2023 NFL Draft: Browns Picks and Grade

May 1, 2023

Andy Billman

Cleveland Browns Overall Draft Grade – B

Players Picked in the 2023 NFL Draft

3rd Round, Pick 74 – Cleveland Browns select Cedric Tillman, Wide Receiver Tennessee.

When the pick was handed in and with Buckeye DE Zach Harrison still on the board, I really thought the Browns would select Harrison with the lack of depth at defensive end, but they did not and went back to the SEC, a Browns draft staple, with the selection of Cedric Tillman WR out of Tennessee.

Before we get to Tillman, this is a debatable choice between Tillman and Harrison, as the Browns put a heavy focus on the wide receiver in the offseason. With the lack of backups behind Garrett and Okoronkwo, I would have gone with Harrison.  Harrison has questions, as he did not produce consistently at Ohio State, but having a defensive end with a high ceiling would have been a nice addition (Harrison was selected at the next pick with the Atlanta Falcons).

Now moving forward with Tillman, he looks the part at 6’3″

At 213 lbs, he’s a big boy (looking at the Browns roster, he instantly is the biggest-sized wide receiver in the room).  Tillman was not healthy for a portion of the season for the Vols, but when he was healthy, he made an impact in most games.   He fits in as a number 2 receiver down the road and will be a good backup behind DPJ.  

At the end of the day, I get the selection of Tillman, so it is hard to hate this selection, as this could be a big addition to the wide receiver room. 

3rd Round, Pick 98 – Cleveland Browns select Siaki Ika defensive tackle out of Baylor.

Now with my Tillman Harrison debate above, the selection of Ika helps me feel better.  Ika is a huge beast at 6’3″ and 335 lbs (some have him listed 350+, whoa).  In every sense of the word, Ika is a nose tackle; he’s going to eat up offensive linemen with his size and slow down the run game. The selection of Ika, from my standpoint, is a surprising pick for the analytics-driven Browns because he does not score high in certain categories on the analytics defensive metrics, so I do give the Browns credit for going outside of the box and actually drafting a player who will be used to stop the run, THANK GOD!  Ika is also a former LSU Tiger; as we all know, the Browns love former LSU players, especially on defense.  In short, Ika is a need, and hopefully, he can develop and stay on the field, as having a young up-and-coming DT would be a great sight to see.

Looking forward to the Browns roster, one has to wonder what this means for DT Perrion Winfrey, who is still dealing with legal issues.  This pick tells me they are not relying on Winfrey for the 2023 season. 

It can be debated if the Browns should have drafted Harrison to add more depth to the thin defensive line, but Tillman has upside with size at receiver, and Ika is a huge body to the defensive line.  Hard to debate or get upset with what the Browns did on day two.

4th Round Pick 111 – Dawand Jones OT – 6’8″ 374 LBS Ohio State  

If you like big offensive linemen from Ohio, say no more, Dawand Jones from the Ohio State University, simply put, is a sizeable offensive tackle. Everyone lists Jones as having a strength in run blocking, and with his size, Jones will not be pushed around. In some write-ups, Jones does have some character red flags. 

At his size, he will be talked about in training camp, and fans like myself will wonder if and when he will get a shot in the starting offensive line. In particular, could he replace Jack Conklin or Jedrick Wills? There’s an outside chance of Jones pushing Wills in training camp for a starter job. I see Wills starting at the end of the day, but if Jones hits the ground running and has a strong training camp, it is not crazy.

Realistically, this is a development pick to play in games down the road, but this was a buzz-worthy selection in the 4th round. 

4th Round Pick 126 – Isaiah McGuire DE – 6’4″, 268 lbs Missouri

Isaiah McGuire fits the need I have wanted to see the Browns fill in the draft.  He is a defensive end from the SEC, the Browns’ conference of choice for the NFL Draft. McGuire is your average combine/analytics selection, as he does not wow a scout with impressive stats. Still, he was productive for Missouri and played in the best college football conference. 

It will be interesting to see whether McGuire can push for the backup role from Alex Wright, which is possible. McGuire, to me, is a selection that is hard to hate as it fills a need and has the potential to play as a backup next year. 

5th Round Pick 140 – Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB -6′ 1″, 205 lbs UCLA

A lot of chatter after this selection. It is no surprise as we in Cleveland love to analyze any possible Quarterbacks to someday play for the brown and orange.

In my analysis, the selection of Dorian Thompson-Robinson is simply a developmental QB.  It is a good selection for the Browns, especially at the most critical position in the game. Nothing more and nothing less short term.

Thompson-Robinson showed good skill and athleticism at UCLA; it is hard to tell, though, if he will translate into the NFL, my gut tells me that he will be a backup QB in the NFL long term. 

Last thought: I like Thompson-Robinson over Kellen Mond, who is currently on the Browns roster.

5th Round Pick 142 – Cameron Mitchell CB – 5’11” 191 lbs Northwestern

The Browns love an excellent cornerback, so at some point, they have to take one, and they did with Cameron Mitchell. With depth at the cornerback, Mitchell looks like a special teams role player in year one.

6th Round Pick 190 – Luke Wypler C – 6’3″ 303 lbs Ohio State

Wypler is your prototypical good college center, and playing for the Buckeyes is also a plus. He’s a development project into hopefully a starting center someday.  One thing to watch in training camp is to see if Wypler can challenge Nick Harris for the backup center job.

OVERALL – B

Hard to get upset with anything the Browns did in the 2023 NFL Draft, as the Browns are being credited by most for finding great value in the draft. Two big themes pop out, and one is size.  A lot of big boys are coming to play for the Browns, which I think is a great thing.  Two picks are from the big five power conferences, which is also not bad.  Time will tell with this group, but for a team who did not draft until the 3rd round, they do have some excitement heading into the spring.

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