Draft Review – Lions and Browns

by David Syvertsen

The point here isn’t to grade the draft, but rather to try and understand what the team was thinking when they made the picks.

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DETROIT LIONS

Top 3 Needs: LT, DE, DB

#5 – Ezekiel Ansah – DE/BYU – 6’5/271

-Raw but blessed with an athletic skill set that is hard to find.  Strong intangibles.

-An edge presence is needed to help offset the lack of talent in their secondary

#36 – Darius Slay – CB/Mississippi State – 6’0/192

-Big, fast corner that is blossoming at the right time.  Can do everything well.

-Horrid secondary play last year needs a boost on the outside

#65 – Larry Warford – G/Kentucky – 6’3/332

-Mauler that can dominate the point of attack and pass block

-Lions very much needed a presence like this somewhere on that line

#132 – Devin Taylor – DE/South Carolina – 6’7/266

-Has the length and frame that scouts and coaches dream about.  Plays strong.

-Another project on the edge that could elevate a defense that is easy to pass on

#165 – Sam Martin – P/Appalachian State – 6’1/205

Huge leg with some the best hang time in the class

Another weapon that can help mask a weak defense by winning field position battle  

#171 – Corey Fuller – WR/Virginia Tech – 6’2/204

-Long-limbed, former track athlete with natural receiving skills

-Potential deep threat in this aggressive, downfield passing attack

#199 – Theo Riddick – RB/Notre Dame – 5’10/201

-RB/WR playmaker that was moved around.  Reliable hands, effective with the ball

-Special Teams contributor and potential 3rd down back if he can pass block well

#211 – Michael Williams – TE/Notre Dame – 6’6/269

Blocking tight end that can win most one on one battles at the point of attack

Another piece up front that can help the playmakers with his blocking.

#245 – Brandon Hepburn – LB/Florida A&M – 6’2/242

-Strong and instinctive LB with the quickness to be an asset in the box

-Special teams help and possibly a backup down the road at both OLB spots

What They Did:

The pass defense has been holding this team back from serious contention in the NFC North.  It has been a problem that rears it’s ugly head time and time again throughout a season.  The best way to fix that problem is up front with big, physical defensive linemen that can get to the quarterback.  They have weapons inside, but the quality and quantity at defensive end were hurting.  They took chances on a couple ends in Ansah and Taylor to help lead that turnover at the position.  Both may be a year or two away, however.  Slay will compete for immediate playing time if the knee checks out and Warford could be a day one starter.  So while this draft is very much about the development of raw talents, they brought in enough immediate contribution-type prospects to upgrade their weaknesses from a year ago.

Top Value Pick: Ezekiel Ansah – DE/BYU (#13 overall player on my board)

UDFA Most Likely to Make Team: LaAdrian Waddle – OT/Texas Tech

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CLEVELAND BROWNS

Top 3 Needs: CB, S, G

#6 (1) Barkevious Mingo – OLB/LSU

-Freakish athlete with the ability to beat blockers off the edge and reach the QB

-Browns get a potential premier speed rusher that can apply needed pressure

#68 (3) Leon McFadden – CB – San Diego State

-Aggressive, quick twitch cover man that can stay on a WRs pocket all over the field

-There wasn’t much behind Joe Haden for Horton to work with

#75 (6) Jamrois Slaughter – S/Notre Dame

-Instinctive cover man that has experience at CB and S. Can cover zone and man well

-Will be moved around in Horton’s scheme to take advantage of versatile skill set

#217 (7) Armonty Bryant – DE/East Central Oklahoma

-Tool-rich small school sleeper that plays fast and strong.  High upside off the edge

-Rotational guy that can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt.

#227 (7) – Garrett Gilkey – OT/Chadron State

-Big body that needs to add power to his game.  Best suited for the inside.

-Can factor in as a guy that backs up a few spots down the road.

What They Did:

The main theme of the 2013 NFL Draft for Cleveland was less about current players and more about the future.  They traded down a few times later in the draft to put them in the driver’s seat for the 2014 Draft, which appears to be absolutely stacked with top tier grades.  Mingo and McFadden are both interesting athletes with high upside.  Both will need more than the normal amount of time to develop, however.  Mingo is not ready for the strength of the NFL game and McFadden is coming from a lower level of college football. This was not a bad draft for the Browns considering they only picked 5 times, but it won’t do much for their 2013 season.

Top Value Pick: Barkevious Mingo – OLB/LSU (#29 overall player on my board)

UDFA Most Likely to Make Team: Chris Faulk – OT/LSU

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