The Cleveland Browns have had quite the exciting off season so far and the doesn’t seem to be any signs of the excitement wearing off. Ray Farmer didn’t waste any time as the Browns new general manager bringing in player to fit Mike Pettine’s style. Donte Whitner was signed after TJ Ward moved on and they also brought in a replacement for D’Qwell Jackson in Karlos Dansby and should fill the void nicely. The last major signing has been at receiver with Andrew Hawkins as they expect him to bring a dynamic shift to the slot position, something the Browns have been lacking for a long time.
Even still, with all the new additions there are still many holes to be filled by the Browns as well as depth to be added. Lets see what their seven rounds in the upcoming draft might look like.
Round 1 No. 4 – WR – Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins is by far one of my favorite players in the draft and he will be the favorite target of any quarterback. Having him opposite of Josh Gordon will give you a clear idea if Hoyer is the one to be the future of the Browns. Clearly the best receiver in the draft, Watkins could quickly rise to the ranks of top ten at his position in the NFL. Along with speed and natural instinct, Watkins also bring with him the most dependable hands in the draft. Getting him at number 4 is a no brainer as he will immediately make an impact the offense.
Round 1 No. 26 – OG – Xavier Su’a-Filo
The weakest part of the Browns offensive line is at right guard. Both tackle positions are filled and set and with center Alex Mack most likely returning, it is time to fill the hole at guard early on.
Su’a-Filo is the type that can easily step into the role and produce from day one. He can match up with any of the leagues top defenders as he has the power for the one on ones. The versatility he will bring to the line is something the Browns truly need and he can jump around if needed.
Round 2 No. 35 – CB – Bradley Roby
Outside of Buster Skirne, at number 35 the corner back position is lacking but Bradley Roby is the best fit for the Browns as he is quickly becoming a premiere name in the draft. It will be a slight risk as he had an up and down season in 2013 after being suspended for the first game of the season over a bar fight and found himself outmatched at times when facing bigger receivers. Still, he is a moderate risk with possible high reward as he is a feisty corner who plays bigger than he is and Pettine will know exactly how to mold him into a top corner. His best asset is his speed as he can keep up with any receiver in the NFL.
Round 3 No. 71 – QB – AJ McCarron
The quarterback position is something the Browns have been struggling with for years and after last season it is clear that Brandon Weeden is not the answer. Bryan Hoyer showed great potential down the stretch and can lead his team to victory so unless there is a guy the Browns really want early on they can afford to hold off and pick up a quarterback in the 3rd round.
AJ McCarron played game manager for the Alabama Crimson Tide where he handled a power run offense. He has the head for the game and has come up big when needed. McCarron faced some tough games last season and showed he has good potential for the NFL. He can be molded behind veteran Hoyer and develop into the NFL before being thrown in cold.
Round 3 No. 83 – WR – Donte Moncrief
With Watkins and Gordon both on the field, opposing defenses will have their hands full. Still though, Wtakins, Gordon and Hawkins are only three and the receiving corps is still lacking depth. With Greg Little being a disappointment after being drafted in the second round a few years ago, it is time to look at other prospects.
Donte Moncrief is the prototypical receiver in size and speed and can potentially be great in the NFL. He comes with a great burst off the line and acceleration. His route running is a bit lacking and has trouble wining the battles at times but these are things that can be worked on. His only major flaw is the drop issues but he is still solid as a third or fourth option with the inherit potential of eventually being a number one.
Round 4 No. 102 – OG – Anthony Steen
Now that the offensive line is set with the starters, depth is something to work on. Anthony Steen is the classic hard nosed and tough football guard. Solid at run blocking and protecting the pocket his only flaws are not being able to finish the block and getting better extension. When you watch his film you can clearly see he plays his heart out in every game and has the potential to be a leader on the line.
Round 4 No. 123 – RB – James White
Running back is another position on the Cleveland Browns that requires depth and after signing Ben Tate , there is not much left worth a roster spot. A mid round talent for the Browns is exactly what is called for and having two picks in the fourth a running back is the best option.
James White clawed his way into the field as he was constantly surrounded by talent at how position through out his career. He played second in Wisconsin but finally had the shot to prove he can play at the NFL level. He is by far the most versatile back in the draft with a combination of speed, power and pass blocking.
Round 5 No. 133 – ILB – Jordan Zumwalt
With a 3-4 defense, the Browns need to add someone opposite of karlos Dansby. Craig Robinson has potential but he is just not above average material. Enter Jordan Zumwalt, a strong hitting line backer out of UCLA that delivered an unforgettable hit to Virgina Tech quarterback, Logan Thomas, in the Sun Bowl. Zumwalt is all high energy and one of the hardest hitting in the draft. He will bring attitude and swagger to the defense along with impact on special teams.
Round 6 No. 164 – S – Sean Parker
Rounding up the defense is Sean Parker as added depth to the safety tandem of Whitner and Tashaun Gipson. Parker was the best defensive player for the Huskies last year and brings with him play making ability and can be a threat to both quarterbacks and receivers alike. Also known as a hard hitter with a lot of upside Parker could be a hidden gem in the sixth round.
Round 7 No. 195 – WR – L’Damian Washington
With the last pick, the Browns will look to add another receiver and make a statement as one of the leaves most solid receiving corps. L’Damian Washington is a mix of good size and incredible speed. With in a few years he can conceivably develop into a solid wide receiver. His draw backs and the reason he will fall to later rounds are his small hands and tends to be a body catching receiver. His inconsistency and awkwardness in adjusting to the long ball are negatives but has tremendous upside and he is worth taking a shot at.