Cleveland Browns' 2017 draft class: Kiper's grades, McShay's best pick, more
NFL Draft Insiders
Posted: 2017-05-01

The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?

ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.



Cleveland Browns

Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: B

Kiper: The Browns had a draft that could split a fan base. How? Well, on one hand I'm not sure any team added more overall talent, plus yet another future first-round pick in the Deshaun Watson deal, which sets Cleveland up for a monster 2018 draft. On the other hand, the problem that has dragged this franchise down for years -- no franchise quarterback -- is still clearly not solved.

First, the good stuff: Cleveland didn't overthink the No. 1 pick. After plenty of rumors the Browns could take Mitchell Trubisky there, they sat tight and simply took the best player. A motivated Myles Garrett could be a superstar. And Gregg Williams should have a great plan for Jabrill Peppers. David Njoku could become the best big receiving weapon out of this draft if he develops. That's a huge first round.

The issue, of course, is Watson now joins Carson Wentz as a coulda-been QB for the Browns, and his success or failure will be closely watched. I'm also not too high on DeShone Kizer, though the physical tools are obvious. Cleveland has to believe either it has a QB trade, or Cody Kessler can get it done. Feeling good about that? Elsewhere, both Larry Ogunjobi and Roderick Johnson have a lot of upside. Johnson in particular has great attributes and inconsistent tape. Caleb Brantley is a major character risk given recent legal issues, but he's obviously far more talented than the draft slot.

Overall, a frustrating draft for some, a big win for talent added.

ROUND/PICK NAME POS COLLEGE
1/1 Myles Garrett DE TEXAS A&M
1/25 Jabrill Peppers S MICHIGAN
1/29 David Njoku TE MIAMI
2/52 DeShone Kizer QB NOTRE DAME
3/65 Larry Ogunjobi DT CHARLOTTE
4/126 Howard Wilson CB HOUSTON
5/160 Roderick Johnson OT FLORIDA STATE
6/185 Caleb Brantley DT FLORIDA
7/224 Zane Gonzalez K ARIZONA STATE
7/252 Matthew Dayes RB NC STATE



Todd McShay's favorite pick

David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.) (pick No. 29)

It goes without saying that No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett could also be the pick here. Cleveland did well not to overthink it, taking the clear-cut best player on the board. I thought the Browns should've picked Njoku with the 25th overall pick, but they traded back up to No. 29 to nab the explosive tight end. Njoku has the speed (4.59 40) to stretch the field, along with the leaping ability (40-inch vertical) to make big plays down the field. He has one of the highest overall ceilings in this class, and those are exactly the kind of players the Browns should be drafting as they rebuild their roster.

Scouts Inc. on 2017 class

1 (1) Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M | Highlights

What he brings: The most naturally gifted player in the class, Garrett possesses a rare size, athleticism and explosiveness combination. He has the potential to turn into a premiere NFL pass-rusher thanks to his ability to win with both speed and power, along with exceptional flexibility bending the edge. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: After ranking 30th in sacks last year (26 total), the Browns instantly upgrade their pass rush with the top talent in the class. Garrett is an ideal fit within first-year defensive coordinator Greg Williams' heavy 4-3 scheme and now gives Cleveland a pair of formidable ends, paired with Emmanuel Ogbah. -- Kevin Weidl



1 (25) Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan | Highlights

What he brings: A relentless competitor, Peppers has an outstanding football IQ, tested well at the combine and is an excellent punt returner. However, he's not big enough to play linebacker, and limitations in coverage and questionable ball skills raise questions about his ability to become a difference-maker at safety. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: This is a reach, but Cleveland has a need at safety, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will make the most of Peppers' versatility. In addition, the Browns finished 26th in the league in yards per punt return last year and Peppers is a dangerous returner. -- Steve Muench



1 (29) David Njoku, TE, Miami | Highlights

What he brings: A move, or "F," tight end with freakish athleticism. He can become a more consistent inline blocker and add detail with his route running, but he has the chance to develop into a difference-maker in the pass game with rare run-after-catch ability for the position. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: Tight end Gary Barnidge wasn't nearly as productive last season as he was in 2015, and he turns 32 in September. Njoku gives an offense that finished 28th in passing yards per game a much-needed weapon. Look for coach Hue Jackson to move him around to create favorable matchups. -- Steve Muench



2 (20) DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame | Highlights

What he brings: Kizer is a redshirt sophomore who would have benefitted from another year to work on his mechanics, develop the mental aspect of his game and continue to mature as a leader, but he has prototypical size and arm strength to go along with deceptive mobility. -- Steve Muench

How he fits: Drafting a quarterback in the first round hasn't exactly worked out for the Browns. The four they selected in the first round since 1999 -- Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel -- were a combined 32-67 with Cleveland. Taking one in the second round reduces the risk to some degree, and if head coach Hue Jackson and quarterbacks coach David Lee can unlock his potential, Kizer is a steal here. Of course, that's if they get him to realize his considerable upside. -- Steve Muench



3 (1) Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Charlotte | Highlights

What he brings: Ogunjobi is a disruptive interior defensive tackle who has a good combination of quickness and power. He plays with quality leverage and flashes quick and heavy hands in combat to disengage from blocks. He has the versatility to fit within a one- or two-gap scheme. -- Kevin Weidl

How he fits: The Browns continue to address their defensive front line to help a defense that ranked 30th against the rush in 2016. Ogunjobi will have a chance to quickly develop into a strong contributor and eventually start. -- Kevin Weidl



4 (20) Howard Wilson, CB, Houston | Highlights

What he brings: There's a lot to like about Wilson's frame, short-area cover skills, ability to play the ball and willingness to step up in run support. He needs to get stronger and improve his recognition in coverage, though, and he doesn't have great top-end speed. -- Steve Muench



5 (16) Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State | Highlights

What he brings: With 36-inch inch arms and good initial quickness, Johnson pushes speed rushers past the pocket and gets good initial surge in the run game when his technique is sound. But he's a waist bender with below-average lower-body flexibility. -- Steve Muench



6 (1) Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida | Highlights

What he brings: When his motor is on, Brantley is one of the quickest and most disruptive three-techniques in the class. He has excellent first-step quickness, is a polished hand fighter and more disruptive as a pass-rusher than his stats indicate. Lack of effort is a concern, and he doesn't always maximize his talent. On April 24, Brantley was charged Friday with misdemeanor simple battery. -- Kevin Weidl



7 (6) Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona State

What he brings: Gonzalez is the all-time FBS career record-holder for most field goals with 96 and holds the FBS record for points by a kicker with 494. He is coming off a stellar senior season, and he's versatile enough to handle the kickoff duties in addition to place-kicking duties. -- Steve Muench



7 (34) Matthew Dayes, RB, NC State | Highlights

What he brings: An undersized back with marginal top-end speed, Dayes is a highly competitive and efficient runner who is quicker than fast. He's also an above-average route-runner, showing reliable hands and the ability to flex out as a receiver. -- Steve Muench



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