The Cleveland Browns added a linebacker, cornerback, safety, defensive end, and offensive lineman with their five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.
In the first draft of the front-office combination of chief executive officer Joe Banner, coach Rob Chudzinski and general manager Michael Lombardi, the Browns selected former LSU defensive end
The team also made a pair of trades in the middle rounds for future draft picks.
“We were trying to focus on making sure we got players we thought made us better,” Banner said. “The difference is, on offense, we think we have a lot of young guys. We’re not quite sure what they’re going to be over time. We were inclined to give them some time and see how they develop and we’ll be able to identify where we’re at. On defense, we felt it was clearer to identify what talent was out there, what talent we had, match it up with the philosophy and make some moves that could make the team better.”
Mingo, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound end, started 10 of 13 games for LSU this past year. He registered 38 total tackles, 8½ for 41 lost yards and had 4½ sacks for 41 lost yards as a junior. Mingo also broke up three passes, had 12 hits on opposing quarterbacks, forced one fumble and recovered two others.
“I just have the want to get there, high energy, quick first step, burst to the ball, and that’s what they liked about me,” Mingo said. “That’s what they wanted to add to their team, and I feel that I can bring that.
“I’ll be as good as I want to be, and I want to be great. I want to be one of those guys that gets their names in Canton, Ohio, and be a dominant player. I think I’m the best pass-rusher, and week one in the preseason, I’ll get to show that.”
In his LSU career, which included his redshirt season in 2009, Mingo played in 40 total games and made 15 starts. He registered 119 total tackles, 60 of which were solo stops, 29 tackles for 175 lost yards, and 15 sacks for 108 lost yards. He also broke up 11 passes and had 27 hits on opposing quarterbacks.
“He’s an extremely impressive young man, somebody that we felt like we strongly wanted to be able to put in our locker room and become part of the team,” Chudzinski said. “His athleticism speaks for itself. He’s an extremely gifted athlete, explosive, great speed off the edge, and is a developing player.”
The Browns added their second defensive player in the 2013 NFL Draft when they selected McFadden with their third-round pick.
In 2012, McFadden collected 61 tackles, 12 passes defended and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, en route to his third straight selection to the first-team All-Mountain West Conference team.
“He’s got good skills,” said Browns general manager Michael Lombardi. “He’s competitive, can make plays on the football. I think he’s got the attributes we’re looking for, certainly, at the position. I think he brought the dimensions that we wanted in terms of players that we wanted to bring into the organization.”
On Friday evening, the Browns elected to trade their fourth-round pick at No. 104, and a fifth-rounder, No. 164, to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for wide receiver
Later in the day, the Browns agreed to trade their fifth-round pick, at No. 139 overall, to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. With the pick, the Colts selected defensive tackle Montori Hughes from the University of Tennessee-Martin.
“We view Bess as part of the draft, and we were fortunate being able to trade back a couple spots to acquire him, keep the same number of picks, and then, we were able to take those picks and trade them for future picks,” Banner said. “The philosophy is to treat everything we have, whether it’s a draft pick, an undrafted free agent, as an asset and try to maximize the value we can get for it.
“We took our fourth-round pick, traded back to pay for part of Bess and then, traded that for a future third-round pick. For a fourth-round pick, we feel that’s about as much value as you could possibly hope to get.”
Following the trades, the Browns selected Slaughter from Notre Dame with the 175th pick in the draft.
Before entering the 2013 NFL Draft, Slaughter petitioned the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility because of a torn Achilles tendon he suffered in a road win at Michigan State on Sept. 15, an injury that cost him 10 games during the 2012 season. He had three tackles against both Navy and Purdue and two more against Michigan State before the injury.
Prior to his senior season, Slaughter registered 90 total tackles, 57 solo stops, four tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions.
“Just looking at Jamoris, we felt good looking at his film from the year before,” Chudzinski said. “We felt good medically from the research that we had done that he’ll be back at full speed. That’s going to take a little time. We saw a player who was extremely productive, and very versatile. He had been able to do a number of different things, and we really liked the player that we saw at that time.”
The Browns addressed both the offensive and defensive lines with their two selections in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Browns drafted Bryant at No. 217, and followed it up 10 picks later with Gilkey from Chadron State at No. 227.
Bryant comes to the Browns after having 17.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks for 79 lost yards last season. He also recovered two fumbles, forced four others and blocked a pair of kicks in just eight games for the Tigers.
“He’s an explosive, speed-off-the-edge, good-sized defensive end who can apply pressure to the quarterback,” Chudzinski said. “He’d be that type of player in our scheme. He can put weight on. He’s a guy that you look at that you’re excited about what he can be if he develops and works at it. We felt like he’s past his mistakes and is ready to move on.”
Gilkey, also a Division II player like Bryant, blocked for a team that rushed for 2,110 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games last fall. He was part of an offense that scored for 33.8 points and gained 411.5 yards of total offense per game.
“He’s a big guy, good size, has really good feet for a big man and can bend very well,” Chudzinski said. “He went to the Senior Bowl and competed against those guys. He’s lined up against guys from Florida State, North Carolina, and everywhere else, and looked like he fit right in. It didn’t faze him a bit. He’s the guy that has the kind of attitude that we want.”
Following the draft, the Browns reached agreements with 17 undrafted free agents, according to Banner.
OHIO KIDS GO BACK-TO-BACK
Former Ohio State defensive end John Simon and Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk were selected by the Baltimore Ravens with back-to-back picks in the fourth round. Simon, a native of Youngstown and graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, figures to switch from defensive end to outside linebacker at the NFL level.
Simon started 37 of the 50 games he played in at Ohio State. During that time, he registered 154 total tackles, including 81 solo stops, 43 tackles for loss and 20.5 quarterback sacks. He also broke up 10 passes, including a career-high four as a senior, despite missing the season finale against Michigan due to injury.
Juszczyk, a native of Medina and Cloverleaf High School product, was a two-time All-American who set Harvard records for receptions (125), receiving yards (1,576), and touchdowns (22) by a tight end. He ranks in the top 10 all-time in each of those categories. As a senior, Juszczyk gained 706 yards and scored eight touchdowns on 52 receptions.