Five prospects that fill needs for the Cleveland Browns
As the NFL kicks off Week 12 of the 2020 regular season, the Cleveland Browns are still very much alive in the playoff race, but the front office is already preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. Here are five prospects who should be on the team’s radar.
WR Seth Williams, Auburn
It’s been a while since the Browns had a true X receiver, and there will be plenty of players in this class to fill that hole. One of them is Auburn’s Seth Williams, whose 6-3 210-pound frame and elite catch radius make him an attractive target for teams needing WR help on Day 2.
He may not have great speed, but he knows how to get open and use his body to block defensive backs from gaining position. He’s caught 118 passes for 1,927 yards and 16 touchdowns throughout his career, and while he may get lost in another excellent receiver class, Williams will likely outplay his draft slot as a productive target for a long time.
DT Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Had Wilson entered the 2020 Draft, he may very well have been a first-round pick. You can’t teach his 6-5 305-pound size and big-man athleticism. In fact, he’s probably significantly heavier than his listed weight. He does offer some pass-rush juice, and is closer to Dexter Lawrence than Danny Shelton.
The concerns with Wilson are pad level consistency and injury history, as his last two collegiate campaigns will have ended with hand and leg injuries. That may cause him to fall to Day 2, which is where the Browns will likely address their defensive tackle issues. If they determine that Wilson shouldn’t have injury issues long-term, he could be a major steal for a team lacking size on the interior.
LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
Everyone knows that the Browns need linebackers. The team is doing its best to marginalize the position in Joe Woods’ nickel (and ideally dime) base defense. However, this season has proven that Cleveland will still need two capable starters at LB, and while Jacob Phillips could be one, this class is an excellent opportunity to grab the other. Bolton had a terrific sophomore season, racking up 107 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss to go along with a good feel for coverage.
He isn’t overly big at 6-0 230 pounds, and doesn’t have the explosive athleticism of other LBs. What he does have is instincts and tackling consistency. He sniffs out plays at the line of scrimmage, fills his gaps, and loves to hit. He’s a fundamentally sound player who does not wait for the ball to come to him. That’s exactly what Cleveland needs at MIKE.
S Ar’Darius Washington, TCU
Washington’s 5-8 175-pound frame will likely drop him lower than he deserves to be picked based on his production. He was spectacular in 2019 against both the run and the pass, and while he’s not been as good this season, his versatility, instincts, and physicality are all still there.
Whichever team drafts him will need to have a role in mind in order to mitigate his size disadvantage. He’ll likely see a lot of time in the slot with the ability to rotate up to safety, which is exactly the kind of skillset that Woods looks for in his defensive backs.
TE Braden Galloway, Clemson
The Browns have two long-term solutions at the tight end position in Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant. Head coach Kevin Stefanski uses multiple TEs more than he runs four wide receivers, so it’s important to always have good depth at TE.
David Njoku has all the physical talent in the world, but he’s been unable to carve out much of a role this season and requested a trade earlier in the year. He will be in the final year of his rookie contract in 2021, and it is difficult to see him sticking around long-term.
Galloway may not have the explosive athleticism of Njoku, but he has a similar frame at 6-4 250 pounds and is a much more agile player; his routes are much more sudden and refined than Njoku’s, and that allows him to create separation at a higher rate.
He has all of 26 catches over his career for the Tigers, and it’s tough for a player with minimal production to go very high. Galloway will be one of the most talented players taken on Day 3, and will likely be much better in the NFL than he was in college.