7 players worth trading up for if they continue to slide
There is quite a bit of talent still left on the board as the 2023 NFL draft carries on into night two. For the Cleveland Browns, they will have to wait for another 43 picks before they come on the clock, making much of the available talent a pipe dream. With needs at wide receiver, defensive tackle, defensive end, safety, and linebacker, they could go in any direction to address those needs.
While some talent might be out of their range, the Browns have six day three picks they could package up to move up in the draft if a player they are high on slips down the board.
Here are seven players that could fit that bill.
Northwestern DL Adetomiwa Adebawore
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Perhaps the most athletic player in the draft class, Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore fell out of the first round despite a historic combine performance. His athleticism and explosiveness translate onto the field as well, possessing heavy hands to shock blockers back onto their heels as he converts speed to power.
It is hard to imagine that he lasts long on day two, but Adebawore checks every box the Browns look for. Things could get interesting if the Northwestern defensive lineman, who can play both inside and out, slips into the 50s.
Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
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Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson is an interesting player. He is the 24th-best player in this draft class on my board but seems to be slipping on consensus boards despite testing out of his mind at the combine and two stellar seasons with the Tigers.
On PFF’s mock draft simulator even, Simpson’s rank is at 71 and his average draft position is at pick no. 68. If the Browns want a big, athletic, and explosive linebacker to pair with Owusu-Koramoah, Simpson would be their guy.
UNC WR Josh Downs
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The Browns met with North Carolina’s Josh Downs multiple times when they still owned pick no. 42. And if he begins to slip down the board, they could still value him highly enough to come up and get him. He is explosive, elusive, and lightning in a bottle with the football in his hands.
With wide receiver still a need heading into day two of the draft, names like Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims and Cincinnati’s Tyler Scott are at the forefront of the conversation. However, if the Browns make a splash for one, Downs would be their man.
Alabama S Brian Branch
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Alabama safety Brian Branch should not have to wait long tonight to hear his name called. He is an animal, a hard hitter, and willing to do the dirty work in the run game. Branch would be the ideal fit of what the Browns need in a safety who can also rotate down to play in the nickel.
Branch, however, did not test well at the combine and played exclusively in the slot for the Crimson Tide a year ago. If the NFL overthinks a tremendous football player because of that, the Browns may have their problems solved at both safety and nickel with a trade up for the 11th best player in this draft class.
LSU EDGE BJ Ojulari
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
If the NFL puts too much stock into Ojulari’s three-cone time that he ran while injured, it could be the Browns’ reward. The LSU product is one of the most flexible pass rushers in the class with perhaps the deepest bag of moves off the edge to get after quarterbacks.
Defensive end continues to be a need for the Browns, and Ojulari is the best pass rusher left on the board. If the rest of the league continues to pass him over, he would be an excellent fit in Cleveland.
Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton
Four defensive tackles flew off the board in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft. This means Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton, a fan favorite amongst Browns’ mock drafters, is likely the next one at the position off the board. However, if he slips into the 50s, the Browns may feel the urgency to make a move to get him.
Outside of Benton and Florida’s Gervon Dexter, there are not many defensive tackles who fit the bill for the Browns this year. That could mean they could get aggressive to get one.
Illinois S Quan Martin
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The Browns need to address both the safety and nickel cornerback positions in the draft. Guess who fits both of those needs? Illinois defensive back Quan Martin. He is the second-ranked safety and 58th overall player on my board, and he fits the description of what new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz looks for.
He is versatile, physical, and a willing tackler. It helps that he put together an explosive combine performance as well this past March in Indianapolis. While Martin is a bit of a dark horse to some, he possesses the talent of a day-one player who can fit a variety of needs.
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