Final Breakdown of the 2013 Draft (and Free Agency) – Cleveland Browns
Following last year’s draft where the team held thirteen picks going into the first day, the Browns only selected five members to their roster in 2013. These included Barkevious Mingo (Defensive End/Outside Linebacker from LSU), Leon McFadden (Cornerback from San Diego State University), Jamoris Slaughter (Safety from Notre Dame), Armonty Bryant (Defensive End/Outside Linebacker from East Central Oklahoma University), and Garrett Gilkey (Offensive Tackle from Chadron State University).
Analysis: Looking at the selections, and many pundits feel the team has (at most) two opening day starters for the 2013 season. (This has been a focal point of why many felt the Browns had a poor draft – I will reserve judgment until the season plays out though). However, Mingo may be behind Paul Kruger and either Jabaal Sheard or Quentin Groves on the depth chart at outside linebacker. It will be interesting to see how the rookie develops in the coming months; I believe he will not start immediately unless he consistently “wows” the coaching staff this spring and summer. Likewise, McFadden will be given an opportunity to compete with Buster Skrine, Trevin Wade, Johnson Bademosi, Chris Owens, and Kevin Barnes. Hopefully, one from this list can hold down the second cornerback position, while a dependable nickel cornerback emerges.
After releasing incumbent Usama Young, the Browns entered the offseason looking to fill the free safety position. In the 2012 season, rookie Tashaun Gipson and second-year veteran Eric Hagg also filled that role; both of who played decently but were inconsistent at times. They will now work with Jamoris Slaughter opposite T.J. Ward. The rookie is coming of an Achilles injury (a major factor in him being drafted in the sixth round) however – it is unknown whether he will be able to compete at the level the team is expecting.
Both seventh round selections (Bryant and Gilkey) are currently perceived as projects and will not be expected to play right away. However, both Division II athletes might be a part of special teams; provided they make the active roster. Both are large athletes, each at six-feet six-six inches tall and over 310 pounds. The NFL is a new level of competition that neither has ever seen though – they must adapt quickly if they want to be on the field during Sundays in the fall.
Additionally, the team acquired eighteen players to mini camp who went undrafted:
Jamaine Cook, Running Back from Youngstown State University
Travis Tannahill, Tight End from Kansas State University
Dave Kruger, Defensive Tackle from the University of Utah
Ricky Tunstall, Defensive Back from the University of Delaware
Aaron Adams, Offensive Tackle from Eastern Kentucky University
Josh Aubrey, Defensive Back from Stephen F. Austin University
Braxston Cave, Center from University of Notre Dame
Perez Ashford, Wide Receiver from Northern Illinois University
Dominique Croom, Wide Receiver from Central Arkansas University
Cordell Roberson, Wide Receiver from Stephen F. Austin University
Chris Faulk, Offensive Line from LSU
Mike Edwards, Wide Receiver from UTEP
Garrett Hoskins, Tight End from Eastern Michigan University
Martin Wallace, Offensive Tackle from Temple University
Justin Staples, Defensive End from University of Illinois
Paipai Falemalu, Defensive End from the University of Hawaii
Caylin Hauptmann, Offensive Line from FIU
Keenan Davis, Wide Receiver from University of Iowa
Analysis: It’s extremely difficult to determine how many, let alone which, of the undrafted free agents make the roster in 2013. Typically it is just a few and is dependent upon team needs (i.e. a position lacking depth). Will Paul Kruger’s brother have a leg up on other defensive linemen, due to his bloodline? Can either of the tight ends become a complement to Jordan Cameron? Are the Browns deep enough at Wide Receiver, where they forego signing an undrafted athlete? If a few of these guys are willing to assume a lesser role or try a new position, their chances of sticking around should increase greatly.