We move on to the second round of the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, starting with the Cleveland Browns. If you haven’t been following along, the Browns got pass rusher Myles Garrett and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the first round.
With those two critical needs checked off, the Browns could fill a number of holes with their second-round picks. Chief among those needs is the secondary, where the Browns have cornerback Joe Haden and not much else. It doesn’t help that injuries have limited Haden to just 18 games in the last two seasons. There are a number of good cornerbacks, but the Browns could also use at least one starting safety. Chris Pokorny of Dawgs by Nature is back to make his third pick in our mock draft.
33. Budda Baker, S, Washington
Pokorny: Safety is a position that was sacrificed last offseason, as the team let Tashaun Gipson walk in free agency and cut veteran Donte Whitner. This offseason, the Browns offered the richest contract to the top free agent safety, Tony Jefferson, but he turned it down to play on a cheaper deal with the Ravens. Cleveland was also in the market for a few other free agent safeties, but things just didn’t work out.
The team has thus spent a good amount of time scouting the top safety prospects in this year’s draft class. It’ll be tempting on the second day of the draft to trade this pick to the highest bidder, but last year they ultimately stayed at No. 33 to select defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. This year, I’ll pick them to do the same with the top safety on their board. Whether that is Baker, Peppers, or someone else remains to be seen, but I’m banking on Baker.
Analysis: Indeed, given the players they missed out on in free agency, the Browns seem poised to take a safety high in the draft this year. In fact, it might not be a shock to see them pick two, given the average play of current on-roster options, Ibraheim Campbell and Ed Reynolds. They brought in Tyvis Powell from Seattle, but on a prove-it deal. The second round seems like the sweet spot to find a safety, whether it’s at No. 33 or when the Browns pick again at No. 52.
Baker is a good all-around option who can come up and play the run, but he has good enough hands and instincts to break up passes. If he were a little bigger, most would probably consider him a first-round pick.
Now about that cornerback …
Dan’s top five players remaining
- 21. Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
- 26. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
- 30. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
- 31. Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
- 34. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
- 1-31: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
- 1-12: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
- 2-33: Budda Baker, S, Washington
- 2-52: (coming April 19)
2017 NFL mock draft: Cleveland Browns take Budda Baker in 2nd round – SB Nation