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LB Dominique Alexander and RB Darius Jackson Released by the Browns

The Browns released two players on Thursday, linebacker Dominique Alexander and running back Darius Jackson. Alexander failed his physical, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reports.

Alexander was an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma in 2016 who found a role on special teams. A knee injury ended his 2017 season. The Browns drafted Genard Avery last Saturday, a linebacker out of Memphis who they believe will be a very good special teams player.

Jackson was claimed near the end of the 2016 season. He was originally a sixth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2016.

Browns Exercise Fifth-Year Option on CB Damarious Randall

The Browns have exercised the fifth-year option for 2019 on cornerback Damarious Randall according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Randall, the 30th-overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Arizona State by the Green Bay Packers, was traded to the Browns on March 9 in exchange for quarterback DeShone Kizer. Randall flashed starter skills in Green Bay and racked up 10 interceptions in three seasons but also clashed with the coaching staff, which seems to be the primary reason he was dealt.

He is reportedly transitioning back to free safety, which is the position he played in college. The Browns exercising the fifth-year option means they are covering their bases in case Randall becomes a core player they want to keep longterm. The option is guaranteed for injury only.

Browns Earn an ‘B-‘ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Browns, who according to Kiper got an ‘B-‘ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

It’s all about Baker. I said it when the pick was made, and I still feel that way. Give new general manager John Dorsey credit: he stuck to his guns and took the guy he believes in. Last year he traded up for Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City — not at all a chalk pick at the time — and this year he went with Mayfield, who lacks classic “No. 1 QB prototype” traits but brings elite accuracy, significant experience, and former walk-on moxie that seems to galvanize teammates. I would have drafted Sam Darnold, and we’ll all watch these careers play out side-by-side. But after passing on so many QBs, the Browns got their guy.

Denzel Ward was the top cornerback in this class and hits an obvious need. I would have picked Bradley Chubb at No. 4 — the thought of him and Myles Garrett on the same line is pretty enticing. I like Austin Corbett (pick 33) as an immediate depth option on a line where the Joe Thomas void feels significant. No. 35 pick Nick Chubb’s arrival means the Browns now have one of the more interesting backfields in the NFL — he, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson can provide a lot of looks and production. Chad Thomas (67) provides some rotational help, and if he pans out, the absence of Chubb won’t be as much of a conversation.

Antonio Callaway is that classic mixed bag. On one hand, this is a supreme talent with first-round pedigree. But the “yeah, but” is impossible to ignore. The off-field issues are significant, and there’s an outside chance he doesn’t stick at all. That said, him Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, David Njoku, and that group of running backs? That’s a lot of talent. And that’s just the question for Cleveland: does all that talent become something? And can Baker be the catalyst?

We’ll see.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/1 Baker Mayfield QB OKLAHOMA
1/4 Denzel Ward CB OHIO STATE
2/33 Austin Corbett G NEVADA
2/35 Nick Chubb RB GEORGIA
3/67 Chad Thomas DE MIAMI
4/105 Antonio Callaway WR FLORIDA
5/150 Genard Avery ILB MEMPHIS
6/175 Damion Ratley WR TEXAS A&M
6/188 Simeon Thomas CB LOUISIANA

Browns Select Ohio State CB Denzel Ward with Fourth Overall Pick

After taking Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick, the Browns went defense with their fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, taking cornerback Denzel Ward from Ohio State.

Here’s a scouting report on Ward:

Ohio State has been a factory of NFL talent, and that has especially been the case under Urban Meyer. During the 2016 season, the Buckeyes had a standout NFL secondary with three first-round talents at cornerback and one at free safety Malik Hooker. Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley were the starting corners on the outside, with Denzel Ward serving as the nickel corner. That trio of first-rounders was excellent, and Ward totaled 23 tackles with nice passes broken up in 2016.

With Lattimore and Conley moving on to the NFL, Ward became Ohio State’s No. 1 cornerback and had an excellent junior season. Ward totaled 37 tackles with 15 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2017. In the 2017 season opener against Indiana, Ward notched an interception, four tackles and five passes broken up. He also was beaten for a touchdown and some other receptions by big Indiana receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. Ward had problems with Cobbs’ size, but was good at preventing separation. After that game, Ward was very good and consistent throughout the season at locking down receivers and keeping them from getting open. He put on a clinic in the Big Ten Championship game with an excellent performance in what was his final collegiate game.

For the NFL, Ward is man-cover corner. He is very fast with quick feet, loose hips, and easy acceleration. With his skill set, Ward is superb at running the route with receivers to prevent separation. He is adept at playing off-man coverage and running with fast wideouts downfield. Ward is reliable to handle the speed receivers in one-on-one coverage without getting safety help over the top. He transitions well in routes and will sit on routes to challenge receivers. Ward also has good ball skills with impressive timing on his contact and the hands to be an interception threat.

Browns Select QB Baker Mayfield with First Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

After months of waiting and speculating, the Browns finally have made their pick at number one, going with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick.

Here’s the bio on Mayfield, who won the Heisman back in 2017 and the was the player of the year, winning a number of Big 12 titles.

Mayfield finished his career as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in college football history, topping it off by winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and the Big 12 Championship and a spot in the 2017 College Football Playoff. Mayfield completed 70.5 percent of his passes (285-of-404), throwing 43 touchdowns against just six interceptions (also rushing for 311 yards and five scores). The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year led the nation in pass efficiency by a large margin (setting a NCAA record that he himself set the previous year) and yards per pass attempt (11.8), and finished in the top five of pretty much every other passing category. He was an all-state pick from Texas, but his lack of size scared major college programs away. He began his college days in Lubbock, walking on at Texas Tech. In his one and only season there, Mayfield started seven of eight games played, winning Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year (218-of-340, 64.1 percent complete, 2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions). Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury decided to open up the starting competition, so Mayfield left campus to find a new home. He sat out the 2014 season as a transfer student to Oklahoma (eventually, Big 12 coaches approved a rule that gave Mayfield an extra year of eligibility to make up for the lost season, as he was a walk-on that never received a scholarship offer from Tech). Finally on the field as the No. 1 starter in 2015, Mayfield became a second-team Associated Press All-American, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, and was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien, Manning, and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards. He also won the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation’s top player who began his career as a walk-on after completing 68.1 percent of his passes (269-of-395) for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. In addition to winning Burlsworth Trophy again in 2016, Mayfield was first-team All-Big 12, finished third in Heisman voting, and was a finalist for the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards after leading the FBS in passing efficiency (196.4 rating, ranked first with 70.9 completion percentage, 3,965 yards, 40 touchdowns, eight interceptions). While his completion percentage was aided by horizontal throws, his mobility helped him find secondary targets and his ability to throw passes over the top of defenses also led him to lead the FBS with 11.1 yards per attempt. Mayfield was arrested for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and fleeing/resisting arrest in February 2017. He was not suspended for those actions, though he was required to participate in alcohol education classes and community service.

Browns 2018 Schedule Released; Opener September 9th vs Steelers

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Thursday the Browns and the NFL announced the 2018 schedule – the teams’ opener will be on Sunday, September 9th at home against the Steelers.

PRESEASON

Thursday, Aug. 9 – at New York Giants – 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 17 – Buffalo Bills – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 23 – Philadelphia Eagles – 8 p.m. (FOX)

Thursday, Aug. 30 – at Detroit Lions – 7 p.m.

REGULAR SEASON

Week 1: Sept. 9 – Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 2: Sept. 16 – at New Orleans Saints – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 3: Sept. 20 (Thu) – New York Jets – 8:20 p.m./NFLN

Week 4: Sept. 30 – at Oakland Raiders – 4:05 p.m./FOX

Week 5: Oct. 7 – Baltimore Ravens – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 6: Oct. 14 – L.A. Chargers – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 7: Oct. 21 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 8: Oct. 28 – at Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 9: Nov. 4 – Kansas City Chiefs – 1p.m./ CBS

Week 10: Nov. 11 – Atlanta Falcons – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 11: Nov. 18 – BYE

Week 12: Nov. 25 – at Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 13: Dec. 2 – at Houston Texans – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 14: Dec. 9 – Carolina Panthers – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 15: Dec. 15 (Sat) – at Denver Broncos – TBD/NFLN

Week 16: Dec. 23 – Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 17: Dec. 30 – at Baltimore Ravens – 1 p.m./CBS

“I’m always excited about the release of our schedule,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “The release of your schedule is one of the final pieces to your planning for the season. I like our schedule. It’s balanced, it’s tough but that’s exactly what we expected. We play some really good quarterbacks to start the season and two playoff teams out the gate.”

Browns Coach Hue Jackson Says All Four Top Rated QB’s Are in Play for the First Pick of the Draft

Hue Jackson says the all four top quarterbacks are still in the play for the Browns at No. 1, and no one has been ruled out yet, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“If there was a consensus John (Dorsey) had come to, he would’ve told me,” Jackson said during a press conference Tuesday. “That’s not the case.”

He said Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield are all still in the mix “but it’ll be pretty clear at the end who’s the best player for us.”

He said he’s “laughed at” all the recent reports that Allen is the guy, because they haven’t arrived at a decision yet.

He said Dorsey has holed up to reach his decision.

“When John Dorsey goes dark, he goes dark,” he said.

Browns Deal QB Kevin Hogan to the Redskins for a 6th Round Pick

Quarterback Kevin Hogan has gotten his wish, as the now former Browns QB has been dealt to the Washington Redskins for a 2018 sixth-round pick, the 188th overall pick.

Hogan appeared in four games last season, starting one, and threw for 517 yards, four touchdowns, five interceptions and was sacked six times.