NFL Draft Needs: Browns

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

No. 1 Team Need: Quarterback

Silva's Analysis

Brian Hoyer impressed in limited 2013 duty with a quick trigger and aggressiveness, but tore his right ACL in October and isn't a long-term answer. The Browns cut Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden, leaving trick-shot specialist Alex Tanney as Cleveland's only quarterback behind Hoyer. New OC Kyle Shanahan has a history coaching various types of signal callers, from Matt Schaub to Rex Grossman to Robert Griffin III. Cleveland has flexibility as it pursues its franchise solution.

Norris' Options

First day option: Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville - I have no idea which quarterback prospect Ray Farmer likes most. After all, he has taken the unique approach of not attending quarterback pro days, and in turn showing interest through on-campus workouts or meals (thus far). For some reason I get the idea the previous regime were fans of Bridgewater. His pocket movement, eye level, and dominance in the short and intermediate games are quality traits. He also did more at the line of scrimmage, in terms of calls and checks, than other top prospects at the position. The new decision makers might not agree.

Second day possibility: Derek Carr, Fresno State - This is not so much a day two pick as a late first-round selection. I always debate if a team waits for a quarterback, they are not truly sold on him. But then there is the train of thought of “playing the draft.” While it can prove to be great, it is a massive risk. Who is to say another team does not feel the same? Carr’s unbalanced base could generate the same amount of frustration as Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford for fans and coaches, but there is also a lot to work with.

Third day flier: David Fales, San Jose State - Too often the focus of Fales’ evaluation is his downfield arm. In my opinion, he has just enough velocity to keep defenses honest. What should be highlighted is his willingness to work through progressions and pocket movement in the face of pressure.


No. 2 Team Need: Cornerback

Silva's Analysis

Joe Haden is entrenched as a top-dozen NFL corner, but Cleveland has little behind him. Buster Skrine is a nickel back at best, and 2013 third-round pick Leon McFadden got torched down the stretch. Opponents knew to attack Skrine and McFadden and had success doing it. Shoring up No. 2 cornerback could make Cleveland a dynamite defense in coach Mike Pettine's first year. They're obviously interested in upgrading this position after flirting intensely with Darrelle Revis.

Norris' Options

First day option: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech - This is not the first time you’ve seen me discuss Fuller, and it will not be the last. Fuller can do everything, and that is not hyperbole. Line him up in press man? Sure, and he will even run the receiver’s route for him. Off man or zone? No problem, as he’ll stick to the receiver’s hip pocket or drive on underneath routes. He even played a WHIP linebacker role against Georgia Tech at a high level. His mirroring skills and timing to disrupt the catch point are outstanding.

Second day possibility: E.J. Gaines, Missouri - Gaines played a lot of short and deep off man, which showcased his reaction skills to close at the catch point. Receivers’ stems did get him a bit off balance, leading to some odd footwork, but he tended to recover well. He is very willing to attack upfield in run support as well.

Third day flier: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma - Colvin received top-50 buzz at the Senior Bowl prior to his injury. I never understood that, personally, but the NFL might like his talent. We know the speed is there, and it was evident when chasing down DeAndrew White in the Sugar Bowl. I think that speed helped him in plenty of press bail situations, sticking with receivers because of it rather than recognition.


No. 3 Team Need: Wide Receiver

Silva's Analysis

Beyond TE Jordan Cameron, returning NFL receiving yardage leader Josh Gordon has little help. Greg Little has been a complete flop as a starter. New slot man Andrew Hawkins offers dynamic talent, but isn't an every-down receiver. Situational burner Travis Benjamin tore his right ACL in October. Cleveland could use a No. 2 receiver who poses a complementary threat. New GM Ray Farmer must also factor in Gordon being one off-field hiccup away from a lengthy suspension.

Norris' Options

First day option: Mike Evans, Texas A&M - Sammy Watkins is commonly mocked as the first receiver off the board, and rightfully so. But reports have stated at least a couple of teams prefer Evans, so this pick is not out of the realm of possibility for a few reasons: 1. The Browns went out and acquired a player who is very good in space in free agency (Andrew Hawkins). 2. They have a receiver on the team who wins in the vertical portions of the field and is expanding his game. 3. Evans has some seemingly veteran qualities to his game, including working back to the quarterback on nearly 44 percent of his catches, well above the average. I do not think the Browns currently possess No. 3. Combine that with Evans’ ability to win at the catch point and his underappreciated YAC skills, and it is at least worth asking “is this possible?”

Second day possibility: Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss - 2013 was not very kind to Moncrief and much of that could be attributed to poor quarterback play, but the receiver did not help his cause at times. Moncrief tended to body catch some contested targets, leading to drops, and was attached to the sideline by the offensive scheme far too often. He is a big body with plus-athleticism. A third-round selection sounds about right.

Third day flier: Devin Street, Pitt - Street is not overly explosive, but he is a fluid edge receiver with good size (6’3/198). I don’t think Street uses that frame enough, especially after the catch, but he is a hands catcher and can hide his route breaks well thanks to little wasted movement. Has some vertical ability as well.

Browns 2014 Draft Picks (10)

First Round (No. 4)

First Round (No. 26)

Second Round (No. 35)

Third Round (No. 71)

Third Round (No. 83)

Fourth Round (No. 106)

Fourth Round (No. 127)

Fifth Round (No. 145)

Sixth Round (No. 180)

Seventh Round (No. 218)


Browns Current First-Team Offense

QB: Brian Hoyer

RB: Ben Tate

WR: Josh Gordon

WR: Andrew Hawkins

TE: Jordan Cameron

TE: Jim Dray

LT: Joe Thomas

LG: Jason Pinkston

C: Alex Mack

RG: John Greco

RT: Mitchell Schwartz

Browns Current First-Team Defense

LE: Ahtyba Rubin

RE: Desmond Bryant

NT: Phil Taylor

ILB: Karlos Dansby

ILB: Craig Robertson

OLB: Paul Kruger

OLB: Jabaal Sheard

LCB: Joe Haden

RCB: Buster Skrine

FS: Tashaun Gipson

SS: Donte Whitner