And just like that the Browns are on the clock. But what should they do?
Using Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft strictly for the purpose of establishing an order, we see that Fairley, Bowers, Newton, Green and Miller are off the board. Mel has the Browns selecting J.J. Watt, DE from Wisconsin. That would certainly fill a need, but is Watt the best player available? Is he even the best player available that fills a need?
The Browns will certainly be taking a hard look at Watt, as well as other defensive linemen such as Marcell Dareus and Robert Quinn. Wide receiver is also a need however, and many say that Julio Jones’ excellent performance at the combine may have vaulted him up draft boards.
It has been inferred that the Browns might not be opposed to taking one of a few top tier defensive backs as well, even though that isn’t perceived as a big area of need. Guys like Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara could potentially give the Browns the best young CBs in the league paired with Joe Haden.
So who would I like to see the Browns select?
The player most likely to make an impact.
How’s that for a weak answer? We’d all love for the Browns to have a 2011 draft that rivals the Steelers’ 1974 offering, or even the Cowboys’ 1991 or 1992 classes. The reality is those types of drafts are few and far between.
Every draft has a Pro-Bowl player or two in the first round. What I want for the Browns is to find one or two of those players. Outside of center and left tackle, is there not room on this team for a star at just about any position? If Heckert believes Patrick Peterson is that kind of player then take him. If he thinks Julio Jones is that guy, then grab him. If Akeem Ayers ends up being that stud OLB from this class then I hope he’s wearing Cleveland orange and brown.
Forget about position. Easy to say for a team with a lot of holes anyway. Grab the best players you can get, and use free agency to fill holes. No, we aren’t likely to sign big money, high profile guys to step in and create a dominant defensive line. The truth is no team really accomplishes that through free agency anyway. They add a piece to an already good unit and it becomes better.
We’re kidding ourselves if we expect the Browns to be a playoff team next year. But they can get better. A solid draft again this year and the Browns will have a foundation to build on.