New Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson has inherited a mess. It's up to him to start the rebuild with a strong 2016 draft class.
Biggest draft needs: quarterback, wide receiver, offensive guard
The Browns have many needs, but the most prevalent among them stand on the offensive side of the ball.
Holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, Cleveland will have its chance at any quarterback in the draft class. That almost certainly means that either California's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz will have the opportunity to reverse the Browns' awful quarterback luck over the past few years.
Wentz has become the overwhelming favorite, garnering almost 64 percent of recent mock draft selections. He looks to be a true boom-or-bust prospect, as his lack of competition at the college level is largely viewed as a major liability.
But don't count Goff out of the picture just yet. New Browns head coach Hue Jackson has gushed over his potential, per Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot:
The guy threw the ball tremendously [at Cal's pro day]. He can make all the throws. For a big guy, he's more athletic than people think. He has quick feet. He obviously has a quick release. What I've seen on videotape to go along with the workout is he has tremendous poise in the pocket. He's a young man that can keep his eyes downfield when people are bearing at him and, to me, that's an unbelievable asset. Because a lot of people can't do that.
Of course, the Browns are still in the mix to add a veteran quarterback. They have been linked to both Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III—especially the latter, according to Pro Football Talk.
But Kaepernick's trade price is too high at this point, and as Jackson told Cabot, signing Griffin III is simply a move to create competition between him and whomever the drafted quarterback is.
Where things get interesting for Cleveland is with its Round 2 selection—No. 32 overall. Assuming the team does go quarterback at No. 2, it'll have a tough decision to make at No. 32.
Wide receiver appears to be the prevalent target, and that makes sense. After Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss, no receiver is a lock to be selected in Round 1. This makes Ohio State's Michael Thomas, Baylor's Corey Coleman, TCU's Josh Doctson and Notre Dame's Will Fuller all viable options.
Combined with Josh Gordon's possible reinstatement to the league, wide receiver can quickly turn from a weakness to perhaps the team's greatest strength—even with the loss of Travis Benjamin.
The offensive line is another story. Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz are now gone, and there's a decent chance that Joe Thomas could leave shortly as well. Last year's Round 1 selection Cameron Erving is expected to make a big sophomore leap, but even if he does, offensive line is still a major area of need.
Unless Cleveland decides to trade back, it will most likely address the offensive line in the middle rounds, starting with its Round 3 pick. It could select a tackle to replace Schwartz (or back up Thomas) or draft a guard to play on the interior alongside Erving and Joel Bitonio.
Should it choose the latter, Cleveland could pick up a nice steal in Round 3. LSU's Vadal Alexander, Stanford's Joshua Garnett and Arizona State's Christian Westerman are all talented guards who could slide right into Cleveland's lap.
All in all, the Browns have quite a bit of work to do on both sides of the ball, and it's possible that they decide to focus on defense throughout the draft. But the offensive-minded Jackson will surely want to infuse young talent into his offense, and there's no better time to do that than through the draft.