The 2012 Cleveland Browns Pre-Draft Dream Team: Offense

Brian StepanekCorrespondent IIMarch 8, 2012

The 2012 Cleveland Browns Pre-Draft Dream Team: Offense

0 of 12

    "What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise."- Oscar Wilde

    The following slideshow depicts my personal favorite candidates for the Browns starting lineup in 2012. In no way do I predict that every player will be on the Browns roster come August, but this is simply the ideal squad I believe would best simultaneously build for the future and accurately test Colt McCoy

    You can follow Brian on Twitter @StepanekButton 

Quarterback: Colt McCoy

1 of 12

    I've used this platform to lobby heavily on McCoy's behalf. He may not be the answer, but like I have contended all along, no one could prove themselves the "answer" under the conditions McCoy endured in his first two seasons as a Brown.

    If McCoy finds himself with too much time to throw, that problem is much more easily remedied than deficiency up front. Instant pressure on the Browns quarterback will truly vex the front office over the course of multiple seasons should they over-commit their resources to that quarterback.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    • +3,500 yards passing
    • +300 yards rushing
    • +20 TD passes
    • -13 interceptions
    • 8 QB wins 

     

    Alternatives

    Robert Griffin III, Matt Flynn, Ryan Tannehill, Seneca Wallace, Peyton Manning 

Running Back: Trent Richardson

2 of 12

    If you are unfamiliar with my work, I should inform you that I am a big fan of possessing the football, and running it in particular.

    Mr. Richardson could be the piece to the puzzle that keeps the Browns in contention with oh-so-precious 100-plus yard games in December and develop into an all-purpose powerhouse.

    Statistical Requirements

    • +1,000 rushing yards
    • +500 receiving yards
    • 10 TDs 

     

    Alternatives

    Chris Ogbonnaya, Brandon Jackson, Montario Hardesty, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Michael Bush

Running Back: Peyton Hillis

3 of 12

    Special Agent Hillis provides the Browns with precisely the services they need to compete in the AFC North. For those balking at Hillis' comically tumultuous 2011 season, watch this video and Peyton's capabilities.

    In tandem with Ogbonnaya, Hardesty or Trent Richardson, the prospect of Peyton Hillis getting 25 fresh touches a game excites this Browns 'backer. If Hillis' claim that he would amenably consider a hometown discount is sincere, ignoring that possibility could prove disastrous.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    • +1,000 yards rushing
    • +500 yards receiving
    • +10 TDs 

     

    Alternatives

    Chris Ogbonnaya, Brandon Jackson, Montario Hardesty, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Michael Bush

Wide Receiver: Greg Little

4 of 12

    Little's judgement came into question as a college sophomore, when he violated NCAA policy and cost himself his junior season. His parking tickets alone could possibly cover Chapel Hill's paving and maintenance expenses through the end of the fiscal year. His off-the charts, other-worldly talent combined with said red flags makes him the prototypical Butch Davis product.

    Little will be 23 this season, and if the Browns find someone to draw an ounce of attention from opposing safeties, look out.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    • 1,000 yards receiving
    • 8 TDs

     

    Alternatives

    Josh Cribbs, Mohammed Massaquoi, Jordan Norwood, Marques Colston, Brandon Lloyd, Mario Manningham, Vincent Jackson, Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffery, Michael Floyd.

Wide Receiver: Laurent Robinson

5 of 12

    Depending on whom the Browns select in the early rounds, this offseason demands an all-out pursuit of a young, talented possession receiver to compliment Little's downfield deftness. The Cowboys very likely won't be able to afford Robinson, given his consistent production regardless of Dez Bryant's or Miles Austin's participation status.

    If they don't draft at WR, the Browns should consider Robinson their top priority, and if they trade down, they could potentially afford to overpay. The anticipated size of Robinson's contract would inflate expectations—always a volatile prospect in Cleveland.

    In the event the Browns fail to land Robinson, failing to successfully draft or land one of the young talented WRs in the 2012 free-agent class would constitute an abject failure on the part of the Browns front office. After Stevie Johnson signed in Buffalo for $36 million, Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson's agents must have been lighting Cohibas with C-notes. Robinson comes at a cheaper price with less wear and a higher upside.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    •  1,000 recieving yards
    • 8 TDs

     

    Alternatives

    Josh Cribbs, Mohammed Massaquoi, Jordan Norwood, Marques Colston, Brandon Lloyd, Mario Manningham, Vincent Jackson, Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffery, Michael Floyd.

Tight End: Evan Moore/Ben Watson

6 of 12

    Coinciding with my earlier pleas that the Browns emulate their more successful division rivals and the consistently competitive Patriots and Giants, the Browns cannot have enough good tight ends on their roster. Ben Watson has been an outstanding addition and still has some good years left.

    If McCoy has time to check down to them and the Browns can establish a credible play-action threat, expect both tight ends' numbers to skyrocket.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    • 700 yards receiving
    • 5 TDs

    (Each) 

Right Tackle: Mike Adams

7 of 12

    Ideally, the Ohio State product would drop to the second round, where the Browns could snatch him up and lock down both edges of the box. Joe Thomas demonstrated tremendous leadership in extending his commitment to the Browns through 2018. Adams would learn from the best tackle in the NFL for a minimum of six seasons.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    • 16 games started
    • - 7 sacks allowed 

     

    Alternatives

    Tony Pashos, Jared Gaither, Bobby Massie, Zebrie Sanders, Mitchell Schwartz.  

Right Guard: Carl Nicks

8 of 12

    Two-time Pro Bowler Carl NIcks, more than any player available in the draft or free agency, has the potential to reverse the Browns' fortunes. Whether in tandem with the established Joe Thomas or chipping with a rookie at right tackle, Nicks could single-handedly advance the Browns' rushing game to a relevant level.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    •  16 games started
    • -5 sacks allowed

     

    Alternatives

    Jason Pinkston, David DeCastro, John Greco, Evan Mathis, Ben Grubbs, Cordy Glenn 

Center: Alex Mack

9 of 12

    One of the few positions where no rebuilding is required, Mack demonstrated his toughness last season when he played through appendicitis. I couldn't watch the Browns with appendicitis, let alone play for them.

     

    Statistical Requirements

    • 16 games started
    • -6 sacks allowed

Left Guard: Cordy Glenn

10 of 12

    This columnist hopes against hope Glenn drops to the Browns at No. 22 and Mike Adams remains available in the early second round. The two youngsters could fill in around the experienced Mack, Thomas and hopefully a quality free-agent guard or tackle.

    Statistical Requirements

    • 16 games started
    • -7 sacks allowed

Left Tackle: Joe Thomas

11 of 12

    I feel like this one needs little discussion. Thomas' value depletes when defenses smell weakness elsewhere on the line, and intuit that they don't need to bother trying to blitz through the perennial Pro Bowler.

    Statistical Requirements

    • 16 starts
    • -5 sacks allowed 

If the Browns Meet These Expectations:

12 of 12

    You'll note the wonky-sounding "statistical requirements" category listed under each potential starter. Let's crunch the numbers so we can irresponsibly project the Browns' record in 2012 should things turn out like they never do: for the best.

    If everyone hits their rushing numbers:

    McCoy: 300 yards
    Hillis: 1,000 yards
    Trent Richardson: 1,000 yards                   

    2,300 yds = Between ninth and second in the NFL

    If everyone hits their receiving numbers/Colt McCoy hits his passing numbers:

    Evan Moore / Ben Watson: 700 yards each

    Greg Little: 1,000 yards 

    Joshua Cribbs: (non-starter) 300 yards 

    Laurent Robinson: 1,000 yards                                    

    3,700 yards = Between 18th and 10th in the NFL

    If the offensive line stays healthy and consistent:

    minus-30 sacks allowed = between fifth and ninth in the NFL

    Fulfilling these admittedly high expectations would fail to guarantee the Browns a division crown in the tough luck AFC North, but it would undoubtedly launch them into contention. The sooner the Browns establish a credible play-action and relieve Greg Little of the entire secondary's attention, the more success the Browns will enjoy on both sides of the ball in 2012.