Browns add explosive WR, reshape defense

The NFL Scouting Combine has come to a close as the 2023 NFL Draft process progresses one step closer to the main event. And for the Cleveland Browns, that means taking strides towards getting back into the playoffs by infusing their roster with young talent. While the Browns do not have a first round pick for two more seasons, they do have eight picks to attack the draft with this year. Could a name like North Carolina’s Josh Downs join the squad this upcoming April as they look to mold a more explosive passing attack in 2023?

As the combine has concluded, here is a mock draft adjusting to board movement based on risers and fallers in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Round 2, Pick 42: WR Josh Downs, North Carolina

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns are so obviously going to reshape their offense to become more explosive down the field. Adding a guy with a vertical jump, broad jump, and a 10-yard split all over the 90th percentile in North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs is a great start to that endeavor for general manager Andrew Berry.

Adding Downs to a room with Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones is a step in the right direction for the Browns. He can win down the field, he is slippery after the catch and possesses a throttle to play with the blindspots of defensive backs.

Round 3, Pick 98: EDGE Nick Herbig, Wisconsin

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin pass rusher Nick Herbig is undersized. There is no doubting that, but as he told me at the combine: “dynamite comes in small packages.” Despite his size and his 31-inch arms, Herbig has a great deal of bend and pass rush nuance to get home off the edge. And this was proven as he racked up 30 tackles for loss and 20 sacks over the last two seasons for the Badgers.

A 40-yard dash in the 93rd percentile and a 10-yard split in the 95th percentile among edge rushers is icing on the cake here as well. Will Herbig be an every-down player? But. But he can fill the void as a SAM linebacker in base defense, then play off the hip of a big end in obvious passing situations to live up to the draft capital of a top-100 pick.

Round 4, Pick 111: LB Dorian Williams, Tulane

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As four linebackers look to hit the open market that wore the brown and orange a year ago, the Browns will look to add a new name to the room through the draft even if they sign a veteran in free agency. Tulane’s Dorian Williams is a throwback who has spent time at the overhang, WILL, and MIKE during his time with the Green Wave.

Following up on a strong Senior Bowl week, Williams then tested well at the combine. Despite coming in at just 6-foot-1 and 228 pounds, Williams ran a 40-yard dash in the 98th percentile (4.49), with a 10-yard split in the 93rd percentile (1.57) as well. Williams has all the tools to mold him to take over at MIKE over the next year or two in Cleveland.

Round 4, Pick 126: CB Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

The Browns will be on the hunt for a new nickel this offseason. They could go the free agency route, but as Greg Newsome II no longer wants to play the position, the Browns must find a de facto starter on the defensive side of the football. And Louisville cornerback Kei’Trel Clark is a dog that would fit that need well in Cleveland.

Clark is not afraid to get downhill and blow up screens, is a twitched-up athlete, and has proven willing to get into the chest of the man across from him. Continually investing in the secondary and building depth, landing Clark for just the draft capital of a fourth rounder is a safe investment.

Round 5, Pick 142: DT Moro Ojomo, Texas

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

If the Browns are not addressing the defensive tackle position until the fifth round of this mock draft, then it means they made a splash for a veteran free agent or trade candidate to feel comfortable with the room heading into the draft. That is what they did here, landing the athletic Texas product Moro Ojomo with the 142nd overall pick in this mock draft.

Coming in at 6-foot-3 and 293 pounds, and with massive 34.5-inch arms, Ojomo proved to be an athletic player at the combine. With both of his jumps coming in over the 88th percentile, Ojomo backed up what is on his tape: explosiveness. However, his tape is still a bit too raw for the Texas defensive tackle to land on day two. The Browns landed him here.

Round 5, Pick 144: RB Tank Bigsby, Auburn

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

As the Browns look to replace Kareem Hunt heading into 2023, there is reason to have faith in second-year player Jerome Ford. However, if the Browns look to add another running back who can be a three-down player at the NFL level, Auburn’s Tank Bigsby has the production and talent to warrant the opportunity.

While none of his testing came in as extraordinary, his burst was on display with a 10-yard split that came in at the 90th percentile historically among running backs. With nearly 3,000 career rushing yards and 25 touchdowns, Bigsby looks to translate that success to the NFL level as well.

Round 6, Pick 190: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

By Relative Athletic Score standards, Old Dominion tight end Zack Kuntz tested as the most athletic tight end of all-time this past weekend in Indianapolis. As no surprise for a state championship-winning hurdler, Kuntz could be set for a rise. However, he is coming off a serious injury, is already 24 years old, and is more of a moving piece than a true tight end.

With a 4.55 40-yard dash, a 40-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-8 broad jump, and elite agility, Kuntz checked every box at the combine. And doing all of this at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds. Here, the Browns land him in the sixth round as they look to upgrade their room behind David Njoku.

Round 7, Pick 231: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Browns Josh Downs mock draft

Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns met with UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson at the combine, and they could be looking to bring in competition at backup quarterback with Kellen Mond. They could even be looking to roster three quarterbacks in 2023. Regardless, the majority of seventh round picks do not make rosters, so taking a swing at an athlete at the most important position in sports is not a bad move here.

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Story originally appeared on Browns Wire

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