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Browns Mailbag: Jaycee Horn, Joe Tryon and more discussion about the No. 26 pick

Senior Writer Andrew Gribble answers your questions every week

We're rolling into April, and we're making it count.

Let's go with FIVE of your questions to officially commemorate Draft Month in Cleveland.

Which Browns free agents have signed elsewhere? — Barry G., Trenton

Here's the rundown thus far. The AFC South, in particular, is chock full of former Browns.

DT Larry Ogunjobi - Bengals 

CB Terrance Mitchell - Texans

CB Tavierre Thomas - Texans          

CB Kevin Johnson - Titans

OL Kendall Lamm - Titans    

DT Vincent Taylor - Texans  

LB Tae Davis - Texans

The following players remain free agents.

LB B.J. Goodson

DE Olivier Vernon

S Karl Joseph

S Andrew Sendejo

WR Taywan Taylor

WR Marvin Hall

Should we trade up for Jaycee Horn and have the best secondary in the league after the great free agency that Andrew Berry and the Browns had with the secondary additions? — James E., Westlake

There's been a lot of buzz with Horn this week, and it's for good reason. He looked the part of the exceptional athlete he is at a Pro Day performance that left a lot of draft gurus impressed. He certainly doesn't sound like a player that's going to last all the way until the 26th pick — even though Nathan Zegura attempted to wish it into existence in the Mock Draft 2.0 that dropped Thursday.

As for trading up to acquire him, that's the kind of decision Andrew Berry and his staff will have to make in the coming days and weeks — and that involves every prospect on the team's draft board, not just Horn. Moving up, especially from the No. 26 spot, doesn't come cheaply, especially if it involves moving up double-digit spots. For example, the Saints had to part with a future first-round pick to go from No. 27 to No. 14 in the 2018 NFL Draft. Smaller moves cost less but will almost certainly require the Browns to part with at least one of their picks in this year's or next year's draft. 

Based on what we've seen in our weekly roundups of mock drafts, Horn is slotted by most as a mid-first round pick. The combination of his standout Pro Day and the news of Caleb Farley, a similarly ranked CB prospect out of Virginia Tech, dealing with a back injury, has only had an upward effect on Horn's draft stock. What that means come April 29 is anyone's guess.

Andrew, it seems like a long time since the Browns have had a threat in the return game and also a kicker close to reliable as Matt Stover or Phil Dawson. If you have addressed these needs previously and I missed them, kindly disregard. Thank you for your updates on the Browns. — Daniel I., Carrollton, Texas

The Browns made a couple of moves on this front last month, and both involved retaining players from last year's team.

WR JoJo Natson is back with the Browns after a 2020 campaign that lasted just three games. Natson tore his ACL in Cleveland's Week 3 matchup with Washington and was lost for the season, leaving the Browns without their top option on punts and kicks. He has a track record of success at both positions after posting quality numbers over two seasons with the Rams. He'll still have to compete for the job, though, as D'Ernest Johnson and Donovan Peoples-Jones were both solid during Natson's absence.

And then there's K Cody Parkey, who re-signed with the Browns after a 2020 season filled with far more big makes than misses. Most importantly, Parkey was perfect in the playoffs, hitting all 11 of his kicks (eight extra points, three field goals) after a regular season in which he navigated the swirling winds of FirstEnergy Stadium like a veteran. Perhaps Parkey's best stat from 2020 was his 10-of-11 mark on field goals from 40+. It's unclear if the Browns plan to add another kicker before training camp, but Parkey put himself in position to be someone the Browns would want back for another season.

What is the status of Chris Hubbard's recovery from knee surgery and will the Browns draft a couple of offensive tackles in view of the significant risk for injuries? — Rob M., Charleston, West Virginia

Hubbard is now roughly three months removed from knee surgery, and coach Kevin Stefanski said last month Hubbard "looked great" and was progressing. We'll have a better gauge on his status whenever the players are able to get on the field sometime this spring.

As for the tackle position, the Browns lost Lamm in free agency and gained Greg Senat, a former practice squad player who spent the final 10 games of the regular season with the Cowboys. Senat is a raw player with a lot of upside whom the Browns believe can benefit greatly from the coaching of Bill Callahan. 

"We think he's a very physically gifted guy," Berry said. "He's very studious and is a hard worker, and he fits the profile for guys that usually do well for us."

Both Senat and Hubbard appear to be the top options at the moment behind Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin, though that could change depending on what happens in the draft. After a season like last year's, it's clear there is no such thing as too many players who can play one of the most important positions on the football field.

Some Day 2 names at tackle to know: Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State), Liam Eichenberg (Notre Dame), Samuel Cosmi (Texas), Alex Leatherwood (Alabama), Spencer Brown (Northern Iowa) and Jackson Carman (Clemson).

What are your thoughts about the Browns drafting Joe Tryon out of Washington with the 26th pick in this year's NFL Draft? — Howard C., Atlanta

Tryon's a player that seems to get lost in the shuffle of all the pass rushers who are pegged as late first-round picks. He opted out of the 2020 season but looked impressive this past week at his Pro Day and drew praise from his former coach, Jimmy Lake, who said Tryon "isn't close" to hitting his ceiling as a player. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has been particularly high on Tryon, whom he projected to the Browns in a recent mock draft. He likes a lot about Tryon's game and believes he's capable of being an immediate contributor.

"He has an average get-off as a pass rusher, but he has shock in his hands to jolt offensive tackles, separate and close on the quarterback," Jeremiah wrote in his recent prospect rankings. "He has a nasty push/pull move and can shorten the edge by powering through the outside shoulder. He isn't bendy at the top of his rush due to some ankle tightness. His effort is exceptional. He dominated tight ends at the point of attack against the run and he can reset the line of scrimmage. Overall, Tryon plays with force and effort, which affects both the run and pass game."

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