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Cleveland Browns: 2013 team needs

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Cleveland Browns: 2013 team needs
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Cleveland Browns: 2013 team needs

Cleveland Browns / 2013 TEAM NEEDS

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK

Norv Turner takes over Cleveland’s offense and figures to get the most out of Trent Richardson, who is a 300-plus-touch kind of running back. Turner’s offenses have been predicated on quarterbacks with a strong arm to go downfield (i.e. Philip Rivers). Brandon Weeden has the arm, but does he have the tools to take advantage of a young but promising receiving corps?

TOP 3 OFFENSIVE NEEDS

TE — The Browns need a playmaker at this position. Perhaps third-year pro Jordan Cameron develops into that player, but the more capable tight ends a team can have, the better. Veteran Benjamin Watson is an unrestricted free agent, so adding at least one tight end for depth purposes would be reasonable.

RB— Make no mistake: The Browns have their featured back in Richardson. What they need, however, is a quick third-down back — someone who can make plays in space and reduce the risk of wear-and-tear to Richardson. Adding a quick complement to Richardson would help this offense, which has more talent than in previous years but still needs punch.

QB — With a coaching/regime change, would it be any surprise if the Browns continued to tinker at quarterback? Weeden was inconsistent as a rookie, and he will be 30 in October. Colt McCoy, Weeden’s top backup, is best-suited for a West Coast scheme.

DEFENSIVE OUTLOOK

Ray Horton inherits a very young unit that showed some flashes, especially in the second half of the season. Horton ran a 3-4 defense in Arizona with the roots he had in Pittsburgh. The Browns ran a 4-3 last season, and Horton has said he isn’t “married” to a scheme, but that it will be aggressive. Joe Haden is a cornerstone in the secondary, but this group needs more playmakers.

TOP 3 DEFENSIVE NEEDS

DE — The Browns are sound on defense. Now, they must get more dynamic. One way to accomplish this goal: adding edge-rushing talent. The Browns notched a respectable 37 sacks a season ago, but no player had more than seven. Another rusher to complement the capable Jabaal Sheard, if only on passing downs in Year One, would be helpful.

CB — Steady Sheldon Brown is an unrestricted free agent, and he will be 34 this month. Even if he’s re-signed, Brown is a short-term solution. The Browns have a potential blue-chip cornerback in Joe Haden, and third-year pro Buster Skrine could be a solid nickel back. However, a little more depth is needed.

LB — If Chris Gocong makes a strong return from a knee injury, the Browns will have solid depth in the LB corps. Nevertheless, the Browns need a little more playmaking ability in the front seven. With OLBs Scott Fujita and Kaluka Maiava being free agents, adding a linebacker makes sense.

 

2012 DRAFT REWIND

1st round (3): RB Trent Richardson / Alabama  (GP/GS: 15/15)
Skinny: Workhorse showed flashes, but rushing average was low.

1st round (22): QB Brandon Weeden / Oklahoma State (GP/GS: 15/15)
Skinny: Started from Day One. Showed promise, but too many INTs.

2nd round (37): ORT Mitchell Schwartz / California (GP/GS: 16/16)
Skinny: Consistent, All-Rookie tackle had zero holding penalties.

3rd round (87): NT John Hughes / Cincinnati (GP/GS: 16/2)
Skinny: Notched three sacks in 2012 rushing from interior.

4th round (100): WR Travis Benjamin / Miami (Fla.) (GP/GS: 14/3)
Skinny: Electric return man went 18-298-2 receiving.

4th round (120): MLB James-Michael Johnson / Nevada (GP/GS: 10/8)
Skinny: Effective when healthy. Should be a starter in 2013.

5th round (160): OG Ryan Miller / Colorado (GP/GS: 8/0)
Skinny: Appeared as a reserve on O-line.

6th round (204): LB Emmanuel Acho / Texas (GP/GS: 0/0)
Skinny: Was placed on injured reserve in late August.

6th round (205): DT Billy Winn / Boise State (GP/GS: 16/10)
Skinny: Impressed, overachieved with 26 tackles, three PDs.

7th round (245): CB Trevin Wade / Arizona (GP/GS: 13/0)
Skinny: Solid production for a seventh-rounder.

7th round (247): TE Brad Smelley / Alabama (GP/GS: 2/0)
Skinny: Nonfactor as a reserve H-back.

*2nd round (Supplemental): WR Josh Gordon / Baylor (GP/GS: 16/13)
Skinny: One of the top rookie receivers in 2012.

SUMMARY: Stellar production, depth from this class. Long-term future of Weeden, Richardson is key.

 

Pro Football Weekly's 2013 Draft Guide is now available at stores where magazines are sold. It can also be ordered online at the PFWStore or by calling 1-800-FOOTBALL.

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