Kiper sees the Cleveland Browns as perfect spot for former Tigers


by - Senior Writer -
Kiper thinks Lawrence would be a good fit with the Cleveland Browns
Kiper thinks Lawrence would be a good fit with the Cleveland Browns

Mel Kiper, Jr., sees the Cleveland Browns as a likely landing spot for either Christian Wilkins or Dexter Lawrence.

Kiper held a conference call with the media Tuesday, and he said the Browns need to find a complementary inside piece for outside rusher Myles Garrett. The Browns have the 17th overall pick in the NFL Draft, and Kiper said he expects the Browns to have a shot at one or both of the former Tigers.

“Maybe both of them,” Kiper said Tuesday during the conference call. “But, certainly I think one of those two would be there when the Browns pick.”

Lawrence declared for the NFL Draft after completing his Clemson career with 162 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 43 quarterback pressures, five pass breakups, a caused fumble and three recovered fumbles in 1,541 snaps over 40 games (36 starts). He was a first-team All-American who was also a three-time All-ACC selection and entered 2018 ranked as the No. 10 player in the nation in the preseason by Sports Illustrated and No. 16 player by NFL.com.

However, Lawrence’s production lessened after injuries derailed most of his sophomore campaign. He had seven sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss en route to becoming the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016. In 2018, he had 1.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Wilkins concluded a stellar four-year career as one of Clemson’s most decorated and most beloved figures. He completed career with 250 tackles, 41 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, 56 quarterback pressures, 16 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in 2,441 snaps over 59 games (45 starts). He was a three-time All-American who became the fifth unanimous All-American in school history in 2018, was a three-time All-ACC selection and the second four-time All-ACC Academic selection in school history.

Wilkins’ 59 career games are tied with tight end Cannon Smith for the most in school history. He entered 2018 ranked as the No. 3 player in the nation in the preseason by Sports Illustrated and No. 13 player by NFL.com.

In Kiper’s second mock draft he predicted the Browns would select Lawrence, who was suspended for Clemson’s College Football Playoff wins over Notre Dame and Alabama. Kiper says that Lawrence’s athletic ability will wow general managers and coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week.

[He’s] a big 340-pounder who showed he can get into the backfield and be a guy who can be disruptive,” Kiper said. “He may run [the 40-yard dash] in the 5.05 [second] to 5.1 range at 340 pounds. He’s going to be a physical freak at the combine and obviously impress people there.

“I think you could get to Christian Wilkins, who has great versatility. He’s played it seems like forever at Clemson. Very solid player.”

Kiper forecasts a total of five defensive tackles being picked in the opening round: Alabama’s Quinnen Williams (No. 3 overall, New York Jets), Houston’s Ed Oliver (No. 14, Atlanta Falcons), Lawrence (No. 17, Browns), Wilkins (No. 19 Tennessee Titans) and Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery (No. 28, Los Angeles Chargers).

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