We're 48 days away from Day 1 of the NFL Draft — and 47 days away from when the Browns are slated to make their first pick of the draft at No. 42 overall.
The Browns don't have a first-round pick but will still likely need to select a player in Round 2 capable of making an immediate difference, and that pick has widely been projected by draft analysts to be spent toward a defensive linemen or wide receiver. Their second pick will come at No. 98 overall in the third round and could also be used at those positions, too.
The first mock draft from ClevelandBrowns.com with staff writer Anthony Poisal and radio producer Jason Gibbs follows those mock trends. We'll check back a few more times before the draft begins and find out next week how the free agency shuffle might affect the Browns' draft needs.
Round 2 (No. 42)
WR Josh Downs, UNC - I think the Browns should take care of their needs at defensive line in free agency, where it should be much easier to find instant-impact players rather than taking a chance at finding a starter with a Day 2 rookie. They should have an easier time, however, finding a speedy receiver at this point of the draft who can immediately be inserted into the lineup and help them stretch opposing defenses. That's what a player like Downs can offer. It's far from a guarantee — but far from impossible — he'll still be available this late in the draft, but the Browns need to add another talented receiver and deep-ball threat for Deshaun Watson, and Downs meets the criteria.
Round 3 (No. 98)
DT Gervon Dexter, Florida - It might not be with their first draft pick, but I think the Browns will still want to draft a defensive lineman on Day 2. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein tabbed Dexter with a grade that ranks him as "an above-average backup," which could still be an upgrade for a Browns interior D-Line that ranked near the bottom of the league last year. A team like the Browns looking to improve their run defense could be intrigued by his massive 6-foot-6, 310-pound frame.
First mock draft of the year, and it's a weird one not having to guess anything in the first round…yet (I'm sure Poisal will eventually lead us down that path). Three biggest needs for the Browns in my eyes heading into free agency aren't really a surprise to anyone: defensive end, defensive tackle and ride Receiver. For me, it's all about accruing weapons for Deshaun Watson. Look at another team in our division — the Bengals are all about putting playmakers around Joe Burrow. I feel like the Browns need to do the same for Watson. You can never have enough.
Round 2 (No. 42)
WR Tyler Scott, Cincinnati - Probably a wish at this point after his combine, but hey, a man can dream can't he? Our friend Dane Brugler from The Athletic compares him to Tyler Lockett. Outstanding speed, a great route runner and, most importantly, he's a northeast Ohio kid from Norton who knows how to play in the weather. He didn't play out of the slot much in college, which could be a concern, but if that's his biggest flaw… Sign. Me. Up.
Round 3 (No. 98)
EDGE Zach Harrison, THE Ohio State University - If the Browns don't go defense at pick 42, I think they look to improve that side of the ball here in the third round, but not necessarily at DT. I think they bolster that DE room with the addition of Harrison from the Buckeyes. Harrison turned heads with his combine weigh-in process landing in the 99th percentile for arm length and wingspan. To play edge in the NFL you have to have length at the position and Harrison has it. The biggest question for him and the Browns: Will he still be there this late in the round? Remember, the Browns have multiple picks in the fourth and fifth round if they want to try and move up. Plenty of Day 3 assets to throw around.