Sunday, April 30, 2023

Cleveland Browns 2023 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2023 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Cleveland Browns? What are they saying about the Browns' 2023 draft haul?

MORE: 2023 NFL Strength of Schedule - Grade: B

Trades to acquire Deshaun Watson and Elijah Moore cost the Browns their first- and second-round picks but they did well with their third-round selections of Tillman (the pick coming back from the Jets in the Moore trade), a strong outside presence at receiver, and Ika, the space-eater inside that they needed.

Jones' pure size makes him a promising swing tackle. McGuire provides some power as a backup defensive end. Thompson-Robinson played a lot of college football but still has upside to cultivate. Wypler's value in the sixth round was too strong to pass on.

ESPN - Grade: B+

The Browns sent their first-rounder to the Texans in the Deshaun Watson deal and their second-rounder to the Jets in the Elijah Moore trade (Cleveland got a third-round selection in return), which meant the Browns waited all the way into the middle of Round 3 to be on the clock. And I have to say, I'm impressed by several of the prospects general manager Andrew Berry landed.

Some teams had a higher grade on wideout Cedric Tillman (74) than his Tennessee teammate Jalin Hyatt, who went a pick before him. Tillman was limited by an ankle injury last season, but at 6-foot-3, he can go up and get a 50-50 ball. Siaki Ika (98) is a 335-pound run-plugger of a defensive tackle. He isn't going to get many sacks, but he'll eat up blockers. Dawand Jones (111) is a mountain of a man who could develop into the starting right tackle. Isaiah McGuire (126) can be a rotational pass-rusher as a rookie. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (140) is a solid dual-threat, developmental quarterback. Luke Wypler (190) actually is my third-ranked center; I thought he might go two rounds before Cleveland got him.

Again, for what Berry had in this draft, he did a great job. He never reached, and he used his selections on premium positions.

SI - Grade: C+

The Browns are low on picks due to the Deshaun Watson trade, making their first choice in the third round. Cleveland found great value in Tillman, who some believe was a better prospect coming from Knoxville than teammate Jalin Hyatt. The Browns also took a high-upside swing on Jones, a local product from Ohio State who is a mountain at 375 pounds. For Cleveland, Jones can provide a nice swing tackle behind Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin. However, the pick of Thompson-Robinson seems wasteful considering the holes across the Browns' roster, and his relative low upside behind Watson.

PFF - Grade: A-

Day 2: In a draft class of undersized wide receivers, Tillman was among the few top prospects with prototypical X measurables. He has good size, he is physical and he attacks the football in the air. With the additions of Tillman and the trade for Elijah Moore, Deshaun Watson will have more options in the passing game entering his second season with the team.

The Browns have made it a priority to improve the interior of their defensive line this offseason, and they continue that with the addition of Ika here. A mountain of a man at 358 pounds, he isn't just a run defender, registering a 76.4 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2022.

Day 3: There were questions about Jones' conditioning/commitment that likely contributed to his slide down boards, but there's a lot of reason to bet on Jones' talent at this stage of the draft. His size and length afford him room for error, and he has enough movement ability at his size to have success as a starter. Jones earned 80-plus PFF grades as the Buckeyes' starting right tackle in each of the last two seasons.

Cleveland adds a good power rusher to complement Myles Garrett. He has NFL size and power with the potential to be a plus run defender. Despite average burst off the edge, he put up an 84.5 true pass-rush grade in 2022.

Thompson-Robinson is the definition of a "gamer," a classic football cliche, with the desire to make something out of nothing on seemingly every snap. This can work against him, of course, with a lot of turnover-worthy plays as a result. However, his 77.4% adjusted completion percentage ranked 15th in college football and he offers great rushing ability.

Cleveland adds another Northwestern cornerback on top of 2021 first-rounder Greg Newsome II. Mitchell did well to match wide receivers stride for stride in trail technique in college, and he's a willing tackler with a 76.0 run-defense grade.

Wypler was the 54th-ranked player on the PFF big board, making this one of the better value selections in the draft in our eyes. He earned 79.0-plus PFF grades in each of his seasons as a starter for the Buckeyes, excelling as a zone run blocker (89th percentile over the last two seasons) specifically. Pair that with plus athleticism, and this looks like a steal for Cleveland.

Fox Sports - Grade: B+

Thanks to trades for Deshaun Watson and Elijah Moore, they didn't pick until the third round (74), so they really had to hit in the mid-rounds for this draft to be worth anything. And it looks like they did. They could get a steal at 74 with WR Cedric Tillman, if only he could stay healthy. They got a good, huge, run-stuffing DT in Siaki Ika with their other third-round pick. And in the fourth they landed a massive (6-8, 374) right tackle in Dawand Jones. Sixth-round C Luke Wypler could be a steal, too. The Browns did very well with what they had.

USA Today - Grade: D

They spent this year's first-round pick (plus two others) on Watson and what's quickly projecting as an ill-considered, fully guaranteed, $230 million contract. Their second-rounder was used on underachieving Jets WR Elijah Moore in a pre-draft trade. In Round 4, they took massive Ohio State RT Dawand Jones — hard to see where he fits in, but maybe he's a microcosm of a larger plan that will (hopefully) make more sense in time. Third-round WR Cedric Tillman and DT Siaki Ika appear like they could help immediately.

The Ringer - Grade: C+

The Browns didn't have a first-round pick because of the Deshaun Watson trade, and were relatively quiet over the first two days of the draft: They added a physical possession receiver in Tennessee's Cedric Tillman in Round 3, who could give their quarterback a big-bodied target on third downs and in the red zone. Later in the third, they took Baylor defensive tackle Siaki Ika; he's a massive, block-eating nose tackle who should be able to rotate with Dalvin Tomlinson in the middle early on. But I really liked the value Cleveland got on day three: Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones has a truly gargantuan frame, giving the Browns a quality backup for right tackle Jack Conklin who could eventually develop into a starter at that spot. Missouri edge Isaiah McGuire was one of my favorite sleepers coming in this draft, offering elite length and plenty of explosiveness as a pass rusher. He should factor in on the team's defensive end group early in his career.

Sporting News - Grade: B

The Deshaun Watson trade made the Browns operate without a first-rounder but they compensated by focusing on key offensive and defensive depth across positions. In between, they got Ika to be the run-stuffing tackle they desperately needed right away.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: B

The Browns got a pretty nice haul for a team with no picks in the first two rounds. Tillman, Ika, and Jones are immediate contributors who I would have given second-round grades, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a highly intriguing athletic quarterback with more of the nuances for the position than you might expect. The steal of this Browns draft, though, is Luke Wypler — I have no idea how he lasted until the sixth round, but he's another potential plug-and-play guy.

The Browns did an outstanding job of getting prospects who can help them on the field right away. That's impressive if you have a couple of first-round picks. Here, it's hard not to give this class an A+. The only thing knocking the grade down is that the quarterback who cost them all those picks might be washed.

More: 2023 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

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