NFL Draft: Jacob and Kirk Tackle Browns’ 1st-Round Strategy

Browns Hat

With the NFL Draft coming up on Thursday night, two of your Weekend Warriors, Jacob and Kirk, thought it would be a good idea to get the juices flowing and talk about what the Browns could potentially do at #6 (or wherever else they may land in the first round). Who will be wearing that lovely orange and brown cap pictured to the right come Thursday evening? We do hope you enjoy, and let the discussion begin in the comments section!Browns Hat

Jacob:  On Thursday night, being as realistic as possible, what do you think the Browns should do with the No. 6 pick?

Kirk:  If I’m in that war room, I’m drawing on the dry erase board in big letters…. TRADE DOWN! If someone wants one of the three offensive tackles and they’re still on the board at 6, take the deal. I like, but I don’t love, a lot of the guys that will ultimately be the pick at #6.

Jacob:  To a certain extent, yeah, that has to be the M.O. for the front office from the start of Thursday night. This draft, for all its eccentricities, doesn’t have a sure-fire guy that is a clear-cut no-brainer for this roster’s future. There’s a whole lot of ways they could go. Moving up is not one of them. Thus, there’s flexibility at No. 6 for many different possible solutions.

Jacob:  At this point, I think the Browns should hope Dion Jordan or Dee Milliner falls into their laps at No. 6. Those appear to be the two best fits. After that, if both are gone — which certainly could be logical — then trade down for one of the other DE/OLB fits, or maybe even address that later along with other roster needs. There’s lot of middle-tier first-rounders this year.

Kirk:  If the Browns do stay at 6, I really do like Dee Milliner. I realize the concerns with having two high-profile (and eventually high-paid) corners on the team, but if we’re drafting for BPA within reason (as in, we don’t take an offensive or defensive tackle that high), then I’m sort of rooting for Milliner being there. The same applies for Jordan. Just watching the film on that guy is exhilarating. He’s so long and flexible and in-your-face in the backfield. The shoulder injuries are scary, but I would be unable to pass him up either.

Kirk:  The Dolphins have been talked about as a trade partner at 12. I’d be alright with dropping down to that slot and picking up Mingo or Jarvis Jones. It would be nice not to have to sit out the second round this year (Still love ya, Josh Gordon).

Jacob:  So it’s Jordan and Milliner. Those appear to be the two guys that we’re intrigued about most in the top-6 echelon, as per the typical consensus from a lot of fans right now. But if both are gone at No. 6, should the Browns trade down no matter what? Who would be your next favorite if no trade presents itself?

Kirk:  Should no trade present itself, I would be in the Mingo camp. A lot of the same things I said about Jordan apply with Mingo. He’s long and lean. He contributed for three years at LSU where according to some, they didn’t utilize his skillset properly. He sets the edge against the run and he put up some nice stats in nation’s best conference. He was a basketball player and has been only playing football since he was a junior in high school. This guy has a lot of room for growing and development, it would seem.

Jacob:  Agreed so much on that point about the second round. Overall, at this point in time, I think this front office — and especially the rabid fanbase — would do that Josh Gordon supplemental second-round pick decision any day of the week. He performed much better on the field as a rookie than nearly anyone could have expected. I’m fine with that decision still. But it leaves a big void as this roster still needs so much talent and still has so many holes, that that “missed” second-rounder is huge.

Jacob:  Should no trade present itself, I don’t know. Man, I’m so torn. It’s tricky. A big part of me wants to say “STOP worrying about fit only!” The Browns would pigeon-hole themselves if forced to only consider players like Ziggy Ansah, Mingo, or Jones at No. 6 otherwise. For now though, if really forced to pick, I’d go with Ansah as my favorite of the other tier — his age doesn’t concern me much, while his potential appears the highest — while also giving serious consideration to Chance Warmack.

Kirk:  Oh, yes, Warmack, for the completion of a SUPERTEAM of offensive linemen! I wouldn’t be opposed to that, but I just think they need another impact player on defense so badly. I’m not crazy about Ansah. There are concerns with his motor, and he’s very, very raw. I don’t really know why, but I just see the Jordan/Mingo/Jones body type fitting in better for the Browns as a 3-4 rush linebacker than Ansah, but maybe that’s just personal preference from this non-football filmhound.

If you’re going to talk about Warmack, the name Geno Smith comes to mind on the offensive side of the ball as well….

Jacob:  I’m super intrigued by Ansah. He’s already shown so much with so little football schooling. Given some time to develop, especially alongside a decent front seven already, I think he could be a steady All-Pro for a long time.

But yes, that Geno Smith fellow. First, has there ever been any QB that’s been tossed around back-and-forth by the media? Fans first wanted to think that he was a running QB. Then they wanted to think he was a sure-fire No. 1. He’s not either of those. He’s a very typical pocket passer with some pretty impressive collegiate stats, but the measurements aren’t that impressive and he’s just not going to be an elite superstar, it appears. I have a hard time truthfully rationalizing a scenario in which I’d want the Browns to draft him. I just don’t know why it would make sense.

Kirk:  I’m also in the crowd that wants to avoid taking a quarterback in the first round (or at all, really). I like Geno Smith. He’s not a running QB, as anyone who watched him play knows. He’s got a great arm. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had success on level with what Russell Wilson did in his rookie campaign. But, more than anything, I think we need to rule out that Brandon Weeden, in this new system with a new coach and offensive coordinator who seem custom-fit for him, is the guy. If he isn’t, then you look into your options after the season. I don’t think anyone is expecting a Browns’ playoff run this year, so fill out both sides of the ball as best as you can, so whether it’s Weeden or someone new next season, they’re more likely to succeed with more weapons and a more sound defense behind them.

Jacob:  And that’s the biggest point again that I’d want to make about this first day in the draft. There are still so many holes on this Browns roster. It’s not easy to instantly fix a franchise that has just 23 wins in a five-season span. If there’s an opportunity to move down from the No. 6 spot that could provide multiple benefits as opposed to just one, then that’s fine. I think one of Ansah/Mingo/Jones could be there at No. 12 (or wherever else) and other pieces of value would fit into place later on as well. But in any of these situations, I don’t see how drafting a QB (be it Geno or any of the others) makes sense.

Kirk:  If you can make a trade back and gain a second rounder, I’d still love to use the first two picks on defense if it makes sense. You have Taylor, Rubin, Bryant starting on the line with great depth in Hughes, Winn, and Kitchen behind them. You have Kruger, Sheard (maybe, hopefully if he can make the conversion), D’Qwell, and James Michael Johnson at linebacker. You have Haden and T.J. Ward in the secondary. If you can add a linebacker and a safety or corner with the first two picks, it starts to look like an impact defense with some depth, especially on the D-line.

Jacob:  Is that investing too heavily all at once on the front seven, though? Scott made the point in a Q&A with folks at The Score about how it seems potentially overboard to get Kruger, Bryant AND a top-10 pick on a defensive line prospect too. I’m just throwing it out there. Scott’s point was that either go for Milliner, or maybe one of those higher-priced free agents should have been a corner. Either way as well, I think I’d be looking very much toward improving that porous secondary in whatever way possible. You also could convince me about drafting an improvement at guard (Warmack) or tight end (Eifert), pending that trade.

Kirk:  I don’t feel terrible about where the Browns are at with the tight end position. Obviously, I expect them to draft one at some point, but I think Jordan Cameron is going to emerge this upcoming season. I’ve heard people comment that newly signed wide receiver David Nelson can line up like a tight end at times. Kellen Davis played a lot in Chicago, though he had mixed success. With Gordon, Little, and Benjamin, I like where the receiving corps are at right now. I wouldn’t draft a running back until later. So, by process of elimination, I guess it leaves the O-line as the place I would look to improve early on that side of the ball. It’s a very valid point by Scott, and I do wish that the Browns had signed one less for the front seven and instead added a solid corner or safety. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone in that front seven gets dealt at some point this season.

Jacob:  At some point though, I think tight end should be a priority. To me, Jordan Cameron’s not a starting tight end on a playoff-caliber team. Maybe he could keep developing, but it’s a long-shot right now. That’s why I’m kinda leaning toward the Eifert train in a trade-down situation. He’s not someone I’d reach for, but his addition could provide another significant boost for Weeden’s progression. I think we’re of a similar mindset on most things though. There are those couple of really impressive guys at the top, but also lots of intriguing ways the Browns could more effectively fill out their roster with a “hopeful” trade.

Kirk:  Yes, I think it will be a very interesting draft, given the fluid top of the draft board. There may be a greater contrast in where teams rank these guys, and it could mean more trades. This year more than most, I think I’m more intrigued by what the Browns will do in the later rounds to add depth on both sides of the ball. But, in Cleveland, we know that Top-10, first round pick is what drives the most conversation and rightfully so.

  • JayKizzy

    Are we still pissed at the rams? Can we turn 6 into 16 & 22? We’d get vaccaro and a corner….

  • Kildawg

    In regards to DBs available on a trade down, Trufant is rising quickly. If he’s as good as his brother in Seattle, it’s a solid pick. Rumor now is that San Diego could trade up with us to leapfrog Arizona in regards to OTs (should be able to squeeze a 2nd out of SD plus another trade down from 11 is likely as well).

  • Robbie S

    If we traded with the Fin’s I would love to see the Browns take a shot on Vaccaro and draft the best available corner in the 2nd round. Our front 7 has a lot of new talent on it. If we add some young talented players to start in the secondary, I really can’t see a glaring hole on Defense.

    I love Milliner and the pass rushers as much as the next guy but, I would love to see the secondary being the focus Thursday night.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The drafting of Milliner would address the secondary in the most obvious position of need in CB.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’m thinking along the lines of Jacob as well in Jordan and Milliner. I’ll be shocked if both are available at #6 especially Jordan but with the draft you can never tell. My perfect scenario is neither Jordan nor Milliner being available at #6 which would cry, scream, shout, beg for trading down. Just as long as the Browns don’t trade down and select GNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Smith. I’d rather take Manuel but either would be later in round one depending on how far you traded down and what you received for #6.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    That would be nice if it happened.

  • TobaccoRoad

    My feeling is that the it’s time for the Browns to address the secondary. If Milliner isn’t there at 6, trade back and try to scoop up Trufant, Xavier Rhodes or Vaccaro in the early teens while accumulating another pick in the process. With as much as we’ve already invested in the front 7, drafting Jordan and keeping Sheard seems to be overkill. I think our needs in the secondary outweigh gaining additional depth in the LB corps.

  • Robbie S

    You can get a #2 corner a lot deeper in the draft than an impact safety. Walking away with Vaccaro, Logan Ryan(ish player), TJ Ward, and Joe Haden makes me feel a lot better.

  • JacobWFNY

    Definitely what I was trying to say above, in referencing Scott’s comments to The Score. It would seem odd to sign two $35+ million free agents AND use the team’s only top-60 pick all in one offsesaon on only front-7 defensive players. Seems a bit too narrow-focused when there are so many holes on this team.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I stay away from saying one guy is better then another largely because alot of these guys I haven’t seen play. Obviously the secondary needs to be addressed I’m just hoping for the best.

  • matt

    i feel that if trade down and milliners of board browns will pick either mingo or warmack, 2nd round would where we adress OLB,OG or CB in this case darius slay is a great steal and amerson is finally getting some praise this offseason,jamie collins is a good pick up and sio moores moving up a bit and could be a good pick up, OG Larry warefords worthy of a first and would fill a need at RG. and even the unexpected QB draft pick could happen with tyler wilson, ej. manual, tyler bray and possibly matt barkley still there.

  • Harv 21

    for those waiting on Jordan Cameron to emerge, I’d ask: as what? The last FO told us constantly about his freaky athleticism, but I did not see one “wow” play – at camp, preseason or regular season – that made me think his most optimistic upside is any more than a starting TE with nice size, decent speed and hands. Not a Gates or Fernandez-type matchup problem or even close. In his first two years he couldn’t displace a fading Ben Watson. That’s not the sign of an imminent break out by a physical freak. And I’m not even mentioning his blocking issues.

  • Harv 21

    Other than the year we had no picks until Beau Bell in round 4, can’t remember a draft generating less mania here. Don’t know about everybody else, but for me it’s partly because I’m half-expecting Lombardi/Banner to do something stupid awful their first draft. I had just gotten confidence that Heckert would not whiff on big picks. Even if he didn’t hit home runs, he was good for double up the alley.

    No such confidence now. Still think a new regime badly wants that second rounder back to make a bigger initial splash, and might be tempted to drop too far in a trade to do it.

  • Robbie S

    Fair enough. We agree on the secondary focus and that’s more than enough for me. Lets just hope we don’t a single nose tackle or defensive end taken high this year!

  • TLLGM

    We finally get people running the Browns who seem to have a clue, I hope they go to whatever lengths it takes to get Millner. The talk of trading down to me makes think that instead of getting the best for us we would rather see other teams win with what we could of and should have. No matter how you cut it we will never get enough “picks” to fill all of our needs. Its better to nail our needs down one at a time and KNOW we got good help for the positions we need with for the group we have. Cleveland knows all to well that if ifs and buts were candy and nuts it would be Christmas everyday.I’m going to even say for what its worth that if we don’t get Millner, or Jordan, this is just going to be another “rebuilding” empty year when it comes to the Browns college draft. We don’t need to have more choices, we need to make good choices.