It hasn't been a fantastic offseason for Cleveland fans—unless, of course, the trade of Kellen Winslow and release of several other veterans translates into wins and, more importantly, the playoffs.
The Browns have only five draft picks as of today, and they seem to be in the market for more. If they end up trading Braylon Edwards to the Giants (which seems more realistic every day) and Brady Quinn to the 49ers (which is still only a rumor), it will be an epic decision for the new front office.
At this point, it all comes down to what makes sense for a team in the rebuilding process.
The Browns' needs are many.
1. QB: Having two starting quarterbacks may help their trade value, but it doesn't help team chemistry. Most people agree that Quinn is the face of the franchise, and if he gets traded there will be quite a few angry fans. This decision will shape the Browns' 2009 season and beyond.
2. WR: This would have been OLB only a few weeks ago. Now that Donte' Stallworth is facing jail time and Edwards is on the trading block, the Browns must draft for WR early in the process. Michael Crabtree has become the new favorite candidate in many mock drafts.
3. OLB: With Willie McGinest retired and Kamerion Wimbley putting up weak numbers, it is clear that the Browns need help here. The popular pick on everyone's board is Aaron Curry, who, unless four teams fall asleep at the wheel, will be gone by the time the Browns are on the clock. Look for some depth to be gained here if Clay Matthews Jr. is still available in the early second round.
4. MLB: Andra Davis is gone, but the Browns still have D'Qwell Jackson (the 2008 tackles leader). If the Browns hope to build a solid 3-4 linebacking group, they will need to look for another ILB to help Jackson. If either Rey Maualuga or James Laurinaitis drops into the second round, the Browns will make a move to pick him up.
5. DB: Take your pick. Eric Wright showed some signs of growth at CB last year (the Giants game in particular). However, Brandon McDonald on the other side doesn't provide much help in the scheme of pass defense. After losing Sean Jones to the Eagles, the Browns are now lacking a hard-hitting safety as well.
Look for Patrick Chung in later rounds and possibly Malcolm Jenkins if the Browns squeeze out another first round pick via trade.
6. DE: Shaun Rogers can't do it by himself at DT. Corey Williams was a complete disappointment in 2008. Many people blame his season-long shoulder injury. The problem with that logic is that if he were able to play in games, the shoulder shouldn't make a difference. If he was hurt and not helping the team, he should not have been playing, simple as that.
Look for the Browns to pick up a DE such as Brian Orakpo (overrated) to play either DE or OLB. My vote goes to Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech). He is a specimen and in my opinion the next Jevon Kearse (think early, pre-injury Kearse).
The Draft is only nine days away, and the Browns may end up with three first round picks or four second round picks. This could be the biggest draft success or blunder in the history of the NFL. Keep your attention on Cleveland.
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