As the 2020 NFL draft has come to an end, we now can look at how Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns front office did. We will break down how the draft picks fell and how they can fit into the team. Also, we’ll look at the Undrafted Free Agents that were signed Saturday night and Sunday. In the end, we will wrap up the whole offseason that Berry and the Browns had.
Draft day on Thursday night
As the first night of the draft came upon Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns, no one was sure how the board would fall. The first three picks were pretty set, and most mocks had them set early in the draft season. The New York Giants were the wildcard that most experts were not sure what Gettelman would do. He took Andrew Thomas from Georgia to be his starting tackle. Everyone knew what Miami was going to do picking Tua. No one was sure if the Chargers would go for Herbert or an offensive tackle. They went with what will hopefully be their franchise quarterback, Justin Herbert. The next two picks were defense, and this put us to pick nine and the Jaguars. To everyone’s surprise, they went with cornerback, CJ Henderson, from Florida.
Pick number ten was up, and it was time for Berry and the Browns to make a decision. In listening to Berry’s post-draft interview, the Browns did receive trade offers. But Berry and staff had their top guy on the board, and it was a position of need for the team. So, with the tenth pick in the 2020 draft, the Cleveland Browns chose Jedrick Wills Jr., from Alabama. On most of the top analyst’s player boards, Wills Jr. was either the top or second tackle in the position group. The rookie from Alabama will be moving over to left tackle and see if he can follow in the footsteps of soon to be Hall of Famer, Joe Thomas. Wills Jr. was only the second offensive lineman the Browns have chosen in the first round in some 40 years.
Round two, day two
As we began day two, there was still a lot of talent on the board, and Andrew Berry had some players in his cross-hairs for the day. The Browns still had needs on defense, and that is where they put their focus. Berry and the Browns had the 41st pick in the second round. As it got closer to their pick, Berry was called by the Indianapolis Colts to make a trade. The trade was accepted, and it let the Browns move back to pick 44. In the deal, the Browns acquired a fifth-round pick, #160, in this year’s draft. With the 44th pick, the Browns selected Jim Thorpe award-winning safety, Grant Delpit from LSU. No one believed going into the draft that the best safety would be available at this point in the second round.
The Cleveland Browns Andrew Berry was not done wheeling and dealing after that pick either. The New Orleans Saints approached Berry for pick #74. This was a pretty easy decision for Andrew Berry, and he moved back to pick #88, gave up a seventh-round pick for this year, and picked up a third-round pick for the 2021 draft. So, once it finally got back to the Browns pick, Andrew Berry picked Missouri defensive tackle, Jordan Elliott. Elliott was a team captain and also earned first-team All-American honors from Pro Football Focus. Also, he was a second-team Associated Press All-American.
Andrew Berry and the Browns were not done in the third round as they still had pick #97, which came from the Duke Johnson trade last year with Houston. With that pick, Berry selected inside linebacker, Jacob Phillips, from LSU. This was the second LSU player from the National Championship team and the third drafted in as many years by the Browns. Phillips was a stud for LSU in his 2019 season. He led the SEC in tackles with 113 and started all 15 games. So, with day two wrapped up, Andrew Berry once again was able to focus on needs for the team. He was able to get high caliber talent and also gain draft picks for this year and next.
Round four starts the final day
Andrew Berry and the Browns were on tap for three more picks on the final day, one in each round. Once again, Berry stole the show with the talent he was able to get while filling needs. It started with pick #115 when the Browns selected tight end, Harrison Bryant, from Florida Atlantic. Some people were surprised by this pick, but Daniel Jeremiah from the NFL Network was high on this kid. He ranked him as one of the top tight ends in the draft. For the Browns to get him in the fourth round was a super value pick and bolstered an already strong group. Bryant should end up being a perfect complement to both Hooper and Njoku.
Now, if it weren’t for the trade that Berry made on Friday with the Colts, the Browns would not have this next pick. So, with taking advantage of gaining this asset in trading back on the Delpit pick, Andrew Berry selected center Nick Harris from Washington with the 160th pick. Harris has played in 50 games and started in four games as a true freshman. He is a very athletic lineman and only gave up two sacks on 837 pass-blocking plays in two seasons. Nick Harris is brilliant, but he is a one position player. Look for him to be groomed as the future center behind J.C. Tretter. If injuries happen, J.C. is good enough to move to a guard position if necessary. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen for the sake of everyone staying healthy.
The Browns may have committed highway robbery with pick #187. Andrew Berry selected Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. If it wasn’t for the lackluster quarterback play at Michigan, Peoples-Jones could have been a higher draft pick. Urban Meyer said he was a top ten talent if he was used right in college. Peoples-Jones was the top wide receiver recruit when he committed to Michigan. Urban wanted him to be a Buckeye. He was able to finish his career with 14 touchdowns. Donovan has return capabilities as well. He had a punt return for a touchdown this past season against the Cornhuskers. This was the final pick for Andrew Berry and the Browns for the weekend.
Overall, Andrew Berry did a solid job in working trades to gain more assets, but also to get the players he had targeted. He possibly found three starters, and the others should be welcomed players for depth on this roster. Most draft analysts gave the Browns an A+ to a B- grade for this draft. I give Berry an A. He got impact, starting talent, but also helped with depth at positions of weakness. But, Berry and the Browns were not done after this. The critical frenzy of signing the undrafted free agents was to get started once the draft ended.
When all was said and done, the Cleveland Browns have signed 14 players. We won’t talk about all 14 but just hit on a few of the top players who have signed. First up is the huge offensive tackle from South Carolina State, Alex Taylor. He was named third-team A.P. All-American team in 2019. They also targeted Princeton quarterback, Kevin Davidson. He had a good senior season as he threw for 20 touchdowns and had only six interceptions. The person Berry coveted the most and would have probably been the seventh-round pick, had he not packaged it in the trade with the Saints was A.J. Green from Oklahoma State. Green is a cornerback that is physical but plays better in zone. He will probably have to focus on being the slot corner. They liked him so much that they offered him sixth-round money to sign.
Offseason grade for Berry
With the draft now being over and the bulk of Free Agency done, we can say the Browns have had one hell of an offseason so far. It all started on the first day of Free Agency when they were able to get Austin Hooper and Jack Conklin. Berry didn’t stop there. He added Adrian Clayborn, Andrew Billings, Case Keenum, Karl Joseph, Kevin Johnson, Andrew Sendejo, and B.J. Goodson. Not only was Berry active, but he had a plan and executed it. Things are looking up for the Browns as we get into the time of year that should start rookie camp and OTA’s. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic still has most of the country shut down. But for now, I give Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns an A to A+ on this offseason overall.
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