Selecting a wide receiver in last July’s supplemental draft then trading for one on draft day this year left the Cleveland Browns short of picks. The team decided to get defensive with their remaining selections.
Barkevious Mingo/OLB/LSU (Round 1, pick #6): Entering the draft we knew the Browns would go one of two ways; either cornerback Dee Milliner or linebacker Barkevious Mingo. In the end they chose the latter and we think its a good move. At the top of his game Mingo is a game impacting defensive player who combines speed, athleticism and agility to make plays in every direction of the field. Despite paltry sack numbers from 2012, Mingo can force the action up the field and his ability in pursuit is outstanding. He definitely needs to get stronger as Mingo may struggle defending the run in the NFL. If they get him hitting on all cylinders people will fondly look back on this selection.
Leon McFadden/CB/San Diego State (Round 3, pick #68): After bypassing Milliner in the first frame, Cleveland came away with a quality cornerback in McFadden two rounds later. The feisty defensive back was well thought of in scouting circles and after a terrific campaign in 2012, McFadden looked outstanding at the Senior Bowl. Poor forty times at the combine (mid 4.5s area) plus touching just 5-feet, 9.5-inches on the tape pushed him out of round two, but from a film point of view, McFadden has the skills necessary to start in the NFL.
Jamoris Slaughter/S/Notre Dame (Round 6, pick #175): Cleveland took a chance on Slaughter in round six, despite the fact the former Notre Dame safety missed all but three games last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. When healthy and at the top of his game Slaughter is a complete player who willingly defends the run while also displaying good ball skills in coverage. Injuries eventually heal and this could turn out to be good value for the Browns
Armonty Bryant/DE-OLB/East Central Oklahoma (Round 7, pick #217): Bryant had some off the field issues he recently attended to but was worth a roll of the dice in round seven. He’s a terrific athlete that can be used as a rotational pass rusher out of a three-point stance or standing up over tackle. At worst expect Bryant to secure space on a practice squad this fall.
Garrett Gilkey/OL/Chadron State (Round 7, pick #227): Gilkey was great value in round seven and the versatile lineman offers ability at several blocking positions. Considering his college career and the skills Gilkey displayed at the Senior Bowl, its a surprise he lasted this late in the draft. If properly coached Gilkey could develop into a starter for the Browns.
Grade: B+. The difference between the Browns receiving an “A” versus a “B+” is the limited number of picks. One could justifiably argue selecting Josh Gordon in last July’s supplemental draft was well worth surrendering a second round choice this April. Veteran receiver/return specialist Davone Bess was also worth swapping a few middle/late round choices. The Browns also traded away middle/late round choices this year for earlier picks in 2014, another factor which must be considered. From a player point of view, there’s a lot to like on paper. Mingo and McFadden should be first year starters, Bryant can contribute as a rookie while both Slaughter and Gilkey offer future potential. Despite some doubts from my end over the Browns new front office, give credit where credit is due; this was a very solid initial draft.