Cleveland Browns: 2013 NFL Draft Strategy Coming into Focus

Michael W. Youngman@@MWYoungmanContributor IIIMarch 29, 2013

Cleveland Browns: 2013 NFL Draft Strategy Coming into Focus

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    As free agency has begun to cool, and the Cleveland Browns have made their key acquisitions, the 2013 NFL draft strategy has really come into focus.

    With the additions of Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves, Kellen Davis and (among others) veteran quarterback Jason Campbell, the Browns seem poised to execute their draft strategy in less than a month.

    With these moves during the 2013 offseason, along with interest they have shown in some draft prospects, I believe it is possible to (at the very least) give a detailed strategy that the Browns intend to execute on draft day.

West Virginia Geno Smith

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    With the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, I believe that the Browns will take one of three options open to them depending on how the first five picks go.

    I believe the Browns' top choice is going to be West Virginia QB Geno Smith. Smith has all the tools necessary to be a successful signal-caller in the NFL if coached properly. I believe that, with what Rob Chudzinski was able to do with Cam Newton in Carolina, he may have a great deal of interest in getting the opportunity to work with Smith.

Alabama Dee Milliner

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    If by the sixth selection QB Geno Smith is gone, the Browns' second option will be Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.

    Milner is widely regarded as the best defensive back in this draft and is a clear top-10 selection. He is a little raw but has the physical tools to be the perfect Robin to Joe Haden’s Batman. With the departure of Sheldon Brown CB is a pressing need for Cleveland and I am not sure how much confidence the organization has in players like Skrine or Wade.

    However, I don’t believe that the team has given up on signing Atlanta Falcons free-agent Brent Grimes who, at this point, has yet to decide where to sign.

USC Matt Barkley

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    If both Geno Smith and Dee Milliner are off the board by the sixth pick, expect the Browns to trade down. All of the other key positions they may be looking to fill such as quarterback, safety, middle linebacker and offensive guards are going to be available later in the first round and throughout the remainder of the draft.

    One scenario that could play out is the Browns trade down with a team in order to grab USC QB Matt Barkley plus pick up a second-round draft pick. As you may recall, the Browns do not have a second-round pick this year because they spent theirs on supplemental pick Josh Gordon. Gordon was definitely worth that selection but if the Browns play their cards right, they could end up with an impressive haul in the 2013 draft.

Anything Goes

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    Beyond that, it will be difficult to project what the Browns have planned. Adding depth at some key positions will be critical. Adding another receiver would also be a plus. But I am reasonably certain that is the strategy that Lombardi, Banner and Company will execute on day one of the 2013 NFL draft.