I doubt the Cleveland Browns bring on a veteran offensive guard, wide receiver or free safety like I suggested yesterday. If they don’t, those needs will be among the top for the 2013 draft.
By far the greatest offensive need on the team is a No. 1 WR. The passing game has struggled for the last two years because the young receivers on the team are not getting open, are not running accurate patterns and drop way too many good throws.
The West Coast offense requires a WR to be at a particular spot on the field on time to complete the pass. When the WR fails to be at the spot on time, the QB holds the ball, resulting in sacks and unnecessary hits.
Greg Little has been a bust so far. He struggles to catch the ball in part because he does not position his hands properly to receive and secure the ball. I cannot begin to understand why WR coach Mike Wilson is not working on that with Little.
Josh Gordon has been slow to pick up the offense and is just beginning to become a functional No. 3 or 4 guy. Although he shows talent, he is a long way from becoming a No. 1. He sat out last season at Utah and does not fight for the ball, despite his size.
While both Little and Gordon have the physical talent to become a legitimate No. 1 WR, they have shown no indications of developing into that level.
Mohamed Massaquoi, who seems to have the best connection with QB Brandon Weeden, is as fragile as fine china. He has been broken more than he has been healthy. He cannot help the team riding the stationary bike.
Travis Benjamin is fast but very short. HC Pat Shurmur refuses to use him properly. He is a slot receiver who should be used to run inside the hash patterns. He has run sideline and comeback patterns that have resulted several interceptions.
Jordan Norwood had good hands and runs the best routes of the group. But he is thin as tissue paper and has had trouble staying on the field.
WR Josh Cooper, who was recently added to the regular roster, has the confidence of Weeden. He could be a significant help to Weeded if he gets onto the field.
The effort to turn Josh Cribbs into a WR has failed miserably. He is a free agent at the end of the season, and I doubt he will be retained.
While neither of the young starting OGs have been All-Pro, LG Jason Pinkston has played better than his running mate, RG Shawn Lauvao. Lauvao has to be replaced. He is an adequate reserve but is not starting quality.
The team has no backup for either position with any experience. John Greco is the backup center and guard. Greco has started only four games in his career. He is not a quality backup, let alone a starter at any position on the O-line.
Starting C Alex Mack is solid, but Greco is not a suitable backup. The Browns need to find a solid backup C to develop behind Mack. The likelihood is that a backup C will be late in the draft or as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Reserve Running Back
While Chris Ogbonnaya has been a decent third-down back, he is not someone who can carry the load should Trent Richardson go down. Montario Hardesty has been hurt two years in a row and has not been productive when he has been healthy. Brandon Jackson, who was brought in to be the third-down back, has been a healthy scratch so far in the regular season.
The Browns will be looking for a bigger back to replace Jackson late in the draft or as an undrafted rookie free agent.
If the Browns have the No. 1 pick and are convinced that one QB is a sure franchise QB, they may pick him. But I don’t think the team will. I do not recommend the Browns draft another QB. I want to see more of Weeden before I make that suggestion.
That’s what I think. Tell us what you think.
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