At Browns Nation, we will be sharing the results of our own mock drafts very soon.
But in the meantime, it is high time to start the speculation of who the Browns should draft in the first round with the 10th overall pick.
Since this will be the first pick of the Berry-Stefanski era in Cleveland, it is an important one that will set the tone for the 2020 draft.
What is the best strategy for the Browns to use in the first round?
Option 1: Draft An Offensive Tackle
There is an overwhelming sentiment that the Browns must improve the offensive tackle position through the draft.
— The Draft Network (@DraftNetworkLLC) January 22, 2020
And 2020 has one of the most talented tackle draft classes in over a decade.
There are three offensive tackles considered to be first-round locks – Jedrick Wills (OT, 6’5″, 320 lbs., Alabama), Tristan Wirfs (OT, 6’5″. 322 lbs., Iowa), and Andrew Thomas (OT, 6’5″, 320 lbs., Georgia).
There is an ongoing debate about which one is the best, but all three are immediate starters and potential franchise tackles.
The New York Giants pick fourth overall and might go with Wills.
The Arizona Cardinals pick eighth overall and could potentially take an offensive tackle as well.
No other team drafting ahead of the Browns has offensive tackle as their primary need, so it seems likely that the Browns will be able to get one of the big three.
If available, Tristan Wirfs would be the best fit for the Browns.
Wirfs is athletic but powerful and is versatile enough to play either RT or LT.
He has the speed and footwork to excel in a zone-blocking scheme and can provide excellent pass protection for Baker Mayfield.
Wirfs is the number one option for the Browns’ first-round draft pick, assuming that no other team trades up ahead of the Browns to take one of these three tackles.
Option 2: Take The Best Available Player
So let’s get hypothetical here.
Say that the Giants pick Wills at four, and Arizona picks Wirfs at eight, but someone else believes that Andrew Thomas is worth trading up to take before he lands with the Browns at ten (possibly Jacksonville, the New York Jets, or Tennessee).
Both are projected to be late first-round or early-to-middle second-round picks.
It is possible that one of the two (probably Jones) will still be available for the Browns to select in the second round at pick number 41, but this is a gamble.
Is the gamble worth it?
Yes, if Isaiah Simmons (LB, 6’4″, 230 lbs., Clemson) is available for the Browns to draft at number 10.
Isaiah Simmons has declared for the NFL draft 🐾
The Clemson LB is @nfldraftscout‘s No. 5 ranked prospect in the 2020 class.
Might be the most versatile player in the draft. pic.twitter.com/VbVmN6AcO5
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 18, 2020
Simmons is the best linebacker in the draft and an elite defensive player that can contribute immediately.
Even if Becton or Jones are gone before Cleveland drafts in the second round, there are still more offensive tackles that can make an immediate impact.
Austin Jackson (OT, 6’6″, 310 lbs., USC), Prince Tega Wanogho (OT, 6’5″, 307 lbs.), and Lucas Niang (OT, 6’7″, 328 lbs., TCU) are all outstanding prospects and could start at tackle for the Browns next season.
TCU RT Lucas Niang plays with physicality and is a better mover than most RTs his size. I like this rep vs Nick Bosa. pic.twitter.com/bR1KXSRYAd
— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) August 7, 2019
Option 3: Trade Down
It bears repeating that this is one of the most talented offensive tackle classes in over a decade.
Wills, Wirfs, and Thomas are definitely the top three tackles in the class, but there is a limited drop-off in talent to the next tier (Becton and Jones).
There are a number of teams (Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa Bay) that might see the tenth overall pick as the right position to ensure that they get the player they need.
The Browns would drop a few spots down, still be able to draft a very good tackle in the first round, and pick up an extra later-round pick in the process.
It will be interesting to see how the Browns’ scouting staff rates each OT, and which direction they will go in the first and second rounds.
Don’t be surprised to see the first two picks from the Browns be tackles.