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Mel Kiper's first mock draft gives Browns surprise pick at 12th spot

A pass-rusher and a ... running back.

That's who Mel Kiper Jr. predictedInsider the Cleveland Browns would take with the first and 12th picks, respectively, in his first mock draft.

Kiper went chalk with the first pick when he had the Browns selecting Myles Garrett of Texas A&M. Garrett is the consensus top-ranked player, a pass-rusher who had 32.5 sacks for the Aggies even though he missed part of 2016 to an ankle issue.

Kiper's second pick is an eyebrow-raiser: running back Dalvin Cook of Florida State.

If the Browns go that way, it would not qualify as a surprise.
 It would qualify as a shock.

For one, Kiper does not have the Browns taking a quarterback first or 12th, though he does caution it's early and the Browns have time to study the quarterbacks.

He projects Mitch Trubisky No. 2 overall to San Francisco and DeShaun Watson No. 10 to Buffalo. Which means Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer would be available at 12.

To think the Browns would pass on Kizer for a running back when they have a running back tandem that was one of the few successful parts of the team last season would imply that Cook is a future Hall of Fame player.

He could be. Cook rushed for 1,765 yards at FSU last season, and 19 touchdowns. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry and added 488 yards and a touchdown on 33 receptions. Anyone who scores 20 touchdowns in a season has to catch the eye of Hue Jackson.

If the Browns believe in "best player available" no matter the slot, Cook might well fit.

But Kiper's projection has the Browns passing on Kizer as well as safeties Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) and Malik Hooker (Ohio State). Both are considered top-10 talents. Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano compared Hooker's ability to Ed Reed's in a Cleveland Plain Dealer column. Schiano coached Reed at the University of Miami.

If Hooker is even close to Reed, he'd be an excellent choice. Hooker would be an excellent fit in Gregg Williams' aggressive defense. Kiper, though, feels the back is the better pick. Garrett and Cook are two of his top five overall players.

As for Kizer, Kiper's opinion on him does not match the early draft chatter.

He does not have Kizer going in the first round.