After a disappointing 2019 campaign where the Browns failed to live up to the hype created by a splashy offseason, the organization finally feels stable.
Cleveland made impact moves in free agency including signing Jack Conklin and Austin Hooper, and the marriage of general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski is forward with what appears to be a clear vision for how the team should be built.
Let’s examine what Berry was able to accomplish in his first draft to restore the promise the Browns showed coming out of 2018.
Cleveland's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 10: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
- No. 44: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
- No. 88: Jordan Elliott, IDL, Missouri
- No. 97: Jacob Phillips, LB, LSU
- No. 115: Harrison Bryant, TE, FAU
- No. 160: Nick Harris, IOL, Washington
- No. 187: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
Best Pick: Jedrick Wills
Wills is the best offensive tackle in the 2020 class. He was dominant as a run and pass blocker in the SEC, and I love the development he showcased from his sophomore to junior seasons. He’s a plug-and-play prospect that can pair with Conklin to finally solve the Browns’ issues at offensive tackle that made life too difficult for quarterback Baker Mayfield last season.
Biggest Surprise: Staying At No. 10
There were plenty of rumblings that Cleveland was in the trade market and looking to move back from No. 10. It’s easy to see why that was a popular belief given the analytics-driven front office combined with the depth of the OT class. Three offensive tackles were selected in the first round after the Browns picked at 10th overall, but credit to Berry for not moving down the board and trading away from Wills, who is a superior talent to the options he would’ve had in a trade back.
Day 3 Sleeper: Donovan Peoples-Jones
Peoples-Jones was an all-everything high school recruit that had a disappointing career at Michigan given his recruiting status entering Ann Arbor. Part of that could be blamed on the erratic quarterback Michigan had, but other receivers were able to find more production.
While the college production didn’t meet expectations, Peoples-Jones had plenty of exciting moments on tape where his size, burst, ball skills, hands and physicality led to impact plays. It would come as no surprise to see Peoples-Jones become a better pro than he was a college player.
X-Factor: Grant Delpit
After offensive tackle, the biggest need the Browns had coming into the offseason was safety. Berry brought veterans Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo in via free agency and truly solidified the position by drafting Delpit in the second round.
Delpit is a rangy safety with terrific ball skills and he plays a physical brand of football. The challenge with Delpit is that his tape is littered with inconsistent tackling. However, the rest of his game is fairly sound, and he has the potential to become a highly impactful defender in the NFL. If he reaches his ceiling, teams will regret passing him in the first round.
With the significant portions of the offseason now in the rearview mirror, Cleveland is in good shape with its roster in terms of having reduced needs filled and talented young players across the depth chart. Wills and Delpit have a chance to become core players for years to come, and Peoples-Jones could be a steal. The Browns did well to invest in areas of need while finding some terrific value with several picks.