The Browns are in a prime spot to trade back if they desire, with the Denver Broncos coming up as a trade partner, per Michael Lombardi of The Athletic. The Broncos have the No. 15 pick, and with the move could leapfrog teams like the Raiders and Jets, who are likely the team’s competition for top wide receiver talent.
“Denver is trying to make a deal with Cleveland–which seems like the target team to get ahead of two teams that need a wideout, Jets and Las Vegas,” Lombardi reported on Twitter.
Ezra Cleveland Emerging as Target for Browns
While there’s a chance prime offensive tackle targets Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas and Mekhi Becton could be off the board by 15, the Browns reportedly have some interest in Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported the buzz between Cleveland and Cleveland, also adding that it would be the fifth time a drafted player would share the same name as the team’s city.
Here’s how NFL.com breaks down Cleveland as a draft prospect:
“Athletic left tackle able to make all outside zone blocks in the run game, but in dire need of additional mass and functional strength. Tape work can be tricky as Cleveland suffered a turf toe injury in his second game of the 2019 season and was unable to practice for much of the year. Issues anchoring and redirecting edge pressure are independent from his injury, but determining the impact of that injury on his play is challenging. He plays with patience and technique but lacks base width and contact balance. Cleveland has the athleticism to play swing tackle for a zone-based offense but needs to get much stronger to hold up as a starter.”
Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta spoke on the prospect of trading back in the draft during a conference call with reporters on Thursday.
“We do have the philosophy more picks is better,” DePodesta said, per Scott Petrak of BrownsZone.com. “But that doesn’t mean we’ll always be trading back. We’re open-minded.”
Raiders Also Possible Draft-Day Trade Partner for Browns
While the Broncos would likely have to give up quite a bit to move up five spots, the Raiders are just two picks back of the Browns at No. 12 and could also have interest.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell broke down trades every team can make on draft day, and for the Browns the move was moving back just a few spots while picking up some offensive line help along the way.
In Barnwell’s trade, the Browns get guard Gabe Jackson — a former third-round pick that has started every game he’s played in since 2015 with the Las Vegas Raiders. As he puts it: “By trading down, the Browns are able to acquire Jackson, who would immediately step in as one of the league’s best right guards as an upgrade on Wyatt Teller. The 28-year-old, who was the subject of trade talks earlier this offseason, has three years and just under $28 million remaining on his contract. Cleveland could then use the No. 12 pick on one of those tackles.”