2010 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Team Needs
After an abysmal start to the 2010 season that involved a crazy "musical chairs" development at the quarterback position, the Cleveland Browns somehow managed to salvage the ending of their season, and kept Eric Mangini from getting fired.
Of course, "salvaging" a season when your final record is 5-11 isn't quite as inspiring when you actually make the playoffs.
Still, Eric Mangini appeared to finally have a solid hold on his team and guided an improving offense to a four-game winning streak to end the season.
The winning streak helped Mangini keep his gig for another year, but also forced the Browns to take a long, hard look in the mirror, and made themselves get serious about winning.
Bringing on Mike Holmgren to run the show displays that new-found commitment toward winning. While that's all great and fine, the Browns still have plenty of holes to fill , and a laundry list of questions to answer.
Read on for their biggest needs on offense and defense for next year, with the 2010 NFL Draft in sight.
Biggest Needs: QB, WR, OL Depth
One of Cleveland's biggest issues was not deciding way back in the offseason last year who their quarterback would be, and then when they picked Brady Quinn, they didn't stick with him long enough.
Regardless, after cutting Derek Anderson and trading Quinn to the Denver Broncos, the Browns have finally cleaned up the quarterback position, at least to the point that it's clear that they are heading in a different direction entirely at the position.
The trade for Seneca Wallace and signing of Jake Delhomme show that Cleveland wants a quarterback who can manage a game, but since Mike Holmgren hasn't been shy about wanting to add another passer, it's a safe bet the Browns aren't done yet.
With the seventh overall pick, there is still a chance that Cleveland could land a talent like Jimmy Clausen , though Holmgren has specifically said that he's not high on the Notre Dame product.
He could be lying, but if he's not, that means it's extremely unlikely that the Browns reach (like they did with Brady Quinn) and draft a different quarterback. That is, of course, unless for some magical reason Sam Bradford becomes available.
There is still the chance that Holmgren solidifies his quarterback chart with another trade, but at this point, the draft seems like the best route.
Outside of quarterback, wide receiver is hands down the biggest need on offense (and possibly overall) for Cleveland.
Brian Robiskie showed glimpses of ability at the end of the season, and Mohamed Massaquoi flashed brilliant play-making ability, but drops, bad route-running, and overall inconsistency and a lack of elite play-making ability at the position was painfully evident all season long.
The needs for a big target with good hands, as well as a dependable slot option, ties in with the possible need for a new tight end, as well. Cleveland stumbled upon an interesting player last year (Evan Moore), but they still may want to add a young guy for depth and to compete.
For receiver, Cleveland needs some playmakers, and they need guys they can trust. No matter who is throwing the passes, they need receivers who can actually catch the ball, and a guy or two who can break tackles, go up over corners, and score touchdowns.
Eric Decker could be a quiet gem that slips through the cracks and could be a perfect complement in Cleveland's offense to Massaquoi's deep-threat potential.
Decker is an excellent possession receiver with decent speed and great rout-running ability. He can go up for balls, fights well for positioning, and hauls in everything thrown his way. He may not have the elite speed or athleticism desired to be a big playmaker, but he's definitely a high-value guy that Holmgren should be considering.
Tulane's Jeremy Williams is another guy they could get in the middle rounds that could work wonders in the slot.
The Browns are also going to feel the urge to beef up their offensive line some more, which they especially need to address after adding an aging veteran quarterback.
They have already addressed their tackle position via free agency, but establishing their run game next year and keeping it consistent is key to any success, making any possible upgrades on the line a fairly high priority.
Cleveland could also still think about adding some depth at running back. They added Peyton Hillis in a trade , but there hasn't been much word on how they truly feel about Hillis, while they still aren't quite sure of what they have in second-year back James Davis.
Biggest Needs: CB, S, LB
While getting a new quarterback of the future and adding playmakers to a paltry offense is key to immediate and future success, upgrading their defense is quite likely the big target area for Cleveland to address throughout the draft.
Mike Holmgren knows he needs to add offensive help, but considering past years and his involvement in drafts, he can get quality offensive talent in the middle-to-late rounds.
Regardless of popular opinion, it still looks very likely that Cleveland will target either corner or safety with the seventh overall pick.
Some mocks are saying Joe Haden will fall dramatically after a sub-par NFL Combine (he won't), or that Cleveland will trade up for a quarterback (unlikely), but in the end, Haden is Holmgren's guy.
Haden helps the Browns lock up a solid secondary, as Eric Wright on the other side would give Cleveland two very solid corners, and would help solidify the depth behind them.
However, other mocks are offering the idea that Tennessee's Eric Berry could drop down a few selections, depending on how the first three picks play out. We're not buying that, but if Berry is magically available, you can bet Holmgren will be licking his chops at the seventh pick.
That's unlikely to happen, though, which could have Cleveland eyeing the next best safety in the second round, where (if they desired to) they could probably choose between Nate Allen and Chad Jones (among others).
After losing Brodney Pool to the New York Jets, Cleveland is still stuck with Abram Elam at one spot, and a hole at the other. Both positions could use an upgrade, so safety can be expected to be touched in some facet in the first two rounds.
Both inside and outside linebacker is another area the Browns will at least discuss, although the signing of Scott Fujita likely lessens the immediate needs of inside help.
Cleveland doesn't have horrible talent on the outside pass rush, but they could really use some fresh bodies that can get it done at a better rate. Using a fourth or fifth-round pick on a specialist wouldn't be a bad idea.
Cleveland may have finished 2010 on a strong note with four-straight victories, but even with a great mind like Mike Holmgren running the show, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Escaping the 2010 NFL Draft with a future franchise quarterback and one or two new offensive playmakers would put the offense in position of a complete turn around, and would help them maintain consistency in 2010.
However, their defense was pathetic last year as well, so landing Joe Haden with the seventh pick would be a heck of a start in an offseason where the Browns need flawless moves and impeccable decision making to make the strides necessary to get competitive again in the AFC North .
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