Quinn Meinerz

AFC Draft Notes: Browns, Jaguars, Broncos

Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had one of the most surprising tumbles of the draft. Widely expected to be a first-rounder, he ended up falling to the Browns with the 52nd overall pick after Cleveland traded up to get him. Apparently, the Browns almost pulled the trigger a round earlier. Cleveland mulled taking him with their first-rounder, the 26th overall pick. “He was definitely under consideration,” exec Paul DePodesta said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal.

We certainly didn’t expect him to be there when he was, but we’re fortunate that he was,” GM Andrew Berry added. “There was a lot of pacing going on upstairs once we got to about pick 42, 43, 44, just trying to figure out if there was a way we could make it happen,” DePodesta explained of the trade up. The Browns needed linebacker help, so it was the perfect situation. Not only was Owusu-Koramoah the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season, he was also a unanimous All-American.

Here’s more fallout from this weekend’s draft in the AFC:

  • The Jaguars reunited Trevor Lawrence with his college running back by drafting Travis Etienne 25th overall, but it sounds like they would’ve preferred someone else. On Friday head coach Urban Meyer said there was a player who “broke our heart” that they couldn’t draft, and on Saturday he revealed who that was. The team was hoping to pick Florida receiver Kadarius Toney, Meyer said, via John Shipley of Jaguar Report (Twitter link). It’s rare for a coach or GM to openly say something like that, so they must’ve really wanted him. Meyer called the Florida star a “human highlight reel,” and highlighted his relationship with current Gators coach Dan Mullen as to how he’d gotten close to Toney. Unfortunately for Meyer, the Giants nabbed Toney at 20th overall.
  • The Broncos drafted a small school prospect a lot of fans were high on when they took Quinn Meinerz from Wisconsin-Whitewater in the third-round. Meinerz played guard in college, but it looks like Denver is going to switch him to the pivot for pro development. Meinerz will start out playing center, head coach Vic Fangio said, via Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). As Klis points out, he’ll be behind 2020 third-rounder Lloyd Cushenberry on the depth chart.

Dolphins Lose $8MM In Cap Space

Although the Dolphins have not signed a single player to a standard 2021 contract this month, the club has still lost about $8MM in cap space, as Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald report. That’s because a few players hit incentives in their contracts that increased their 2021 cap charges.

For instance, WR DeVante Parker‘s 2021 cap number increased from $11MM to $12MM, while safety Eric Rowe‘s number grew from $5.05MM to $6.05MM. As such, Miami now has $25.4MM of cap space, assuming the cap floor of $180MM does not increase.

That’s not an insignificant amount of wiggle room, but the Dolphins do have a number of high-value draft picks, including the Nos. 3 and 18 overall selections and two second-round choices. If they keep all of those picks, Miami would need to allocate about $11.9MM for its draft class, per Jackson and Beasley. That doesn’t leave a ton of space for the team to conduct the rest of its offseason business.

After all, the ‘Fins will need to sign a wide receiver, a backup QB, and several linebackers, and they will also need to re-sign C Ted Karras or acquire a new center (though Jackson and Beasley say the club is high on Wisconsin-Whitewater OL Quinn Meinerz, Miami is not going to deploy a D-III rookie as its starting pivot).

The Dolphins do have plenty of options to create additional room, including cutting safety Bobby McCain or restructuring the contract of linebacker Kyle Van Noy. And the situation would be completely altered if the club were to trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, which appears to be a legitimate possibility.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.