As we continue the 2014 Acme Packing Company Mock Draft, we land on the 26th overall pick owned by the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns are no stranger to being early-selectors in the NFL Draft process, but after they shipped Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round pick in this year's draft, they now have the rare chance to select towards the end of the first round as well as have a top-5 draft pick.
The Browns finished 4-12 in 2013, and other than a three-game winning streak against the Vikings, Bengals, and Bills, there wasn't much excitement for the Dawg Pound. Wideout Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron emerged as Pro-Bowl caliber talents within an offense without a quarterback or running attack. Joe Haden continued to improve as a shutdown cornerback, and earned Pro Bowl honors in only his fourth year in the league.
Center Alex Mack and Tackle Joe Thomas also earned Pro Bowl honors, and anchor an offensive line that could help neutralize the growing pains of a rookie quarterback. Cleveland signed running back Ben Tate in free agency to help the rushing attack. The Browns will likely add a quarterback with the fourth overall pick in the draft, but adding another playmaker next to Josh Gordon will be a top-priority as well. Another option could be finding a cornerback opposite Joe Haden if the value pick presents itself.
With the 26th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select...
Name: Kelvin Benjamin
Position: Wide Receiver
College: Florida State
Year: Sophomore (RS)
With Odell Beckham Jr., Marqise Lee, and Brandin Cooks off the board at wide receiver and Bradley Roby and Kyle Fuller off the board at cornerback, the Browns may be forced to reach a little bit and take the next best available talent at wideout. That would most likely be Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State.
Benjamin is a big-bodied target at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. He also has an 83-inch wingspan that helps him win a lot of jump-ball situations against smaller defensive backs. While Benjamin isn't considered to be a No. 1 option like Sammy Watkins, he could be a perfect fit in Cleveland. With Josh Gordon across from him and Jordan Cameron likely to take a safety or linebacker away, Benjamin would likely face 1-on-1 coverage with a smaller cornerback.
We projected the Browns to select Johnny Manziel as their quarterback of the future with the fourth overall pick, and if there's one thing Johnny Football is good at, other than partying, it's throwing up jump-balls to big targets after he has juked the rest of the defense into a pile of confusion. Mike Evans is now considered to be the second-best wide receiver in this year's draft directly because of his ability at catching those balls, and Benjamin has all the qualities to fit right into that role at the NFL level.
The biggest knocks on Benjamin are that he doesn't possess top-end speed and isn't as crisp in his route running as many scouts would like for a first-round talent. He also needs to improve his run blocking in the open field, but with his physical skill set, he should be able to improve on those areas as he continues to grow into the position.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams (via WAS)||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||Teddy Bridgewater||QB||Louisville|
|9||Buffalo Bills||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M|
|10||Detroit Lions||Justin Gilbert||CB||Oklahoma State|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Aaron Donald||DT||Pittsburgh|
|12||New York Giants||Eric Ebron||TE||North Carolina|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||S||Alabama|
|14||Chicago Bears||Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Anthony Barr||OLB||UCLA|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||Timmy Jernigan||DT||Florida State|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||Taylor Lewan||OT||Michigan|
|18||New York Jets||Odell Beckham, Jr.||WR||LSU|
|19||Miami Dolphins||Zack Martin||OT||Notre Dame|
|20||Arizona Cardinals||Dee Ford||DE/OLB||Auburn|
|21||Green Bay Packers||C.J. Mosley||ILB||Alabama|
|22||Philadelphia Eagles||Brandin Cooks||WR||Oregon State|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||Marqise Lee||WR||USC|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Bradley Roby||CB||Ohio State|
|25||San Diego Chargers||Kyle Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech|
|26||Cleveland Browns (via IND)||Kelvin Benjamin||WR||Florida State|