ABOUT THE 2020 DRAFT
Looking at a draft after a single season is often premature – especially when the year isn’t even over.
For example, what can be said about the Browns’ second-round pick? LSU safety Grant Delpit was projected to be a starter this season. He tore an Achilles tendon and is out for the year.
In 2018, it was Austin Corbett – not Nick Chubb – who was the first pick in the second round of the draft by the Browns. Chubb came two selections later. With the Browns, Corbett was viewed as a bust. He failed at left tackle, and then struggled at guard. Former GM John Dorsey still liked Corbett, but realized the Nevada product had received a no-confidence vote from the 2019 coaching staff.
After playing a grand total of 15 snaps for the Browns, Corbett was traded to the Rams for a 2021 fifth-round pick.
Guess what? Corbett has started the last 21 games at guard for the Rams. He’s not great. Profootballfocus.com (PFF) ranks him No. 11 out of 55 starting guards. You can argue the ratings, but Corbett plays every snap for a good Rams team. He must be respectable.
PFF ranks Browns guards at the top: Wyatt Teller as No. 1 and Joel Bitonio as No. 3.
After 14 games, we can draw some conclusions from the Browns 2020′ draft. At the very least, it is promising. It began with the “alignment” sought by owner Jimmy Haslam. It was up to Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta to make sure the front office and coaching staff worked together.
That led to the hiring of GM Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski.
I looked back at the quote sheet after the 2020 draft.
“Andrew and I see things very similarly,” said Stefanski. “When we talk about the draft, we have some cultural non-negotiables and some schematic non-negotiables … we all knew where we stood on a bunch of issues.”
Stefanski and Berry set up the “tough, smart, accountable” mantra for the players. They wanted to get away from some of the character risks taken by previous regimes. In terms of scheme, the Browns looked for players who fit Stefanski’s play-action, zone-blocking scheme. That requires players who have football smarts, because there is a lot of pre-snap movement involved.
On draft day, Berry said the Browns had 140 names “we thought appropriately fit what we were looking for within the Browns organization: talent, scheme, character, mental, you name it. We select from a menu of players we think would be good Cleveland Browns.”
They ended up with six names.
THEY COULDN’T AFFORD A MISS
The Browns went into the draft needing a left tackle. There were four at the top of the class. They took a gamble on Jedrick Wills Jr., believing the star right tackle at Alabama could learn to play the more demanding left tackle spot in the NFL. Wills didn’t even play left tackle in high school.
This was a collaborative decision. The analytics, intelligence tests and pure scouting rated Wills in the elite category. But could he make the switch in the NFL? The final vote went to Bill Callahan, the…