Round 2: Nik Bonitto
The impending free agency of Jadeveon Clowney means it’s prudent for the Browns to acquire a talented edge rusher in this year’s draft. Bonitto might be too small to play every down in Cleveland’s conventional 4-3 setup, but his athleticism from the edge should be too much for the Browns to pass up in Round 2.
Bonitto’s college tape shows outstanding explosion from the edge. He can’t bull-rush opposing tackles but he’s got the type of speed that causes real problems for non-elite offensive linemen.
Predictably, Bonitto’s effectiveness is diminished when he allows himself to be stymied at the point of attack. The upside is that the former Oklahoma standout shows the effort required to become a quality late pass-rusher as well. He doesn’t give up on plays and that allows him to produce solid pressure when quarterbacks are forced to hold on to the ball.
Bonitto isn’t a plug-and-play replacement for Clowney but he can come in and help the Browns defense as a pass-rushing specialist as a rookie. If he grows into a player who can help them at outside linebacker on early downs he could turn into a highly-valuable defender in time.