BEREA, Ohio (AP) — It took nearly two years and 10-plus rounds, but the Browns finally selected a wide receiver in the NFL draft.
With his second selection on Saturday, Browns general manager Ray Farmer took Washington State’s Vince Mayle, a former junior college basketball player who had a school record 106 catches last season.
Cleveland entered the final day of the draft as the only AFC team not to select a wide receiver or tight end since the start of last year’s draft. But Farmer, who has been adamant about building his team from the outside out, nabbed Mayle with his 13th pick in two years.
Farmer had avoided taking a wideout despite two rich classes of playmakers. Mayle was the 17th wide receiver taken in this year’s draft, the third in the fourth round and the 50th selected over the past two years.
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound Mayle had 1,483 yards receiving and nine touchdowns in 2014. Some draft analysts questioned his hands.
"I believe the scouting reports are wrong," he said on a conference call. Mayle said he learned on Twitter shortly before he was taken that the Browns hadn’t picked a wide receiver before him.
"And then my phone started ringing," he said.
Cleveland signed free agent wideouts Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline during the winter, additions the Browns hope can offset the loss of former Pro Bowler Josh Gordon, who has been suspended for the 2015 season for multiple drug violations.
Farmer has been adamant that the Browns have sufficient depth and skilled pass catchers, but taking another can’t hurt.
Mayle said he met with Farmer at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine and he has spoken in the past with new Browns receivers coach Joker Phillips.
With the No. 115 selection, the Browns picked Northwestern safety Ibraheim Campbell, a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder who likes to hit. He started 45 games in four years starting for the Wildcats.
"I would consider myself a physical player," he said. "It’s a violent game, and I try to be as violent as possible in everything I do. It’s something I try to approach every game with."
After drafting Campbell, the Browns traded the No. 116 pick to Arizona for Nos. 123, 198 and 241.
It remains to be seen if Campbell will add another quarterback to his roster. The Browns signed veteran free agent Josh McCown this winter as their likely starter as the team is taking a wait-and-see approach with Johnny Manziel, their highly touted first-round pick last season. He had a miserable rookie season and recently spent more than 70 days in rehab.
With the first of their three sixth-round picks, the Browns nabbed Louisville cornerback Charles Gaines. At 5-10, 180 pounds, Gaines is viewed as a potential nickelback or kick returner.
At No. 195, the Browns took Malcolm Johnson, a hybrid fullback/tight end from Mississippi State and selected Southern Cal tight end Randall Telfar three picks later.