For only the third time since 1999, the Cleveland Browns will not have a top 20 pick in the NFL draft. The Browns have the 26th pick in the 2021 NFL draft, their lowest top pick since 1995.
After 12 straight losing seasons, the Browns finished the 2020 NFL season with an 11-5 record and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. Hence, their top pick is at the back end of the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.
While the Browns have a talented roster, they won't shy away from trading up in the 2021 NFL draft to acquire players that could help them close the gap further on the cream of the crop in the AFC.
But which players in this year's draft class should the Browns consider trading up for? Let's take a look.
Three prospects in the 2021 NFL draft that the Cleveland Browns should consider trading up for
#3 - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
The Cleveland Browns are looking to pair star defensive end Myles Garrett with a stud edge rusher. After failing in their pursuit of J.J. Watt, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals, the Browns signed Takk McKinley. While he's young and has shown potential, there are still doubts whether he can elevate his game to the next level.
The Browns are still pursuing Jadeveon Clowney, but if they fail to sign the veteran, they should consider trading up a few spots to draft Michigan's Kwity Paye. One of the best pass rushers in this year's draft class, Paye is a well-rounded player and a menace at the line.
In 28 games with Michigan, Paye recorded 23.5 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. Pairing the defensive end with an elite pass rusher like Garrett would make it easier for him to make an impact at the line.
The Browns should definitely be looking to trade up in the draft to pick Paye.
#2 - Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
There is no denying that Cleveland Browns' linebackers were sub-par in 2020. Even after the addition of veteran linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. this offseason, they still need a player who could make an impact on the defense with his speed.
Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would be an excellent addition to the Browns' linebacker unit. In 25 games for his alma mater, Owusu-Koramoah recorded 142 tackles, seven sacks and five forced fumbles.
In coverage, the linebacker defended seven passes and caught one interception for Notre Dame. He is versatile and can play as a safety too. If he's still available midway through the first round, the Browns should consider trading up to draft the Owusu-Koramoah.
#1 - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Cleveland Browns made major moves to bolster their secondary this offseason. They added versatile safety John Johnson III and slot cornerback Troy Hill.
Cornerback Greedy Williams will also be returning from a shoulder nerve injury to further strengthen the Browns' secondary. But it's difficult to predict how Williams will play this season after he missed the entire 2020 campaign. The Browns already have an elite cornerback in Denzel Ward and will likely look to draft another instead of relying on Williams.
South Carolina's Jaycee Horn is a prototype cornerback. Smart, physical and instinctive, Horn is considered by many to be the second-best cornerback in the draft, right behind Patrick Surtain.
The South Carolina star will be a man in demand in the 2021 NFL draft. The Browns will likely have to give up a considerable haul of draft picks, and maybe even Williams, to acquire a pick high enough to draft Horn.