Cleveland Browns: 5 Predictions for Draft Day
I originally intended this article to be my mock draft 3.0 since the bulk of meaningful free agency is over and the draft is now looming around the corner, but as I was preparing for the article, I started thinking about the draft and the similarities between this year and every other year.
Every year we get caught up in the moment, each of us with our strong opinions of what the Browns should in the draft, and forget how we all felt the same way last year and the year before and for the most part things didn't pan out the exact way we expected them to.
Sure there have been picks that were more obvious than other ones, but for the most part, none of the mock drafts posted anywhere are really even close to what actually happens on draft day. If you would get three picks right in a draft, I might ask you to guess the lottery numbers for me.
My point is that it's fun to opine about what players the Browns should target or what positions of need should be prioritized, but in the end we're all probably going to be in for a certain amount of surprise, so getting overly attached to our opinions is probably a poor investment of our energies.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to post another mock draft, probably two, but I can't claim to know with any certainty what specifically will transpire.
After thinking this, I started thinking about what I actually felt I could predict with any amount of confidence and made a list.
1. The Browns Will Make a Move That I Will Passionately Disagree with
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Every year since I can remember, the Browns have made a move in the draft that almost made my head explode, and I assume this year will be no different.
I chose a picture of Ryan Tannehill only because that is a move I would passionately disagree with, but that does not mean that I think that is what's going to happen. It could be any number of moves and most likely is a move I hadn't even considered because the thought was so absurd.
Last year that move was trading up to draft Phil Taylor. After executing an amazing trade with Atlanta giving us all these extra picks I couldn't figure out for the life of me what Tom Heckert was thinking.
I couldn't understand why we needed to trade up when it seemed like he would've still been there. I also didn't think defensive tackle was at the top of our needs.
The year before they selected T. J. Ward over Taylor Mays and then traded back up into the second round to draft Montario Hardesty, both players having a history of bad knee problems.
My hopes were crushed. I wanted to scream. It didn't really end up being so bad.
What I'm saying is that the Browns are going to make a move somewhere in this draft that will leave us all scratching our heads, and it might be different moves for different people. We're all going to disagree with something they do. Probably more than one thing
There's no real point in getting too upset about it.
There's also a chance that they'll make a move that you hate, and it will backfire, making you believe that you should be brought in to run the front office.
I've seen similar reactions to free agency with people getting pretty emotional about the Browns not signing this player or the other.
I've come to realize that there's a reason that I'm a bartender and not an NFL general manager, and it would do us all good to try to keep that in mind.
2. The Browns Are Gonna Do Some Horse Tradin'
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The Browns are currently blessed with an abundance of picks in this year's draft, 13 to be precise, thanks to compensatory picks.
Six of those 13 picks are on day three, so I would be very surprised if the Browns don't sling a few of those picks to try to move in a couple different places.
I won't even begin to pretend to have a clue where that's gonna happen or with whom they'll be trading, just that it's going to happen.
This is actually a good thing. This gives the front office a good bit of flexibility in being able to go after certain players that they may be targeting.
I also wouldn't be surprised if the Browns traded down at some point in this draft.
At this point, I don't think they'll trade down out of the No. 4 pick, but that and $500 will fill up your gas tank right now.
If I were going to guess, I'd say that the No. 22 pick might be an interesting spot to trade down from, but that's just speculation.
3. This Will Be a Successful Draft
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One thing I've noticed over the past couple years is that in spite of my frustration with a few of the moves they have made, we've still gotten a lot of really good football players.
Since Heckert and Holmgren took over the front office, these past two drafts have been very good.
Two years ago we drafted Joe Haden and T. J. Ward with our first two picks, and I hated both of those picks.
Last year the Browns had the second best pass defense in the league statistically. Coincidence?
Last year the Browns drafted five players who will start or see significant playing time this year. Two more drafts like that, and this team is gonna start going places.
The Browns are in good position to draft a lot of very good players this year, and I have a lot of confidence in their ability to evaluate talent and draft good solid football players.
With the extra late round picks as trade ammo, we're all set to watch this team improve a great deal from this draft.
Whether they do what I think they should do or not, I have full confidence that this will be a successful draft that will help build this team for the future.
4. Someone Is Going to Criticize the Browns' Draft Anyway
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Look, everyone's an expert, especially me.
Seriously, no matter what happens in this draft, someone will immediately post an article explaining how terrible it was.
I've watched it happen every year, I've even participated.
The truth is that none of us will actually know how good any draft is until they suit up in the fall.
I myself have decided that I'm going to do my best to reserve my judgments, both negative or positive, until they actually start playing football games.
I'm still going to express my opinions, but I'm going to do so with an open mind.
5. The Browns Will Select Richardson or Blackmon at No. 4
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I realize that making this prediction seems to violate the entire spirit of the rest of this article, but let's be real for a minute.
The Browns spent the last two drafts building the core of their defense. I think the Browns would've gladly taken Julio Jones with the seventh pick last year, but the trade offer was just too good to pass up.
However it happened, the Browns have neglected the offense in the first round of the draft in favor of building the defense.
The defense is now pretty solid with a good core of players. The offense however is woeful and completely devoid of anything resembling a true playmaker.
It would make zero sense for them to pass on the opportunity to add a dynamic playmaker to the offense.
Both Blackmon and Richardson are elite prospects at positions of great need for the Browns, and I just can't see a scenario where one of them isn't playing for us next year.
Which one? I haven't the foggiest idea.
I know which one I think they should take, but I think both players will make this offense better.
Everything that the Browns front office has put out there suggests that they're going to stay put and they're going to select an offensive player.
Bottom line: We'll either have a new factor back or a new No. 1 wide receiver next season,.