The Cleveland Browns have needs on both sides of the ball. Some solutions to these needs may already be on the team, they just have to be developed a little more. Some may not. Through free agency and the draft, Cleveland must fill those needs.
With Mike Holmgren stating his plans for building an offense, will Cleveland be drafting mostly on that side of the ball? Corner back Joe Haden from Florida and safety Eric Berry from Tennessee (if he’s still there), seem to be the consensus number one pick on most Browns mock draft lists. Can anyone safely predict Holmgren won’t get offensive with his first pick?
“Quarterback is the most important position on the team.” Both Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert have made this statement several times since joining the Browns. A strong offense, especially a strong passing game, is the most important part of a winning football team. That is the message being sent by those now in charge in Cleveland.
Oh what a difference a year makes. With Mangini in charge, quarterback was an after thought. Someone who manages the game, who can easily be replaced. I’m sure if he was still in control, Mangini would take either Berry or Haden or trade down. Rolando Mcclain, LB, from Alabama, would be a player we might target after swapping picks with the Jets. Of course he wouldn’t be there so we might trade down again, and target safety Earl Thomas from Texas. With a total of fourteen picks acquired from all those moves we’d settle for the best player available at the top of the second round. Get the picture. Quality is more important than quantity in most cases. Definitely in the case of quarterbacks.
Getting back to Holmgren and Heckert. It is my feeling they will want to find their guy at QB. After all, he is the most important piece to a championship team. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cleveland takes either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen with their first pick. If neither player is there when the Browns pick seventh, they could look to trade down in the first and select Dez Bryant, WR from Oklahoma State. Maybe selecting Colt McCoy or Tony Pike in the second round might be in their plans if they can’t get their QB in the first round.
One thing to think about, Heckert said he liked Tim Tebow. Maybe he’s just blowing smoke, maybe not. I hope he’s not serious, but a finding a QB is definitely on their minds.
The next three months should tell us more of Cleveland’s plans for the draft. Offensive lineman, outside of maybe a right tackle, is not a major need. With Holmgren’s love of the passing game, I doubt running back will be a very high pick if at all. They do still have Jerome Harrison, James Davis and Chris Jennings. That leaves WR, TE and QB. With a few defensive players sprinkled in, look for the Browns to lean to the offense this off season.