It seems like the 2020 NFL Draft just happened, but we move fast here at The Draft Network.
Currently going through summer evaluations for the 2021 NFL Draft class, our scouting team of Kyle Crabbs, Joe Marino, Jordan Reid, and Drae Harris are meeting up every day to discuss prospects, traits, and concepts. New to TDN is a daily scouting roundtable where we go through and identify the most important points of conversation from that day’s meeting.
This week, we continued our NFL roster conversations and delved into some of the more exciting and underrated rosters in the league, including the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns.
To say the Cleveland Browns were a disappointment last season would be an understatement. With Super Bowl aspirations following a promising 2018 campaign, the Browns regressed in 2019, in large part due to their disastrous offensive line. Now with a new regime and a retooled line, however (adding Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin will help A LOT), Cleveland once again has high hopes in 2020. After a discussion about the organization on Thursday, our staff thinks those lofty expectations are warranted, despite their still unproven O-line and arguably league-worst linebacker corps.
“I’ll pick Cleveland (in my top 10 rosters),” Harris stated. “They’ve assembled a ton of young assets. They may have the best running back room in the entire league with both Chubb and Hunt. Of course, (you have to mention) the embarrassment of riches they have outside with Odell, Jarvis (Landry), and Njoku too. They’re stacked. The only question mark is that they haven’t played well up-front, which is why Baker was under so much pressure. If they can give Baker time to get the ball to his weapons on the outside, this could very well be a top-seven offense in the NFL. He just needs time.”
Crabbs followed it up by praising the team, but continued to question the O-line in the process.
“Cleveland overhauled that offensive line, but we haven’t really seen it yet,” Crabb stated. “They’re still unproven. They’ve got a lot of skills guys, but the key to making all those skill guys work is getting consistent offensive line play and they just haven’t done that. That's not to say they can’t, but we don’t know.”
Like Cleveland, Denver is an exciting, young team with major question marks along the offensive line. Besides that, however, our staff seems to think they’re in great shape. That of course, is assuming sophomore quarterback Drew Lock can take the next step.
“Yes, they do have a big hole at tackle, but I think with what they have at the skill positions they’ll be able to overcome that a bit,” Reid stated. “ I just love the outlook of Sutton, Jeudy, and Hamler. I think they can be really explosive. The secondary is missing a second corner (too), but with Bryce Callahan coming back I think that’ll alleviate some of their concerns even though he’ll play the nickel spot. I’m going to go with Denver (in my top 10).”
Harris shared some of the same concerns as Reid, noting that left tackle Garrett Bolles hasn’t exactly panned out as the organization would have hoped.
“(Garrett) Bolles has been really inconsistent and the thing that scares me is that they didn’t address either tackle spot in free agency or the draft. That’s my primary concern with this team,” Harris stated. “Of course, the corners (aren’t great) either, but they can be covered up by their two great safeties in Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons.”
Harris would also go on to explain the similarities between Denver and Cleveland. To no surprise, those comparisons centered around talented weapons, young quarterbacks, and an inconsistent O-line.
“Cleveland (and Denver) are very similar,” Harris stated. “The main question with both teams is CAN you get the offensive line to gel and play well enough together? I really like what they’ve (each) done, but it comes down to whether or not you can protect your QB and run the ball effectively.”
Ending the conversation, Marino did make sure to point out that Denver’s offensive line situation isn’t all doom and gloom, especially after some upgrades on the interior.
“To make everyone feel better about the offensive line, if you’re looking for some positives there, I do think Graham Glasgow coming in will be a big help on the interior. Lloyd Cushenberry III, who they drafted in the third round, could also be that starting center too,” Marino stated. “When you glue everything together with (OL coach) Mike Munchak, that really helps put me at ease. They’re solid.”