BIG Z Sports Mock Draft 2.0: Nick McWilliams

Cleveland Browns 2020 Draft Selections

Trade Alert

Browns trade No. 10 to Las Vegas Raiders for No. 12, No. 81

Pick No. 12 – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

For starters, Mekhi Becton from Louisville would be my top pick in a perfect world. The NFL, meanwhile, is not that kind. Brace yourselves, this takes some explaining.

Tua Tagovailoa is a polarizing figure who’s right hip is going to be a non-issue for some and his downfall with others. A team that will be concerned is, surprisingly, the Miami Dolphins. Tua could be the perfect match down in Florida, but the Dolphins regime passes up on him for Becton, a foundational piece for an offensive line that lost Laremy Tunsil. The Chargers take Justin Herbert, a more Phillip Rivers-type signal caller, and while Jacksonville would be a nice suitor at No. 9, they pass in favor of locking up other needed positions, before getting a future quarterback and insurance policy for Gardner Minshew later.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden has been disgruntled when it comes to his starter Derek Carr, and newly acquired Marcus Mariota is not necessarily a guarantee. The New York Jets might be a little disappointed with Sam Darnold. Would they move on? Crazier things have happened.

It sets the stage for the Raiders to bump up to 10 for a future star (if healthy) in Tua, forfeiting No. 81 and No. 12 in the process.

And with that, Cleveland capitalizes.

With Becton gone, the Browns scoop up their next left tackle in another massive roadblock in Andrew Thomas, while acquiring more draft capital. After starting his career on the right side of the Bulldogs line as a freshman, the 6’5″ Georgia native seamlessly moved to the left, earning an All-American nod as a junior. Thomas has powerful arms and gets into position quick in pass-pro, and adds quick feet to constantly win with leverage. Sometimes too eager to get to his block, setting him up to get beat by speed rushers, but all the intangibles are there for Thomas to be a staple of the left side, learning from Jack Conklin on the right.

 

No. 41 – Antoine Winfield Jr., Safety, Minnesota

Linebacker is of more importance, but that will be addressed in due time. Even with a pair of free agent signings for the back end of the Cleveland defense, some solid pro-pedigree isn’t a bad addition. 

Winfield Jr. comes into the NFL much like his father. He’s slightly undersized at 5’9″, and has to be a lot scrappier than most to win in pass coverage battles. But that’s a quality Browns’ fans will love.

An All-American last season with seven picks and 88 tackles, Winfield Jr. brings the kind of fight the Dawg Pound needs. He’s a play-maker, plain and simple. Even if that means playing in a rotational role with the newly acquired Andrew Sendejo or Karl Joseph, he’s capable of stepping in to the starting role and complements the ability of both Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward. If you don’t want to throw it outside against those two, good luck testing the middle with the former Golden Gopher roaming. 

 

No. 74 – Tyler Biadasz, Center, Wisconsin

Time for more overhaul on the offensive line. 

The Browns are pretty much set when it comes to left guard Joel Bitonio and center J.C. Tretter. Right guard is much more concerning with Wyatt Teller, who could, at the very least, use a little incentive to step up his game. Cleveland picked up C/RG Evan Brown for some more depth, but a highly-touted, mauler of an addition could help even more. 

Biadasz is an interior-offensive lineman with the mean streak that reminds fans of old-school football. But it’s not his toughness that should win you over. There’s a great grasp of the game and knowledge of what’s the best move. He’s got quick and punchy hands to fend off linebackers all the way up to tackles. Another All-American on the Browns draft board, the Remington Award winning center could easily slot in at guard, with great tutelage from Tretter and Conklin. His body as a whole is always positioned well and has the strength needed to win inside, but will need to contain himself better when moving outside on zone runs and when Baker Mayfield moves the pocket, especially in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. He’s not exactly a perfect fit in all ways, and will need to work on pass protection, but the groundwork is there for his ceiling to rise.  

 

No. 81 – Logan Wilson, Linebacker, Wyoming

Converted secondary players who take over in linebacking roles can have mixed results, but usually have crazy cover skills. Wilson has the ball skills needed to play the pass and lay the wood. This acquisition is, of course, thanks to the earlier Raiders trade. 

Starting off a little lighter and worried more about covering wide receivers when he started college, Wilson bulked up to take over in a linebacker corps that needed help in Wyoming. He did not disappoint. Following that redshirt year and bulking up to 241 pounds, Wilson went on to lead his team twice in tackles, garner All-MWC honors and see his draft stock bolstered by a successful senior year. Seeing him drop to 81 is a bit of a shock. But the downfall comes from a severe lack of man coverage ability, which is surprising for someone with his speed and experience. Wilson will not be a great asset with covering tight ends over the middle, unless it’s hunkered down in a zone. Which could be alright if Cleveland asks him to take on a similar role as Joe Schobert.

Given his tackling prowess, smarts, intensity and straight-line speed to the ball carrier, he’s got a real shot at the MIKE for Cleveland one day or even passing B.J. Goodson before long, but could serve as a spot-starting SAM in the short run as well. If he’s there at 81, it’s an absolute steal. 

 

No. 97 – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan

Is this one a little crazy? A wasted pick? Have I not paid attention to college football or Michigan the last few years? I get the apprehension, but hear me out.

DPJ had the definite chance to come to Ohio State, but chose to stay in his home state with Michigan. You have to respect that.

Peoples-Jones never eclipsed 100 yards in a game with the Wolverines after being the top recruit in the state a few years ago. His career totals ended up around 1,300 yards which is disappointing, but with 14 touchdowns. Could it have been a lackluster Michigan offense, or was he lacking in skill?

The Browns have taken big-bodied receivers before and it hasn’t panned out. Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi, and Carlton Mitchell to name a few. (Mitchell was a sixth rounder, but, you get the picture.) Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are all about shifty moves and agility to get open, and adding a big slot receiver who provides depth could benefit them both.

Peoples-Jones is nifty with his breaks on routes and knows how to control his body as a blocker and adjusting for a catch, boxing out a defender. He tested out of his mind at the combine, posting multiple personal-bests and notching a 4.48 second 40-yard dash. The ball of clay to create a productive, reliable third receiver for Cleveland is there. It’s no secret that beyond their starting duo, the team isn’t exactly rich with wideout depth. 

Maybe the teachings of OBJ. and Landry pan out with DPJ, and the Browns find a diamond in the rough. For all the talent he entered college with from high school and the flashes that were there at the next level, he’s worth a flier in the late third. Early fourth round could have been better, but there are other plans for the next Cleveland pick.

 

No. 115 – Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State

I picked a Wolverine before a Buckeye. A strange world we live in indeed.

Hamilton finally got more of a chance to show what he could do after waiting in the shadows behind an immensely talented defensive line group with Ohio State. He’s a massive human being with athleticism that can take him far, but is not known as a pass rusher, and succeeds more at stuffing the middle and forcing quarterbacks to move out of the pocket for defensive ends and linebackers to feast. Couldn’t hurt pairing that ability with Myles Garrett. The needed leverage to win on the interior is there, and a little work on his hands could give him the boost needed to create more havoc. He could learn well from Sheldon Richardson.

Hamilton racks up tackles for loss by great anticipation of run plays and a stout frame. He can provide a valuable rotational piece in the middle on key plays for a defense that ranked 30th last year against the run in terms of yards. Giving up an average of five yards per carry will not cut it in the AFC North.

Another slightly raw talent who could benefit from the right coaching, Hamilton could take some time to get on the field on Sunday’s, but might surprise plenty of people.

 

No. 187 – Charlie Heck, OT, North Carolina

More linebackers and depth in the secondary make sense, but with the B.J. Goodson and Kevin Johnson signings, those units might have just enough to survive. Instead, the Browns look for more offensive line depth.

Three hog mollies in the same draft might seem a little much, but it’s a position Cleveland has sorely needed overhaul with for a while. Jack Conklin and Andrew Thomas are your bookends for now, but insurance policies are never a bad idea. Chris Hubbard has been lackluster or mediocre at best, and the other option is *checks notes* Kendall Lamm. Time for an upgrade.

Charlie Heck has crazy length and can succeed with all running schemes, even in Stefanski’s zone-blocking offense. The son of NFL offensive line coach and former first-rounder Andy Heck, he has smooth movements and a nasty streak. A few extra pounds around the middle to anchor himself better couldn’t hurt, and better understanding of inside pass-rush moves are also needed before Heck makes real contributions.

Heck has played on both the left and right sides of the North Carolina offensive line, but I see him as more of a right tackle, even with his length and size. At 6’8’ and 311 pounds, the strength and conditioning staff can add the needed bulk for the Tar Heel to match up against larger outside rushers. Another depth move for the Browns.

 

No. 244 – Charlie Woerner, Tight End, Georgia

Woerner is a potential gadget piece as a tight end who can be used as a fullback or an extra blocker in heavy packages. That’s a solid piece to have in the incoming Cleveland offense.

Statistically unimpressive at Georgia (only one touchdown in four years of action), Woerner was selfless in the Bulldogs offense, taking on edge defenders and linebackers for most of his time in Athens. Cleveland would not be getting a pass catcher to match Austin Hooper and David Njoku, rather than a reserve tight end who can help secure the ends.

More strength is needed first and foremost to match a high motor and athletic traits, but that can be fixed. With a lack of production and some issues with his catch radius and route running, Woerner would most likely end up on the practice squad.

But tight ends are a valuable commodity, and I find it hard to believe he couldn’t push reserves Stephen Carlson and Pharah Brown a little, or carve out his own niche in an H-back role in an offense that values his style of play.

 

BONUS – Top Undrafted Pick

 

Carter Coughlin, LB, Minnesota

Another former Ohio State target, Carter Coughlin is an in-betweener as either a linebacker or edge rusher. He was used at times for coverage in Minnesota’s defense, and found a way to get in the backfield often. He’s got closing speed and has the smarts to read plays early, but will not beat offensive tackles with strength. His lack of push in the trenches and issues with edge containment will make him a likely candidate for an undrafted spot, but the Browns jump on the opportunity to grab a player who can carve out a role as a situational linebacker. Coughlin is proficient in a lot of areas but doesn’t seem to stand out in many places. That could factor him in with the Browns with depth, and provides another linebacker for a team that needs them.

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