Road to the Draft

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Road to the Draft: What can Browns expect from teams ahead of them?

The days are winding down until the 2020 NFL Draft. As we get oh so near to our final destination, we'll be breaking down a position group that matters for the Browns when they're on the clock with one of their seven picks.

Our next stop takes us to a number of cities across the country as we evaluate the needs and projections for the teams ahead of the Browns in Thursday's first round.

The experts say this year's NFL Draft starts at No. 3, where the Detroit Lions sit. That's because it's widely presumed the Bengals will nab LSU QB Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick and the Redskins will follow by selecting Ohio State DE Chase Young at No. 2.

Crazier things have happened and nothing is a given. For this exercise, though, we're going to assume the consensus belief. The Browns will be watching closely and adjusting their board accordingly as each one of these picks fall.

"You never know how the first nine picks are going to fall," Browns EVP of Football Operations and GM Andrew Berry said. "There are a number of different scenarios that could mean that we would submit a pick, move up, move back or do whatever. The second piece of that is we are not going to be pigeon-holed into a certain decision or a certain mode of operation. We are going to make the best decision that we think is right for the right and will not be pigeon-holed into anything specific."

We're going team by team evaluating potential needs and looking at the latest predictions from four of the top draft experts: ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, The Athletic's Dane Brugler and NBC Sports' Peter King.

3. Lions

Kiper: CB Jeff Okudah (Ohio State)

Jeremiah: Okudah

Brugler: Okudah

King: Trade with Dolphins, who select QB Justin Herbert (Oregon)

Summary: After parting ways with Darius Slay in free agency, the Lions would certainly find no issue landing the top cornerback in this year's class. Still, a proposal like the one King floated is why most agree the draft starts here. Anything's on the table.

4. Giants

Kiper: LB Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)

Jeremiah: OT Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)

Brugler: Wirfs

King: Wirfs

Summary: The Giants are another team some have projected as being up for a potential move back into the first round. Both linebacker and offensive line make a lot of sense for a team that struggled on both sides of the ball in 2019.

5. Dolphins

Kiper: Herbert

Jeremiah: Herbert

Brugler: Herbert

King: Trade with Lions, who select Okudah

Summary: Miami has been regularly pegged to take a quarterback at this spot. Three of the four analysts think the Dolphins can get their guy at No. 5 while King believes it will require a trade.

Check out photos of 2018 draft picks still on the Browns roster

6. Chargers

Kiper: Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)

Jeremiah: Tagovailoa

Brugler: Tagovailoa

King: OT Andrew Thomas (Georgia)

Summary: The Chargers have been linked to quarterbacks just as much as the Dolphins and Bengals. King, though, believes they'll make Thomas the second tackle selected in his projection.

7. Panthers

Kiper: DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)

Jeremiah: Brown

Brugler: Simmons

King: Brown

Summary: Carolina has overturned its roster in a significant way and could go in a lot of different directions with this pick. Brown is considered by most to be the best at his position in this year's class.

8. Cardinals

Kiper: Wirfs

Jeremiah: OT Jedrick Wills Jr. (Alabama)

Brugler: Brown

King: Simmons

Summary: Arizona made big splashes on offense during the offseason but could still use some help on the offensive line. The Cardinals have many more holes on defense, though, and can't be ruled out from taking players as talented as Simmons or Brown if they're available.

9. Jaguars

Kiper: WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)

Jeremiah: OT Mekhi Becton (Louisville)

Brugler: CB CJ Henderson (Florida)

King: Henderson

Summary: The Jaguars are in the same boat as the Panthers. Their roster has been overhauled and they can't be ruled out from addressing any type of position in the first round.

What did we learn?

  • None of the experts believe Okudah or Simmons will be available when the Browns are on the clock.
  • All but King expect three quarterbacks to be selected in the nine picks ahead of the Browns.
  • Kiper and Brugler believe the Browns will have a shot at selecting the second OT in the draft while Jeremiah has three off the board by the time Cleveland picks. King sits in the middle with two off the board.
  • While all four experts believe Wirfs will be the first tackle selected, there's no consensus on No. 2.
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