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26 NFL draft prospects invited to the NFL draft

During the frantic debut of the Cleveland Browns' brand new jerseys, the league released a list of prospects who will attend the NFL Draft next week in Chicago.

For the first time in recent memory, there won't be a quarterback in the building to hear his name called. Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota will both watch the proceedings with their respective families in Alabama and Hawaii.

But there are still 26 future professionals who will don their sharpest suit and brightest smile for their chance to shake Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand before embarking on their wildest journey to date.

Running backs

*Todd Gurley (Georgia)

Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin)

*Browns angle: ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had the Browns choosing Gurley in his latest mock draft with the 19th pick. If Gurley hadn't torn his ACL last season, many believe he would've been a slam-dunk top-10 pick – even given the recent draft history of running backs. *

Wide receivers

*Kevin White (West Virginia)

DeVante Parker (Louisville)

Breshad Perriman (Central Florida)

Jaelen Strong (Arizona State)

Devin Smith (Ohio State)

Browns angle:  *Parker has consistently been one of the most linked players to Cleveland in mock drafts. The 6-foot-3 Parker will immediately challenge for a starting position no matter which NFL building he lands. *

Offensive linemen

*Brandon Scherff (Iowa)

La'el Collins (LSU)

Andrus Peat (Stanford)

D.J. Humphries (Florida)

Cameron Erving (Florida State)

Laken Tomlinson (Duke)

*Browns angle: Offensive line may not seem like a glaring need, but the Browns have established they'll be taking the best players available. If someone like Collins is there at 19, general manager Ray Farmer may have to weigh that option. *

Defensive linemen

*Leonard Williams (Southern Cal)

Danny Shelton (Washington)

Arik Armstead (Oregon)

*Browns angle: Shelton's statistical production in college (93 tackles, nine sacks) at the defensive tackle position is a rarity. In the right system, Shelton has the playmaking potential to be the centerpiece of the defensive scheme. *

Pass rushers

*Dante Fowler Jr. (Florida)

Vic Beasley (Clemson)

Shane Ray (Missouri)

Randy Gregory (Nebraska)

Alvin "Bud" Dupree (Kentucky)

*Browns angle: Following a month of free agency in which the wide receiver and defensive line positions were addressed, pass rushing, perhaps, rises to the top of Cleveland's wish list. And there's arguably not a stronger positional group in this draft than pass rushers. *

Inside linebackers

Benardrick McKinney (Mississippi State)

*Browns angle: Karlos Dansby, Craig Robertson and Chris Kirksey make up a top flight group of tacklers – among the most underrated in the AFC. Still, as we saw with Dansby's knee injury last season, this is a unit that could use even more depth and flexibility. *


Trae Waynes (Michigan State)

Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest)

Byron Jones (Connecticut)

*Browns angle: A year after adding Justin Gilbert, Pierre Desir, K'Waun Williams and Robert Nelson as rookies, it would be simple to guess the Browns aren't in the market for a cornerback early in the draft. But then again – this is the draft. Nothing is impossible. *


Landon Collins (Alabama)

Browns angle: Cleveland joined Seattle as the only two NFL teams to boast multiple starting safeties in the Pro Bowl. Donte Whitner plays ferociously near the line of scrimmage, while Tashaun Gipson plays ball-hawking centerfield, intercepting six passes in just 11 games (knee injury). It'd be perceived as a stunner if Collins received a phone call from Farmer and coach Mike Pettine.

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