Even after the Cleveland Browns signed starting caliber players at center, offensive guard, and wide receiver, the team has a great number of needs throughout the roster. Having a strategy of picking based on need marry one that also happens to select the best player available could well work for this barren 53-man set. The opening of free agency is in the rear view mirror as is the NFL combine with college pro days and private workouts taking over the final phase of the prospect evaluation period. Much can change between now and Day 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft (a big-time trade perhaps), but for now the Browns picking based on need does not seem the worst method.
- No trades unless the strategy is specifically geared around trades.
- Demonstrate multiple options at each pick within the confines of the strategy.
- Use a MSM Big Board to demonstrate feasibility of picks.
- Select picks at the Browns four picks in Round 1 and Round 2.
Using the Walter Football Big Board for this week.
The Draft Strategy
Certain positions are of more importance on the football field than others, so the need is greater to fill them. Quarterback, left tackle, pass rusher, and cornerback are often the three hardest positions to fill. The Browns have a HOFer at left tackle, so that is not a need, but the other two positions are critical to fill if the Browns ever want to be a consistent contender. Other positions of great need on the roster include free safety, right tackle, strong safety, and a three-technique defensive tackle. They won’t be able to fill all of their needs with their first four picks, but they can certainly get a good start on checking off those boxes.
No. 1 Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The best pass rusher available also happens to be the best prospect in the draft, and the Browns hold the first overall pick. A perfect happenstance for a draft focused on filling need.
Again, playing hurt, Garrett just pushes the tackle back into Dobbs to force the game-ending INT in overtime. pic.twitter.com/u51qQBoe9b
— Dan Labbe (@dan_labbe) March 16, 2017
No. 12 Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
WFNY has been touting Mahomes all offseason. He has the strongest arm, is the best athlete among the quarterbacks (though Mitchell Trubisky is right there with him), and he is known to be an incredibly hard worker with a very strong (i.e. wind-cutting) arm. Hue Jackson might prefer the pocket presence of Trubisky over the creativity of Mahomes. Either would be fine in this slot.
Very first snap of Mahomes for the review. Tries to go through progressions, bails at the right time, eyes up, accurate on the run. Oh. pic.twitter.com/sBzvsfcy6g
— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) March 16, 2017
No. 33 Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
The Browns picking based on need will still have quite a few corners to sort through here. Tre’Davious White isn’t physical enough, Cordrea Tankersley doesn’t have good enough technique, and Desmond King isn’t quite the athlete as the other corners. Wilson is a first-round talent that should still be here due to a loaded corner class.
Teez Tabor stole headlines in Florida, but Wilson was the steadier corner. He is big at 6-foot-1, 211 pounds. He is confident as he has no issues letting people know when he makes big plays. And, he is a physical, competitive freak who has great energy at all time. Wilson will help in the run game and make it horrific for receivers to get a clean release. His release and hips could use some work or he’ll get called for more penalties in the NFL (not uncommon needs), but he should be a solid starter.
— RecruitVidzApp (@recruitvidzapp) March 10, 2017
No. 52 Marcus Williams, FS, Utah
Free safety is an under-valued position in the NFL. A good one can break up multiple long plays a game or even make a game-changing interception, yet free safeties tend to drop in the draft. The Browns could take advantage if that trend continues because Williams has the characteristics of a top-flight free safety. He has great instincts and ability to read the play or the quarterback. He is also a former standout high-jumper who will not let receivers win the jump balls (sorry A.J. Green). He’s not the biggest of players, so he won’t be pulled near the line, but he is a willing tackler who uses great form. A complete steal in the mid-second round.
— Keith Mullins (@KeithDeuces) March 15, 2017
- No. 1 Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
- No. 12 Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
- No. 33 Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
- No. 52 Marcus Williams, FS, Utah
The Browns would still have a ton of needs after this draft, but there’s no two ways around that issue. A draft like the one above would make Gregg Williams smile and be a huge step towards respectability for the franchise.