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Tony Grossi's Mock Draft 12.0: Browns trade scenarios could target a cornerback, not a quarterback

May 08, 2014 -- 6:00am

By Tony Grossi |



The most overlooked, almost forgotten position of need on the Browns in the pre-draft season is cornerback.

You haven’t heard the Browns say a word about it, but it is very much on their minds.

In fact, I would be surprised if the Browns don’t come away from Thursday’s first round of the draft without filling that need.

Their problem is this: No cornerback is quite worthy of the Browns’ first selection at No. 4 and the best ones to fit coach Mike Pettine’s defensive scheme likely will be gone at No. 26.

In his first-ever draft in charge, rookie GM Ray Farmer adamantly insists he will not “reach” for a need – not for a quarterback, and certainly not for a cornerback. But he and Pettine have been conjuring contingent trade scenarios at both ends of the first round to position themselves for a cornerback capable of starting opposite Joe Haden from Day 1.

I believe if the Browns trade down from No. 4. or trade up from No. 26, the target will be a cornerback – not a quarterback. If they can’t find a trade partner and are forced to stay at either spot, Farmer will fall back to highest-ranked player on his draft board.

This final mock draft does not take into account trades. That is why I do not include a cornerback in either of the Browns’ first-round selections. But if a trade occurs, I expect it to result in a cornerback.

This final mock also extends to the Browns’ pick in the second round, No. 35 overall. I picked a cornerback there solely based on need. It would be voided if one is selected earlier after a trade.

1. Houston: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

Highest pick ever for a pass rusher off a three-sack season.

2. St. Louis: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

Trade down is still possible.

3. Jacksonville: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

After much debate, they turn to the surest offensive playmaker.

4. Cleveland: LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

He is Mike Pettine’s personification of playing ‘like a Brown.’

5. Oakland: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn

It’s possible this player could draw trade action.

6. Atlanta: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

If no trade with Browns, Falcons would settle for third-best OT.

7. Tampa Bay: DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Coach Lovie Smith solidifies his defensive front.

8. Minnesota: LB Anthony Barr, UCLA

In the end, head coach Mike Zimmer turns to defense.

9. Buffalo: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

QB EJ Manuel can throw it up and let him get it.

10. Detroit: CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

I can’t leave now. The only pick I never changed in 12 mocks.

11. Tennessee: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida

Didn’t Ken Whisenhunt shepherd in Ben Roethlisberger as a rookie?

12. N.Y. Giants: OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame

Late, great former GM George Young is smiling down on this selection.

13. St. Louis: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

Prime spot for Browns trade-up from No. 26 if they didn’t trade earlier.

14. Chicago: FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

At very least, takes over immediately for Devin Hester as kick returner.

15. Pittsburgh: CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

Depth at wide receiver in this draft swings pick to cornerback.

16. Dallas: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Jerry Jones can’t resist. Nor should he.

17. Baltimore: LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama

Trade down possible here because Ozzie Newsome sees a few players he’d take.

18. NY Jets: WR Odell Beckham, Louisiana State

Third-best wideout falls in place for them.

19. Miami: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

Offensive line rebuild has been their offseason theme.

20. Arizona: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina

Unexplained drop for athletic playmaker at tight end.

21. Green Bay: LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

Packers need speed upgrade on defense.

22. Philadelphia: WR Marqise Lee, Southern California

Chip Kelly is well aware of him from his Oregon encounters.

23. Kansas City: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Best available receiver.

24. Cincinnati: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State

Bengals take a quarterback in the second round.

25. San Diego: CB Jason Verrett, Texas Christian

Chargers aren’t put off by his lack of height.

26. Cleveland: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

If they can’t or don’t move up, Ray Farmer’s top QB will back up Brian Hoyer.

27. New Orleans: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

Saints coach beats Jaguars and Patriots to the punch.

28. Carolina: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

Cam Newton can play that high-wire passing game with this towering receiver.

29. New England: DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

As usual, Bill Belichick’s pick will be hailed as brilliant.

30. San Francisco: DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota

Plenty of picks give 49ers room to take chances.

31. Denver: OG Xavier Su’a-filo, UCLA

Absolute priority to keep inside pressure off Peyton Manning.

32. Seattle: TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

Now that he’s arrived, QB Russell Wilson always has to be supported.

Second Round

33. Houston: QB Tom Savage, Pittsburgh

Texans balk at parking another Carr in their garage.

34. Washington: OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada

Draft pick-deprived Redskins are desperate to trade Kirk Cousins.

35. Cleveland: CB Phillip Gaines, Rice

Only if a CB isn’t taken with first two picks.


Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtage #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi




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