American Football

“Ideal” Third Round for Browns focuses on run defense


NCAA Football: Albany at Baylor
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft rarely is ideal but the Browns could shore up the run problems with these two picks

With a little over two weeks left until the opening of the NFL draft, there is a bit of a lull for fans and media. Outside of reports of visits from prospects, the occasional free agent signing and murmurs of rumors, not a lot of new information is available at this point in time of the process.

We will continue to try to provide fresh Cleveland Browns information via our player profiles and insight pieces. All of those can be found in our NFL draft coverage page. We will also continue to look at NFL mock drafts that we find interesting.

Today, we look at a video from Pro Football Focus. The two PFF guys, Sam Monson and Mike Renner, spend a few minutes talking about what an ideal NFL draft scenario would be for the Browns in the third round.

Monson mentions his selection of DT Keeanu Benton for Cleveland with their 74th pick while Renner, interestingly, focuses entirely on the team’s run defense. In a league that is focused so much on passing the football, with PFF’s analytics pushing similar, Renner’s two selections being about run defense counters expectations:

Benton is a selection you’ve seen in a few of our mock drafts. Nose tackle Siaki Ika isn’t expected by most to be available at that point in the third round but, as primarily a two-down player, could see a fall into a place where Berry could make a slight move up for.

With pick 98, DE Isaiah McGuire is another interesting selection with run defense the primary reason. With Ogbonnia Okoronkwo already on board to rush the passer, Renner has concerns that DE Alex Wright can be productive after struggling as a rookie. Instead, McGuire is selected in this “ideal scenario” to take on that role of setting the edge.

In PFF’s scenario, the Browns would use their first two selections on players that rarely would impact the passing game but would shore up the run defense perfectly. Given the style of play in the NFL, where teams either run outside or pass the ball primarily, this doesn’t feel like the right use of assets. That PFF is the place espousing these picks as “ideal” is even more interesting.

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