Fans of the Cleveland Browns will again be entering the draft build up with some trepidation, given the relatively poor performance of the team of late. This despite the number of draft picks they have had both from their poor showing and some judicious trades. However looking beyond their 4-12 2013 record shows a team with some potential and so we thought it would be fun to come up with an aggressive 2014 draft plan, which might propel them into contention in the tough AFC North over the next couple of seasons.
Numbers wise seven of their losses came by 8 points or less, and they faced what turned out to be a daunting schedule, with 10 of their games being against teams who finished 8-8 or better. Stats wise they were also better than they appear from the win loss column, with their defence being ranked 8th against the pass and a respectable 18th against the run. Their passing yards were also up their at 11th (thanks to Josh Gordon) and the run game suffered from the trading of Trent Richardson (the reason for which still remains a mystery to us).
So we have a solid enough defence and a WR who can catch the ball, so our idea is to go aggressive on offense and give whoever ends up under centre plenty of protection & weapons. Given Cleveland have 10 draft picks including two 3rds & two 4ths they can afford to move about a bit and of course they could throw in a pick or two from 2015 if needed. Ok here goes:
Lets scare the opposing defences by adding a second top wide receiver in Sammy Watkins. Pairing him with Josh Gordon will make any QB look better and also force defences to give extra help outside, so leaving space which big TE Jordan Cameron should be able to exploit. He should still be on the board at pick 4 as Clowney, Robinson & Mack should take the first 3 places so no need to trade up here. In the unlikely event he is gone then Mike Evans would be a good second choice and it may be possible to trade down slightly for him.
Sammy Watkins Highlights
Now we would try and work a deal with the Rams to get a decent OT to finish off the OL. Mack & Thomas have sorted out the Centre & LT issues, however they need to plug the right side and if they can get the no 13 pick from then Rams they could plug Taylor Lewan straight in here. This would give whoever ends up as QB time to find his wide guys. This QB issue can easily be addressed with their 26th pick or one they could wait and use one of the 3rd or 4th round picks they have accumulated.
Taylor Lewen at the Outback Bowl
Next plug in a running back to fill the Trent Richardson void, and with pick 35 Tre Mason should be available. He showed a lot of promise at Alabama and in less deep drafts he would have been a 1st round pick. This will give the Browns plenty of balance, but has not filled what many feel is the biggest need a QB.
Tre Mason at The Combine
Well the reason for this is that we think this years QB class is quite deep, without being outstanding. We considered in an earlier article the possibility of a sleeper QB lurking in the lower reaches, and by picking as above they will have built an offense that any half decent veteran QB should be able to operate behind. Also some decent QB’s are likely to slide into Round two and three offering the chance to pick up a mid season starter to slot in behind Brian Hoyer, and as we discussed below there are plenty of solid QBs who could drift. Zach Mettenberger & AJ McCarron both spring to mind here and even if they don’t make the grade there is always 2015 , when they can take a top rookie QB safe in the knowledge he will get the best possible start with a solid OL and plenty of weapons. They can then use the remaining picks to add a bit of depth on Defence.
Will the Browns go this way – not a chance, they may wait until pick 26 for a QB or may pull the trigger as low as pick four. Still as we said we were only throwing out a possible scenario and we wont know how these picks pan out until 2015.