Cleveland Browns draft forecast: Fifth-round means best player available, whoever that is

Chris Easterling
Akron Beacon Journal
Louisville defensive lineman YaYa Diaby (6) reacts after a play against Boston College at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, on Oct. 1, 2022.

By the time the fifth round of the draft has arrived, all bets are off in terms of what it is a team may be looking for with their picks. With the Browns specifically, all bets are off that they even use the picks.

However, since it's hard to guess what trades will be available, the only thing that can be done is assess some of the best possible targets at the picks the Browns currently have in the fifth round. Much like the third and fourth rounds, they currently have two picks in the fifth, the last round they have multiple selections.

At this point in the draft, it would be safe to call it a best-player-available situation instead of a straight by-need one. If you can accomplish both with one pick, even better.

Third-round potential for Browns: Cleveland Browns draft forecast: Zach Harrison, Tyler Scott top third-round possibilities

Fourth-round potential for Browns: Cleveland Browns draft forecast: Karl Brooks, Kenny McIntosh among fourth-round options

As has been the case with the third-round and fourth-round forecasts, here's looking at five players who could be available and interest the Browns when they pick. The fact their two picks come in the span of three picks means the pool won't be much different.

The usual disclaimer exists that players mentioned for previous picks still work for these if they happen to still be around.

Pick No. 140: A little help on the way for the offense

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn (22) runs for a touchdown against TCU at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 3, 2022.
  • Nick Broeker, OG, Ole Miss
  • YaYa Diaby, DE, Louisville
  • Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue
  • Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon
  • Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State

The signing of Wes Martin last month addressed some of the depth questions on the interior of the offensive line. That's where a guy like Broeker , who was utilized in multiple spots with the Rebels, could fit in as a longer-term answer. … Diaby being here at 140 would mean some kind of fall, but if it were to happen the Browns should pounce. The better bet is that they would take the explosive Louisville edge rusher at least one, if not two rounds earlier. … Jones is going to draw comparisons to the last Purdue product the Browns took, receiver David Bell last year. However, the former Iowa Hawkeye-turned-Boilermaker does have some explosiveness to his game and, like Bell, is a solid route runner. … This round's option at linebacker is the younger brother of former Detroit Lions first-round pick Penei Sewell. The younger Sewell is a solid run-stopper at linebacker who can also get after the quarterback, especially on third down. … If running back still hasn't been addressed and Vaughn is still on the board, a swing on the diminutive-yet-powerful former Wildcat would be worth the risk. Despite a 5-foot-5, 179-pound frame, Vaughn was extremely productive the last two seasons, both running and catch the ball.

Pick No. 142: Some depth help at tackle, tight end?

Cincinnati Bearcats wide receiver Tre Tucker celebrates a touchdown catch against the Temple Owls.
  • Braeden Daniels, OT, Utah
  • Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion
  • Jaquelin Roy, DT, LSU
  • Tre Tucker, WR, Cincinnati
  • Jay Ward, S, LSU

The Browns are likely to pick up Jedrick Wills Jr.'s fifth-year option, Jack Conklin just signed a new four-year extension and swing tackle James Hudson III still has two years left on his rookie deal. However, it's never a bad idea to look at more depth, and the versatile Daniels would provide that if he's there. … Both Kevin Stefanski and Deshaun Watson have a certain affinity for tight ends, so looking for a developmental No. 3 behind David Njoku and newly-signed Jordan Akins would make sense. The 6-foot-7, 255-pound Kuntz is the ideal kind of developmental one with athletic traits that would appeal to the Browns front office even if the actual tight end skills are still a tad raw. … The Browns have found a pipeline of players at LSU over the last several years, both under Andrew Berry and John Dorsey. If they're still looking at this point in the draft for defensive tackle or safety help, a swing on the powerful-yet-raw Roy or the rangy Ward would make sense. … Tucker would be the perfect Bubba Ventrone pick for the Browns. While a solid receiving prospect, the former Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy star made his biggest impact in college as not just a return man, but also as an overall special-teams standout.

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On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ