Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: Which position makes the most sense to target in the 2nd round?

Draft talk continues to be the hottest topic with Browns fans, and we're answering four of those questions in the latest edition of the Mailbag.

Mr. Gribble, having just read the Browns Mock Draft 1.0, I like the picks, but at No. 41 wouldn't a safety be advisable with the pending losses in free agency of all three safeties? -- Joseph C., Adelanto, California

Always appreciate the good feedback, Joseph. We have two more mock drafts coming, so stay tuned

As for our picks in the second round, there was one, central theme. All three of us, after picking an offensive tackle at No. 10, are thinking defense in the second round. Nathan and I are thinking about pass rushers/defensive ends while Gibbs went with a more traditional linebacker. Not acknowledged, as you mentioned, is the safety position

As we've written in this space plenty of times, the Browns are guaranteed to bring back just two healthy safeties from last year's roster: Sheldrick Redwine and J.T. Hassell. It's a significant need for the defense, no question. And certainly, it's in the cards for the Browns to pick a safety at this point in the draft. A few good ones come to mind -- Cal's Ashtyn Davis, Minnesota's Antonie Winfield Jr. and Lenoir-Rhyne's Kyle Dugger. My logic in going with a different position was twofold. One, I believe this is a position Cleveland can upgrade in a big way via free agency as compared to some of the other positions on defense. Two, I think there's a bigger dropoff in talent at a position like pass rusher or linebacker between the second and third round than there is at safety, which is generally considered to be not the strongest.

This would be an appropriate point in the mailbag to acknowledge none of us who participated in the ClevelandBrowns.com Mock Draft 1.0 are talent evaluators, nor are we privy to the Browns' draft board. This is all speculation, and, honestly, on Day 2 of the draft, there are a lot of moving pieces that can take a team in a number of different directions. The Browns have enough needs to pretty much address any position at this point of the draft. The following positions, though, tend to be evaluated by analysts as some of the strongest options for Day 2

Wide receiver: This could be the deepest position group in the entire draft. Because of that assessment, many teams could very well pass on the position in Round 1 before tackling it Day 2 and getting better value.

Cornerback: Matt Miller from Bleacher Report recently pegged six cornerbacks to come off the board in the second round. That's a significant number at a position that is already expected to produce a handful of first-round picks, including Ohio State's Jeff Okudah, a projected top-five selection.

Tight end: Few, if any, project a tight end to be taken in the first round of this year's draft, but a number of them could come off the board in the second round. If a team is looking to come away from the draft with a solid player at this position, it might have to bite at this stage because of the potential dropoff in the following rounds.

Edge: You're not going to get the best edge rushers in the second round -- those are always taken early and often in the first round -- but there are as many as five projected by most analysts to be taken at this point of the draft -- and most expect them to go in the first half of the round. If a team is unable to address the position in free agency and doesn't take one in the first round, it might have to pounce in the second if it wants to enter 2020 thinking it's better positioned at edge.

Check out behind the scenes photos of Browns coaches and executives watching combine workouts

Will the Browns receive any compensatory picks in this year's draft? -- Bob R., Novelty, Ohio

The NFL has yet to unveil compensatory picks for this year's draft but they should be coming very soon. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein projected in May that the Browns would not receive any following their activity in free agency leading into the 2019 season. Within the AFC North, Zierlein projects the Ravens to acquire three and the Steelers to receive one.

I am curious if the combine offensive lineman that threw up an incredible 44 bench reps has ever been tried at defensive tackle. Seems like a natural run stopper. Possible sixth or seventh round Browns project? -- Tim C., Bradenton, Florida

The player you're talking about is Fresno State OG Netane Muti. Born in Tonga, Muti did play both on the offensive and defensive line in high school but was exclusively an offensive lineman in college. He unfortunately had just one season (2017) that wasn't affected by a serious injury. He was limited to two and three games, respectively, the past two seasons. His draft prospects are hard to peg because of his injury history, but Zierlein believes he has "future starter potential for a downhill team." Miller projects him as a fourth-round pick.

Who are possible developmental quarterbacks that the team could bring in to compete for the third-string spot or the practice squad? -- Scott W., Brandon, Florida

This is the definition of throwing darts, but I'll identify a couple of names that have been getting some buzz as late-round options for teams looking to add depth and potential to their quarterback room.

James Morgan had a bumpy start to his college career at Bowling Green but was rejuvenated at FIU. In 2018, he threw for 2,727 yards with a 65.3 completion percentage and a school-record 26 touchdowns. According to a Houston Chronicle article, Morgan has drawn comparisons to Joe Flacco and Kirk Cousins.

Another one to watch is Mason Fine from North Texas. He wasn't invited to the Combine but is an intriguing prospect after throwing for 12,505 yards and 93 touchdowns with the Mean Green. If he's picked, he'd be North Texas' first draft selection since 2004.

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