can also hit and be ready to hit again with power. Tunsil only allowed one sack as a freshman as a starter. In fact, he only allowed two in the three years he played at Ole Miss.
The fact that he has only allowed two sacks in three years is misleading because he has never played a full season. Injuries to his knee, ankle, bicep, and a broken fibula all cost him playing time during his three years.
Tunsil was also arrested in June of 2015 for a domestic dispute with his stepfather in which the charges were eventually dropped. That arrest led to an NCAA investigation in which he was suspended for seven games. The NCAA found that he guilty of accepting impermissible benefits and for not being “completely forthcoming” when initially questioned by the NCAA.
Even though he declared after his junior year, Tunsil may be the best athlete available in this draft, doesn’t mean he is the greatest pick. With all the eyes that are upon the Browns in this draft, I really do not see them taking the chance on a guy who cannot stay healthy and has had signs of trouble in his past.
Stanley probably would have been the top tackle in the draft had he declared himself eligible last year after his sophomore season, but he returned for one more year. He has experience on both sides with 13 starts on the right side and 27 on the left.
In the running game he shows that he can drive defenders off the ball with his strength, while his speed and determination helps him block as a runner gets into the second level.
His pass blocking shows that he has good awareness and will continually look for someone to block, especially any defender coming from the outside.
Stanley still has room to improve but scouts like his potential. Sometimes he makes a mistake because he plays a little over anxious.
This could be a good pick for the Browns if they traded down in the first round. With the veteran leadership on the line and his ability, Stanley could potentially grow into a Pro Bowl lineman.
Conklin’s name is found as the definition for the word determination in the dictionary. Barely recruited through high school, his only scholarship offer was from Division II Wayne State, so he had planned on playing at Fork Union Military School, but then Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio took another look at his tape and asked Conklin to walk on with a chance that he could earn a scholarship his second year.
He took that chance, worked hard, and not only became a scholarship athlete, but a starter at left tackle. Now, after his junior year, he could be the first Michigan State offensive lineman taken in the first round since Tony Mandarich in 1989.
Size, strength, balance, and a good ability to learn more all work in Conklin’s favor and will make up for his lack of raw speed.
Some have compared him to Andrew Whitworth of the Cincinnati Bengals in the fact that he will use his wide frame and strength to win over any speed on the edge. Conklin has also seen some time on both sides of the ball.
As the Big Ten Conference offensive lineman of the year, Decker is arguably the best senior lineman in this year’s draft.
Named team captain by his teammates, he started 14 games at right tackle as a sophomore before switching to the left side for his final 28 games at OSU.
Decker is a tall, powerful player and uses his reach and strong hands to control rushers, but also the agility to move and take care of blocking on the second level.
However, this vocal leader has some down sides as he has some plays on film where he appears to lose concentration at the snap and looks unprepared. He also has to work some on his technique.
Even with that being said, Decker is durable, did not miss a single game in his four years, and ready to step in right away and help make a line stronger in the NFL.
Ifedi was a three-year starter for the Aggies, but his first season was spent at guard before moving over to tackle. He was destined to be at left tackle, but struggled on that side and was moved over.
Toying with the idea of declaring after his junior year, Ifedi changed his mind after receiving the word that he would probably be a second round choice.
Now built well for the next level, it will be hard for rushers to get around him and he moves well laterally to cut off the speed rushes. He will do well in pass blocking schemes.
Ifedi struggles with his concentration at times and is guilty of false start penalties and has trouble retreating at the snap sometimes rather than attacking.
He has some technical problems with his mechanics but with some aggressive coaching could correct those easily. It will all depend on his discipline. Hopefully he will have better discipline than the man he blocked for back in 2013, Johnny Manziel.
If the Browns stay pat with the eighth pick, it is highly doubtful that Tunsil, who is projected to go as high as number three, will be available. His injuries and off field antics would have probably scared off Cleveland anyway.
Stanley, however, could be a good choice. He has experience on the right side vacated by Schwartz, and would be ready to step right in. Don’t expect a Pro Bowl year, but with the experience of the line already for the Browns, he could grow into one.
Another player, Jason Spriggs from Indiana, could deserve a look with the 32nd pick if he is still available. The six foot, six inch, 301 pounder is a four-year starter at left tackle and improved each year for the Hoosiers.