Browns: 4 Reach Picks Cleveland Absolutely Must Avoid in the 2013 Draft
In just a few short weeks, the Cleveland Browns will participate in the draft, either shrewdly adding to an increasingly deep roster or creating another headache and controversy for players and fans.
Cleveland has has its share of hits and misses when it comes to the draft, and the process has only become more volatile and unpredictable over the past few years. To add to the suspense, the class of 2013 is a fascinating case study, with plenty of well-rounded talent but no obvious future franchise players.
Plenty of questions remain: Will the Browns utilize their sixth pick or trade down for a second rounder? With the Brent Grimes situation spiraling in the media, will cornerback be the team's most glaring need come draft day?
Every answer, every decision is a domino that could completely change the tone of draft day. It's one of the most exciting times of the year, and it can also be the most stressful for fans.
Regardless, though, there are a few tasty tempting picks on the board this year that the Browns would be wise to avoid. Like the meatball sub I once bought from a guy sitting outside 7-11, some risks are simply not worth the potential upside.
Here are the top four players to avoid, in no particular order.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
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This is not the year for any quarterback, and Landry Jones is no exception.
He's a talented young player with considerable upside, but Jones is not the guy to fit into a blossoming Cleveland offense. Nevertheless, the Browns have reportedly been scouting him recently, causing one nameless writer to eat several boxes of Girl Scout cookies in a fit of anxiety.
First, Jones would undoubtedly occupy a crucial mid-round pick in a draft where every spot counts. At last count, the Browns already have approximately a baker's dozen quarterbacks on the roster, and there are bigger needs to fill than adding an unproven rookie to the mix.
Also, Jones' style of play leaves the door wide open for speculation as to how well he would fit into the Browns' hyped new attack offense. Sure, he went 30-11 on 66-percent completion, but Jones often appears uncomfortable in the pocket. The Browns have spent too much time and cash crafting a solid offensive line to deal with that. He gets rattled and has a long memory—not a great combination in the NFL.
So he's awkward in the pocket and not fast enough out of it. Jones is a mobile quarterback to be sure, but he also ran an awkward 5.11 40-yard dash at the combine, the slowest, albeit not by much, of his peers.
Don't do it, guys. I'm out of Thin Mints.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
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Possibly the most polarizing player in the draft, Jarvis Jones' inherent risks are not worth a vital first-round pick.
Sure, he's got upside. Jones had tremendous production last year, leading the nation (and setting some records) in sacks, forced fumbles and tackles for a loss. He's able to play outside or in, a considerable asset in a 3-4 scheme.
However, it could be argued that a lot of his success was due to the guys around him. His defensive line with the Bulldogs certainly created opportunities for him to be successful. This presents the question: Would he continue perform under less-than-ideal circumstances?
His combine numbers were underwhelming, and his health is an issue. During his college career, he suffered injuries to the neck and thumb. And with his diagnosis of spinal stenosis, concerns have arisen about his long-term viability in the NFL.
The Browns are rebuilding (and have been since the 90s); Jones is simply too big a risk right now.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
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Justin Hunter's a tempting dude. The Browns are still growing at receiver, and he's big, fast and has an impressive reach. However, if we wind up trading down for a second-round pick, this would not be the smartest use of it.
Hunter's route running took a noticeable hit after his ACL injury, and that's a downside the Browns absolutely cannot afford right now. And he simply hasn't been around long enough post-injury to give a complete assessment of his potential in the pros.
I watched Josh Gordon this year; I know the instinct to grab another young, talented receiver and then sit back and watch. Receiver is a sexy pick, but lots of sexy things can ultimately come back to haunt you. Trust me on this.
The Browns would be well-advised to stick with their current receivers and give Norv a chance to do a little coaching. If they are to acquire another guy, it should be a veteran who can assist in that process. Adding another rookie into the mix just feels a bit arbitrary.
It's not that Hunter's a bad player by any means; he's just not the Browns' safest pick in an early round.
Any FB Instead of a Kicker
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After the Owen Marecic debacle, there has been buzz about filling that FB position in the later rounds of the draft. Although the "FB vs. kicker in the sixth round" debate feels a bit less urgent than the others, it still deserves some discussion. I left my fantasy draft in Round 8 to watch "Man vs. Food"; I am aware of the perils of cutting out early.
Phil Dawson is gone *tear*, and there are some tasty kickers in the draft this year. FB, on the other hand, is a position that can easily be addressed later on. The Browns kick. They kick a lot. Dawson's production was as close to a given as it gets in the NFL, but we'd be wise to remember a wobbly kicker can make an enormous impact.
The position warrants attention and a late-round pick.