NFL Draft Chatter: The Latest on the Browns

Browns helmet

The 2014 NFL Draft is a little under three weeks away and the pre-draft visits by the prospects are coming fast and furious. Teams are still trying to get their draft boards set and these pre-draft visits might be the final determination before their final board is set. On the other side, players are putting their final impressions on the teams that might select them.

– The Cleveland Browns have been extremely busy meeting and working out all the top prospects that they are considering. During the past week the team had workouts with many of the top quarterbacks. According to multiple reports, the Browns worked out Alabama QB AJ McCarron on Wednesday and this past weekend the Browns were down in Texas working out Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel.

– This coming week is a huge week for the Browns and the city of Berea as the team hosts many of the top prospects from the draft at the Browns Training Facility. The team will be centered on the quarterback position. According to multiple reports, Manziel, Central Florida QB Blake Bortles, Fresno State QB Derek Carr, Georgia QB Aaron Murray, and McCarron will all make their visits this week to Berea to meet with the team.

– This year’s draft is considered a very deep one with lots of talent in many positions—the wide receiver, secondary, and offensive line positions are loaded with talent from top to bottom. There will be great value in the later rounds because of the depth of these positions. Luckily for them, the Browns have their biggest needs in some of these rich positions. So do not fret that the Browns did not address one of their needs early in the draft, because they can still get quality players later on.

– Look for the Browns to address the quarterback position with one of their first three picks. Just by looking at their recent draft visits, it is very clear that the team is targeting a quarterback high. The hard part is to determine which one of the top quarterbacks they like the best. Early on in the draft process, Johnny Manziel was linked very strongly to the Browns, but this may have changed after the front office reshuffling. Now which quarterback will be playing in Cleveland next season is all a huge unknown. The quarterback position is the big wild card in the draft. Many believe that there could be one that falls in the draft like Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater; others say that someone might rise into the first round that is a complete surprise like Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage or Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The way the draft will ensue all depends on where the quarterbacks land and how early they may go.

– The Browns are in a very unique position in that they have multiple first-round picks and an early second-round pick. They can target players they are high on and have enough trade chips to go wherever they want to get the players they covet. The Browns have two first round, two third-round, and two fourth-round picks that give them the ability to maneuver around and get the prospects that are high on their board. The Browns have talked to numerous teams about moving up in the draft as well as trading back. I believe the Browns will use their multiple picks to move around in the early rounds to snag a player that might be falling and that is high on their draft board.

– Cleveland will be addressing a lot of their needs during the draft. I believe the team will look to fill the quarterback position first and foremost. This is the biggest need on the team and they will look very hard at all the top quarterbacks to hopefully find their franchise quarterback. The other positions that they will probably try to fill are cornerback, offensive guard, wide receiver, inside linebacker, and maybe a safety. Obviously, the team will probably not be able to fill all of these needs perfectly, but I believe they will draft at least one for each of these needy positions.

– Though not necessarily a position of need, the Browns continue to be linked to Buffalo’s insanely talented linebacker Khalil Mack. Mike Pettine is a big fan. Conveniently, Mack is also rumored to now be ranked ahead of South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney on some boards.

– The AFC North is up for grabs and the 2014 NFL Draft could be a deciding factor in getting one of the teams over the top. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in need of wide receiver, linebacker, and secondary help. They will look to try to get some help for Ben Roethlisberger after losing WR Emmanuel Sanders in free agency. The Baltimore Ravens will be looking for safety, offensive lineman, and defensive lineman help in the draft. They will need to bolster their defense to try to get back to their hard-nosed defense they had for so many years. The Cincinnati Bengals will be trying hard to improve the front seven of their defense. They must replace defensive lineman Michael Johnson, who left in free agency. This draft will be a big component in the way the division will pan out.

– My name is Joe Gilbert and this is my first article for WFNY. I am a Lakewood kid who is a die-hard Cleveland sports fan. Over the next couple of weeks, as WFNY continues to tackle all of the other items regarding the Browns, I will be covering the NFL Draft. Please continue to check out my articles if you’re a draft fanatic. I look forward to writing for you all.

Photo: Candice Vlcek/WFNY

  • Scott Hatterick

    Welcome Joey! Looking forward to reading more of your articles.

  • BenRM

    Welcome, Joe! :D

  • Natedawg86

    Say it ain’t so Joe

  • Dewight Mitchell

    good stuff

  • JHop

    A lot of mocks I’ve been seeing recently show the Browns taking Greg Robinson at #4 – passing up on Watkins. Can someone explain the reasoning behind the Browns would ever do this? I know Schwartz may not be the league’s #1 RT, but passing up on skill position players in the top 5 to shore up an already above average offensive line seems crazy to me.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t consider this OL above average but I think Robinson pending trades may be gone by #4 which is why you see Matthews name now more and more. Taking an OL in the top five certainly isn’t sexy but IMO it’s a very safe way to go which should pay dividends for years.

  • JHop

    Let’s assume you’re Ray Farmer sitting there at #4. Clowney, Robinson, and Watkins are gone. You would take Matthews over Mack or Evans?

  • technivore

    Over Evans, without a doubt. I guess it comes down to what they see on tape of Mack, but IMO Matthews is a much, much safer pick at a position of greater need. After busting on the high-upside OLB at the top of last year’s draft, I would think they’d lean towards Matthews.

  • MrCleaveland

    Welcome, Joe!

    A little unsolicited, avuncular, friendly advice:

    1. Ease up on the cliches.

    2. Be very stingy in using the word very.

    3. Don’t tell us what we already know.

    Looking forward to your coverage.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’ve always wanted the flashier skill players so you are tempting me with that question indeed. I’m hoping Clowney, Robinson and Manziel are all gone by #4 but that’s a long shot. I really like both Mack and Evans but there are a lot more WRs which could be had later so I’d pass on Evans. Mack is intriguing even though they did sign Dansby plenty of room for Mack but for me I’d rather bolster that OL seeing as how they now have Tate in the backfield. But it’s tough. Tough so much that I’d consider trading down a few spots possibly take Matthews and use the additional picks later.

  • Joe Gilbert

    Thank you for the advice. I will definitely be more intricate and get into specifics in my next articles. I just wanted to start out with more of overview of where we are now. Thanks for reading my articles!

  • Garry_Owen

    Yes, welcome. Glad you’re willing to tackle this draft mess. We appreciate you going where angels fear to tread.

    Can I just add the following, in the nature of “friendly writing advice” regarding cliches?: “Quarterback” works just as well as “quarterback position.” Just because Kiper, Jaworski, Gruden, et al., jump off that cliff doesn’t mean you should do so.

    And if you ever say “National Football League” where “NFL” is sufficient, you will be dead to us. We have stockpiles of horse heads, and we’re just waiting for an excuse to use them.

  • BenRM

    Amen on the “quarterback position” business. That stuff drives me nuts.

  • matt underwood

    welcome joe! happy to have you on board and looking forward to more articles – please just do not write any more lebron columns. we are good there.

  • MrCleaveland

    Ah yes, the horse-head warning. Joe, this is what passes for a warm Nerd Club welcome.

  • Garry_Owen

    Point of order: This was a “Quality Control” welcome. A “Nerd Club” welcome would almost certainly have included an allusion to LOTR, GoT, Star Wars (SW?), etc., rather than The Godfather.

    [It is really tough keeping up with all of my various association memberships. Still, it is important to maintain separation. Chinese Walls, and all – wait, can I say that?]

  • saggy

    he said “franchise quarterback.” heh heh

  • mrLansley

    You personally are a Cleveland sports team? What sport?

  • Garry_Owen

    Yeah, but he also said “Johnny Manziel.” I gave him points for employing the last name rather than “Football,” thereby negating the “franchise” faux pas. “JFF,” however, would have been acceptable. Preferred, even. I would have also accepted “Jonathan H. Pigskin, IV.”

    [I kinda feel bad for Joe. I don’t think he knew what he was getting into. Oh well. He’s in it now. Up to his chest, I think. It’s not like he can back out at this point. And he’d better not fight too much, as it will just make him sink faster.]

  • Joe Gilbert

    Thank you for that catch. LOL

  • MrCleaveland

    Notice how Craig and the boys dumped the pre-draft speculation beat on the new guy?

    It couldn’t be that they’re burned out after only three and a half months, could it?

  • BrownieBob

    Dividends ?…Really…….I think we would have been way ahead of the game if we had taken AP instead of Thomas in 07….or Willis or Lynch or a guy named Revis….oh and before you argue against it may I point out that we have not won over 5 games in the last 6 years…..You don’t win with just good or great O lineman…you win with playmakers……and all of the above would have been better choices I believe……so let it begin…..

  • Garry_Owen

    Here’s how I imagine the conversation went (over the telephone):

    Craig & boys: “Joe, how would you like to write a few articles for WFNY?”

    Joe: “I would love that! What would you like me to tackle?”

    Craig & boys: “Well, have you visited the site lately?”

    Joe: “Not much. I’ve checked in a little on the Cavs conversations, but now that the season is over, I’ve been spending a lot of time on ESPN.com.”

    Craig & boys: “So, you haven’t seen any stuff, like our posts or, say, reader comments, on the NFL draft?”

    Joe: “No, I’m sorry to say I haven’t. Just haven’t gotten around to it.”

    Craig & boys: “Oh hey, no sweat. We understand. So, yeah, why don’t you tackle WFNY’s NFL draft discussion from now until, say, a couple of weeks after the draft is over?”

    Joe: “Really? That would be great!”

    Craig & boys: “Super. We think you’ll have fun. How about an introductory article on April 21?”

    Joe: “Can do!”

    Craig & boys: “Whew, now we won’t have to deal with those a#$hole commenters.”

    Joe: “Wait. What was that last part?”

    Craig & boys: . . . [door slams, receiver swings back and forth, slamming into the wall with each swing]

    And yes, Craig & the boys still use a phone with a cord mounted on the wall.

  • RGB
  • MrCleaveland

    (continued later at the WFNY table at Morton’s)

    Craig: “Ha ha ha, I can’t wait until Joe passes along the next wild guess tweeted by Mayock or some other “insider” clown!”

    The Boys: “Yeah, ha ha ha, those insufferable dipwads will crucify him!”

  • Garry_Owen

    Morton’s? We are CLEARLY paying these guys too much.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    You guys rule. One of my favorite comment threads ever.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    My agent will remember this!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Whoa easy BrownieBob it’s funny you mention that draft because I am an Adrian Peterson fan and always thought he should have been the Browns pick. Of course I had no idea Peterson would become as great as he has but at the time I wanted a top RB. I’m a RB fool. Which is why with the addition of Tate not to mention WRs like Hawkins and Burleson AND the fact that this is a deep WR class which means they could still get one later, I looked at the OL.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You do realize Joe Gilbert is really mgbode right? Have you seen mgbode post here recently? No. Now this Joe Gilbert appears. mgbode is a draft junkie he’s already created like nine or ten mock drafts. Think about it man!

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    “Very unique” got me immediately. Actually this entire thread thus far reminds me of an old favorite

    http://youtu.be/bQGEBEYPf9g

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    That’s just silly, Sham. The truth is far more sinister. Joe GILBERT? Lesser-known of the Gilbert boys, here to begin a subtle process of takeover on behalf of his father. Just wait, his articles will be in comic sans soon enough.

  • Garry_Owen
  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Cavaliers – Browns, Browns – Cavaliers it is all the same isn’t it?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    About time Bert got some love!

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Sneaking in by way of a Browns article–PLOT TWIST

    But yes…sadly, it is all the same.

  • RGB

    I was thinking more along these lines…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnSAAVuEob8

  • RGB

    I was thinking more along these lines…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnSAAVuEob8

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Ah sneaky well I wonder if Joe will be assigned weekends since it seems like WFNY takes them off these days.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I admit mine was a reach but I had to get my twin brother MM in there somehow.

  • MrLansley

    I would have rooted for you if you were!

  • hutch058

    Nice start Joe!

  • mgbode

    Welcome to the madhouse Joe. Look forward into diving in on the draft with your articles.

  • mgbode

    is preparing for the draft not a Cleveland sport?

  • Toddyus

    Dansby is on the downward arc of his career. Bringing in a young guy to learn from him, while Dansby can still perform and ease the new guy into the role, is one possibility for Mack.

  • Toddyus

    Rotary phone?

  • Toddyus

    You mean, new and improved thread, right? New AND improved…

  • Garry_Owen

    Presumably.