The Cleveland Browns currently sit at 6-6 and dead last in the AFC North standings. If you would have told me in August that the Browns would be last in the AFC North in November, I would have laughed in your face, but here we are.
That is enough of dwelling on the past, now we need to move towards the future. The main reason we are here is to keep our eyes on the 2022 NFL Draft and where the national media may have us slotted and who are we taking?
It is always interesting to see how the national media views the Cleveland Browns.
Let’s dive into the most recent CBS mock draft.
With the 17th pick, the Cleveland Browns select Tyler Linderbaum
With the 17th selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select, Tyler Linderbaum, center from Iowa. I personally love this pick as Linderbaum is in my opinion the best center in this class. He has started 33 consecutive games and has played at an elite level for a majority of those starts.
Watch the center on this play. It's Tyler Linderbaum. He's going to make a lot of money next year because of blocks like this. Linderbaum is the OL blocking #42. The LB and crowd were crying for holding. Grow up pic.twitter.com/6hTlSRjpn7
— KP (@KP_Show) November 26, 2021
Linderbaum is not only the best center in this class, but he just so happens to be the perfect fit for the Browns as he is arguably the most dominant run blocker in all of college football. Had he been available for the 2021 NFL Draft, Linderbaum would have likely been an early-round pick then too.
Look at Eyioma Uwazurike and Tyler Linderbaum go at it. Phew. pic.twitter.com/SdyQSLQQU9
— Matt Alkire (@mattalkire) November 19, 2021
Linderbaum is flat out too good to ignore and if he is available at pick number 15 and beyond, he will most definitely be in consideration. He has day one NFL starter potential and is far and away the best and most important player for Iowa’s offense.
Does the position fit?
Although center is not Cleveland’s biggest need, I 100% agree with Josh Edwards when he writes, “Center is one position where they could save towards the salary cap and upgrade. J.C. Tretter has been solid this year but Linderbaum would thrive in a wide zone scheme.”
PFF ranks in 2020:
🔸Wyatt Teller: 1st
🔸Joel Bitonio: 2nd
🔸Jack Conklin: 2nd
🔸J.C. Tretter: 2nd (not pictured)
PFF’s No. 1 OLine heading into 2021 💪 pic.twitter.com/xeXjN0diZT
— PFF (@PFF) August 30, 2021
With all of the big money contracts being handed out, someone has to go and I don’t believe that the Browns are looking to replace Tretter, but it would be a situation to consider with a talent like Linderbaum being so dynamic and NFL ready.
Highest-graded players from Browns vs. Chiefs:
1. Tyrann Mathieu – 90.5
2. David Njoku – 87.2
3. Travis Kelce – 82.9
4. J.C. Tretter – 82.1 pic.twitter.com/aATId3p7HM
— PFF (@PFF) January 18, 2021
As you can see from the above tweets, J.C. Tretter has some great games, but Tretter turns 31 in February and his best games are likely behind him. Taking a center may not be the sexiest pick, but this is vital position that can allow the offense to keep flowing in a positive direction.
Who went before? And who is left?
Tyler Linderbaum is the only center taken in the first round of this mock draft and that is very likely what will happen come draft time as centers are not scooped up on the first day very often, but another position that is commonly mocked to Cleveland is wide receiver and there are a few still left on the board in this scenario.
Chris Olave – 1st Team All-B1G Offense 💯😤 pic.twitter.com/fWAKwxnkLr
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 1, 2021
In this mock, Garrett Wilson from Ohio State is the only receiver off the board and the next receiver taken is Jameson Williams from Alabama at 19th. Williams is a good receiver, but the most intriguing fit for the Browns looks like Wilson’s teammate, Chris Olave, who isn’t taken off the board until the 24th pick.
— Tim May (@TIM_MAYsports) December 1, 2021
Chris Olave is the perfect fit for Cleveland as he is within the age guardrails at 21 and checks both the physical boxes as well the collegiate production boxes you look for in a potential number one. Olave is an elite route-runner with elite hands and can make an impact immediately.