After numerous discussion with fans of football i came a cross an epiphany, each and every year a fan that has his team ending up below .500 the season prior always states this little tidbit: “We are only one or two players away from a breakout season”. That statement alone has always boggled the mind that a team made up of 22 players on both offense and defense is only one or two players away from the post season given all the variables it takes to actually make it to the playoffs. When the draft comes around the talk is always on getting the best player available in the draft and names like Sammy Watkins and any top QB always seem to be the go-to options. Well, with that in mind i am making this mock draft for the Browns based on the best player available for the BROWNS and only the Browns no matter who the best player of the entire draft is.
This 2014 draft is a great opportunity for the Browns to build a solid team and not just for now but for the future. GM Ray Farmer in his rookie debut has done a very nice job plugging some holes with free agency and it is now up to the draft with five picks in the first three rounds to finish off a busy off season. With how deep the draft appears to be this year the Browns should have no problem getting five quality players with picks 4, 26, 35, 71, and 83.
Pick 4: Khalil Mack, OLB:
The popular pick on most mock drafts seems to be Sammy Watkins, but this draft is so deep at WR that the Browns don’t need to use their 4th pick on a WR and to be perfectly honest, none of the QB on the draft deserve to be chosen that high either. Ranking 16th in sacks last season, the Browns pass rush left much to be desired. Khalil Mack comes into the draft with 10.5 sacks as well as the added bonus of being good at run blocking and pretty decent in pass coverage. Mack was tope ten in tackles for a loss last season and also holds the FBS record for most forced fumbles and tackles for a loss through out his career. Provided the jaguars don’t snatch him up at number 3 he will be available for the Browns. Just imagine the nice rotation Cleveland will have with Mingo, Kruger and Sheard along with Mack.
Pick 26: Kyle Fuller, CB:
Buster Skrine was a nice surprise for the Browns last season, but the defense still needs another CB opposite of Joe Haden to compete for the position and Fuller is just that type of player. Not the biggest corner out of the draft but Fuller comes in long and with good strength. A confident player with very good instincts. Fuller can play zone or man coverage as well as defend the run. A great addition to the secondary is an understatement and bringing him in will make the Browns secondary down right scary.
Pick 35: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB:
The Browns could conceivably trade down from number 35 to get Garoppolo but why waste the time trying if this is the guy. The truth is that no one really knows weather or not the Browns need a QB or not. Hoyer is not a lock as the jury is still out on him but if he doesn’t pan out, Garoppolo will be waiting in the wings. One of my favorite things about this your quarterback is his quick release, probably the quickest out of all the QB’s in the draft. He is very adept at reading defenses and he only threw nine interceptions on 568 pass attempts last year. When you look at football IQ, Hoyer is certainly capable as relearned behind Tom Brady and the Patriots so he wouldn’t be too bad a choice to sit behind and learn from.
Pick 71: Cody Latimer, WR:
There is just so much talent at WR in this years class that the Browns can confidently sit back and wait until their 71st pick to nab a contributor as number two opposite of Josh Gordon. Shanahan want his wide receivers to want to block and Latimer fits that description to a tee. With good size at 6’3″ and 215 pounds he has the soft hands of a basketball player.
Pick 83: Cyril Richardson, OG:
Here is another need the Browns can fill early on and at the same time bolster the offensive line. Although some might consider Richardson to be a reach given his drop off front he 100 on most scout rankings, i think he would be a steal. At the early stages of the draft, Richardson was considered early 2nd round material and maybe even 1st. If the Browns pull the trigger on this one they would get a guy who can immediately start and make an impact.
With these selections the Cleveland Browns will immediately improve their defense as a whole by adding Kahil Mack. At pick 26th, Kyle Fuller will lock down the outside opposite of Joe Haden. The Browns could come away with their future signal caller in Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round. With their first selection in the third the WR coprs will be automatically bolstered and help out whoever lands behind center. Lastly, with their second selection of the third round they can add a possible starter that can be slotted in at guard and improve a weak offensive line right away.
Now i am almost certain that the Browns will not draft this way as the league is made-up of win now mentalities and getting the very best player available need or not seems to be the mantra of the NFL. But if by some miracle the draft does pan out this way you could be looking at a revamped and possible playoff team in Cleveland with the caveat that the QB play holds up.