Browns mock draft watch: SB Nation gives Cleveland D-Line help

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It is officially the start of NFL draft season and we now know that the Cleveland Browns are selecting 13th overall and this is high enough to land what should be a future star. The Browns are not bad, they are only one year removed from the playoffs, but it is pretty clear that they are not good enough and need a few effective pieces to complete the puzzle.

We have been doing a solid job in keeping you up to date with all the recent highly publicized mock drafts and the common theme for Cleveland in the first round is a wide receiver, but our friends at SB Nation went a different route.

With the 13th pick, the Cleveland Browns select DeMarvin Leal

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

With the 13th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select DeMarvin Leal, defensive end from Texas A&M. Leal was surprisingly underrated heading into the season, but he put together an amazing season in 2020 and followed that up with an even stronger 2021.

Leal was extremely productive this season with 8.5 sacks, two pass deflections and a forced fumble despite receiving consistent double teams. His college production in the SEC should translate well to the NFL as he finished his career with 133 total tackles and 25 tackles for loss in his collegiate career.

Leal is a versatile chess piece that can be an elite pass rusher or stuff the run and he fits everything the Browns are looking for. The Texas A&M star even falls within the age guardrail.

Does the position fit?

It seems odd to add to the defensive line this early in the draft considering how dominant Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney were with 25 combined sacks, but elite teams don’t pass up on elite pass-rushing talent and the defensive line could be a larger issue in the off-season.

Clowney is set to become a free agent and made it clear that money will decide where he plays in 2022 and beyond.

The pass-rushing talent on the defensive line isn’t as abundant as Cleveland needs with the next two leaders in sacks after the dynamic duo being Malik McDowell with three and Takk McKinley with 2.5. Adding another stud like Leal can go a long way.

I was a big fan of the Takk McKinley signing, but an injury ended his 2021 season and an Achilles is the type of injury to seriously hamper a player’s development. Former Cowboys draft pick Joe Jackson is also an intriguing developmental player, whose practice squad contract just expired, but adding another potential starter in this draft is ideal.

Who went before? And who is left?

In this mock, a few talented defensive linemen went off the board before Leal including, Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan, George Karlaftis from Purdue, Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon. Surprisingly no other defensive linemen were taken after Leal in this scenario.

Despite the defensive line cupboard being bare, the only receiver off the board before the Browns pick is Garrett Wilson from Ohio State. The next receiver off the board is the injured Jameson Williams from Alabama at #17, but the better fit may be the other Buckeye in Chris Olave who doesn’t get selected until #18.

I have discussed Chris Olave at length on this site and the best word to describe him still remains smooth. He has the elite athleticism and route-running to become an elite number one sooner rather than later.

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