It’s time for all you Browns fans out there to get excited because it’s time for our Super Bowl (the NFL Draft). It’s starting this Thursday night with the first round and will be followed by rounds two and three on Friday and rounds 4-7 on Saturday. If there is one thing the Browns can win at, it’s having way more draft capital than any other team, and now it’s time to see if this front office can finally hit big on some picks to pull this team out of the NFL cellar. There have been many different people running the Cleveland Browns front office since their return in 1999, and most of them have one thing in common. They tend to think they are smarter than everyone else and overthink and overanalyze until they pick a guy way earlier than other teams expected. The guy turns out to be a bust, and they set the team back a few more years. I can’t place the sins of past front offices on Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta’s shoulders, but I can’t take more first round misses like Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Justin Gilbert, and Johnny Manziel.
Their first draft is not looking very promising either, but it’s still early. They didn’t have an entire offseason to prepare last year, and I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for last season. Corey Coleman and Emmanuel Ogbah showed some flashes, but none of the new regime’s picks consistently contributed throughout the season last year. The Browns have 3 of the first 33 picks in the draft, so I am going to explore their options with their first 3 picks.
1st pick – #1 Overall
TAKE MYLES GARRETT! There is a consensus on this pick from almost every analyst and draft expert throughout the NFL. Don’t mess this up. This guy has tremendous talent and can run and jump like a wide receiver. Athletic freaks like this don’t come along often, and the Browns defense was terrible last year. They have been searching for an impact pass-rusher to harass opposing quarterbacks for years, and just think of what new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, could do with this guy. Putting him on the edge in a 4-3 will also help a poor secondary in pass coverage. How great would it be to watch this guy sack Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco on a consistent basis. This is the guy! Please don’t get “cute” with this pick.
Some experts have predicted that the Browns won’t be able to resist taking a quarterback like hometown boy Mitchell Trubisky with the first pick because of the fact that they haven’t had a good quarterback since Bernie Kosar, but that would be a mistake. Everyone is saying that there are too many questions about this year’s quarterbacks, and none of them are worth taking a chance on this high in the draft. Missing on a quarterback there would send Browns’ fans into a deep depression. There would probably be a line at the 480 bridge if he didn’t pan out.
2nd pick – #12 Overall
With this pick, the Browns will probably take a quarterback even though most of the draft experts were saying that none of the quarterbacks had a first round grade at the beginning of the draft process. Just like any other year, the quarterbacks start climbing boards because everyone wants to find the one that will turn them into a contender. It’s just the Browns’ luck that there wouldn’t be a clear-cut top quarterback the year they have the first pick. I am not against the Browns taking a quarterback here, but I only want them to do it if they are really high on a guy and think he is worthy of that high of a choice. I don’t want them to desperately reach for another project and waste another high pick. Some people also think they will try to move up from here to get the quarterback they want, but I think that’s just a smokescreen.
Preferably, I’d like to see the team take a dynamic defensive playmaker like Malik Hooker. Most of the mock drafts have him going earlier, and the Browns are normally allergic to Ohio State players. The team is in desperate need of a ballhawking safety like Hooker, so it would be a great fit. They could also take a new offensive threat like Alabama tight end OJ Howard, Clemson receiver Mike Williams, or Western Michigan Corey Davis. It would be great to have some more weapons for whoever the quarterback is, and the quarterback should have more time to get them the ball with the revamped offensive line.
3rd pick – #33 Overall
Depending on what the team does with their second pick or what quarterbacks are off the board, the team may try to trade back into the first round to get their guy. They could also stay here if they think their guy will fall. I have also seen some draft experts predict the Browns taking Washington safety Budda Baker here to fill their need at safety. The team could also address their needs in the secondary by taking a cornerback like Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie or Florida’s Quincy Wilson. However, if the team has already filled their needs for quarterback and in the secondary, they could pick a pass-rusher here or address the need for more playmakers.
The Browns have a lot of opportunities to improve their team with 11 picks in this year’s draft including four picks in the first two rounds. They also have a lot of positions and needs to fill, so hopefully they can finally be successful and get themselves on the right track toward contending again. This will be a very important draft for the team’s future. If the front office makes good decisions, they may never have to buy another drink in Cleveland, but if they screw up a draft with all this equity, they may just find their way out of the revolving door in Berea. Let’s hope it’s the former because most of us can’t handle much more losing.