Tonight is the event that comes as close to a Super Bowl type event for Cleveland Browns’ fans, since they’ve never actually been in the championship game since 1965.
Look it up, the Browns played for the NFL title against the Green Bay Packers that season.
It’s NFL draft time, and the Browns have the sixth overall selection this year.
The best case scenario for team CEO Joe Banner, GM Mike Lombardi, and head coach Rob Chudzinski would be the trade down and try to recoup the second round pick they used in the supplemental draft last summer, selecting WR Josh Gordon, who certainly was worth the choice.
Cleveland’s biggest needs going into the draft is on defense, more specifically the secondary, where CB Joe Haden is a very good player and S T.J. Ward is solid, but they need two starters and some depth as well.
They could also use a pass rusher to go along with LB Paul Kruger and LB Jabaal Sheard, who is being moved to the position.
Alabama CB Dee Milliner would seem to be a great fit with the pick, assuming he last’s that long. The mock drafts we have reviewed have him being picked anywhere from 3rd to 10th overall. Milliner would provide with the Browns best set of cornerbacks since the 80’s when they had Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield.
We all remember how those teams did.
If Milliner isn’t there at six, that’s where the trade down talk comes in. The top of the draft is loaded with offensive tackles, a position where the Browns are solid with Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz. A team with that need may be very interested in jumping up to Cleveland’s spot in the first round.
If they can trade down, a good pick may be another Alabama product, G Chance Warmack. Warmack is very highly regarded, and some have said he’s the best guard prospect since Hall of Famer John Hannah.
Although the Browns have a solid offensive line, they could use a guard, and if Warmack is even close to being as good as advertised, he could make a very good line into a dominant unit. The chance to make one area of the team into an elite unit would be very tempting for the front office.
If Milliner isn’t there and the Cleveland moves down, another player to look at would be CB Xavier Rhodes of Florida State. A former receiver who has great cover skills, he could also give new defensive coordinator Ray Horton two solid cover corners, which would enable Horton to dial-up more blitzes to confuse and punish opposing quarterbacks.
Speaking of passers, here’s hoping Banner and Lombardi do not waste the first round choice on a QB. The Browns need their first round pick to play immediately in September, and this year’s crop doesn’t have anyone who can step in right away.
That’s not to say the Browns shouldn’t take one in the later rounds. There is always room for someone to develop.
The only offensive areas, unless they can get an elite player like Warmack, the Browns should target would be another wide receiver and a tight end. After losing Benjamin Watson and Alex Smith in free agency, new offensive coordinator Norv Turner could use a big target at the position. Jordan Cameron has potential, but still hasn’t been as productive as he may become.
This isn’t a bad draft, it’s just one without big time star power. That’s why the Browns need more picks. It’s another opportunity to gain some depth for a young football team that needs it. They started to build some last year, and it would be nice to add more.