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Thursday, March 13, 2014
Analyzing Kiper 3.0: Browns

By Pat McManamon

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s mock draft 3.0 Insider again goes quarterback-receiver for the Cleveland Browns, but the quarterback he has the Browns picking fourth overall is intriguing.

According to Kiper's most recent mock, all three of the top passers -- Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel -- are there for the Browns when the fourth selection rolls around.

And the quarterback picked by Kiper is ... Bortles, the tall, strong-armed, humble guy from South Florida. This would have been a (to quote Kobe Bryant) Bikram yoga stretch a year ago, but at this point it makes sense. Bortles has the size that teams love in quarterbacks these days and the arm strength. The Browns might have to give him a year or two to grow, but his attitude and his skills are plenty appealing.

With the second first-round pick, the 26th overall, Kiper has the Browns taking big target Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State. Again, it makes sense, though it's believed the Steelers also are interested in Benjamin. Benjamin is not the fastest, but at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds he's a big target and would be a solid pickup.

Kiper's picks are logical and sensible, and it would be tough to argue with them.

But he's not making me back off my choice. I stand steady and strong with Clemson's Sammy Watkins at the fourth spot, and Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde at some point. The Browns can figure out the rest.