First of all, this is supposed to be at least somewhat realistic, so take that draft day trade with the Colts out of your minds. That isn’t even remotely possible, so I’m not going to entertain it. By the way, neither is Robert Griffin III dropping to the Browns.
With that, I think it is important to look at how big this draft is going to be in a non-abstract kind of way. So many people (especially this guy) have a tough time envisioning just how powerful it will be for the Browns to add at least three starters over the course of draft weekend. So let me paint a few scenarios using The OBR’s stupendous Mock Draft Muncher, which summarizes a great number of mock drafts into a consensus. The picks will never land exactly like these scenarios, but it is still as good a way as any to illustrate a point today.
Before I get to the dream scenario, let’s look at some of the base cases.
This is the case that the Muncher lays out right now. It would have the Browns adding RB Trent Richardson, WR Kendall Wright and QB Brandon Weeden in the first three picks. I don’t love the idea of drafting Brandon Weeden, but the rest seems nice. Some consider Richardson a reach, but he’s the best running back in the draft and he will be touching the ball 20 times per game, presumably. I could buy into that for a team that struggled so much running the ball last season. Right there you’ve added a starting running back, a wide receiver who will play lots and a mature quarterback that will at least push Colt McCoy in training camp.
Next, let’s do the alternate base case. This is just slightly different than the Muncher based on second-place choices. The Browns would get Trent Richardson, QB Ryan Tannehill, and WR Mohamed Sanu from Rutgers. Again, it is instructive to see all those names together to see what it would actually do to the training camp roster in terms of filling it out with prospective starters. I am not sold on the Tannehill pick just yet, but the Browns would be adding to that “pile” as Holmgren likes to say. Additionally, they would still be adding the best running back and a top ten wide receiver.
Now for my dream scenario. This one puts a smile on my face. The Vikings take Morris Claiborne 3rd which drops Kalil to the Browns at #4. The Browns trade that to the Rams so they can take Kalil. The Browns pick 6th and get the 39th pick in the second round that St. Louis got from Washington. So, the Browns trade down just a little bit to #6. Tampa Bay takes Justin Blackmon. The Browns still get Trent Richardson. They get WR Kendall Wright at #22. They get DE Andre Branch at #37. They then get OLB Zach Brown from UNC at #39.
If you want, an alternate to this could be #6 Justin Blackmon (assuming Tampa takes Richardson) and RB Lamar Miller from Miami at #22. Either way, the Browns have gone out and gotten a top prospect at running back who will carry the ball somewhere in the ballpark of 20 times per game in all likelihood. They will also be adding legit prospects to add to starters depth chart at wide receiver and potentially at linebacker and defensive end.
It may seem all very obvious, but for me it is important to sometimes put some names out there just to get a feel for what it will actually be like. While free agency is slipping by and the Browns are inactive, it starts to make sense as they’re going to be looking to add at least two and probably three or more starters to their roster on draft day. With the unpredictability of the draft though it sometimes makes free agency a bit more difficult. This is especially true for a team that isn’t planning on contending for the playoffs in the upcoming season.
That’s the other thing to keep in mind. The Browns are not trying to leap into Super Bowl contention this year, obviously. Additionally, all these picks are going to take cap space to sign and additional cap space to keep when they mature and hopefully become worthy of long-term second contracts.
Anyway, swap the names out as you will, but remember. The Browns are about to add at least three starters to the roster.