The Cleveland Browns new head coach Pat Shurmur sure has his work cut out for him. He has to implement a new coaching staff with new systems with a roster that's new to him.
Offensively, he has to take a roster that's used to a slow-paced ground and pound attack and get them ready to run a faster paced west coast offense.
Defensively, he has to revamp a roster that was finally starting to shape up to a 3-4 base, and will presumably be switching to a 4-3 attack.
Meanwhile, the lack of a CBA further complicates matters by not allowing free agency to begin until the union and the owners can come to terms on an agreement. That also means no trades.
So that means the first roster decisions and changes that Coach Shurmur will be involved with will probably be in the draft, which makes it vitally important.
There are several directions the team could go and all of them have their merit. So with that in mind, I've listed 5 possible choices for each round the Browns will be drafting. They won't have a seventh round pick, so I only listed for the first six rounds.
- A.J. Green Wide Receiver Georgia 6'4" 207lbs.
- Robert Quinn Defensive End North Carolina 6'4" 267lbs.
- Prince Amukamara Cornerback Nebraska 6'1" 202lbs.
- Julio Jones Wide Receiver Alabama 6'4" 211lbs.
- Aldon Smith Defensive End Missouri 6'4" 262lbs.
There are four schools of thought regarding the first round among Browns fans. The first is to draft a wide receiver, the second is to draft a defensive end, the third is to draft a cornerback, and the last is to trade back for additional picks.
A.J Green is the prototypical number one wide receiver. If he isn't already taken, I believe he'll be the pick here considering the Browns drastic need at the position.
If Green is gone, Robert Quinn would be a solid option for the Browns considering their need at defensive end, especially if they're switching to a 4-3 defense.
There are those that believe the Browns should draft a cornerback in the first round for the second year in a row. I love the idea, but I don't think the Browns have that luxury. I don't think Patrick Peterson will still be available at the number six, but it would be really hard to pass him up if he were still there. I don't see the Browns going in this direction.
There are several teams in the middle of the first round who would really like a shot at Peterson or Amukamara, starting with the Cowboys at number nine. This could be a great opportunity to trade down and acquire more picks.
If the Browns would trade down, Julio Jones has similar upside to A.J. Green and would be an excellent pick.
The Browns could also draft Aldon Smith in this scenario. Smith is very similar to Robert Quinn. Both are freak athletes who can get after the quarterback from the edge.
- Allen Bailey Defensive End Miami 6'3" 287lbs.
- Jonathon Baldwin Wide Receiver Pittsburg 6'4" 224lbs.
- Jimmy Smith Cornerback Colorado 6'2" 203lbs.
- Benjamin Ijalana Tackle Villanova 6'3" 317lbs.
- Marvin Austin Defensive Tackle North Carolina 6'2" 303lbs.
Obviously, the first round choice is going to affect the direction of this choice. If they go wide receiver in the first round, they'll probably go defensive end in the second.
There's a chance Cameron Heyward might still be available, but it isn't likely. It will probably either be him or Bailey still available.
If they go defense in the first round, Jonathon Baldwin would be a good choice here. He has great size and big play ability.
For those clamoring for another cornerback in this draft, Jimmy Smith would be an interesting option in the second round. He's big, fast, and underrated.
The Browns also need to address the right tackle position somewhere in this draft. Benjamin Ijalana could still be available at this point, and he was completely dominant in FCS play.
I only mention Austin because he could be an excellent value in the second round. He's a first round caliber talent. Imagine a defensive line with Shaun Rogers and Marvin Austin. Remember, Rogers isn't gonna be around forever either.
- Derek Sherrod Tackle Mississippi State 6'5" 303lbs.
- Pernell McPhee Defensive End Mississippi State 6'2" 275lbs.
- Rashad Carmichael Cornerback Virginia Tech 5'10" 182lbs.
- Mark Herzlich Outside Linebacker Boston College 6'4" 247lbs.
- Tandon Doss Wide Receiver Indiana 6'2" 202lbs.
This is the most likely place to draft a right tackle. I've seen mixed reviews of Derek Sherrod. Some have him going in the first round, others in the third or even fourth round. If he isn't there, Demarcus Love could be the pick.
If he's still here, Pernell McPhee would be excellent to add at defensive end. He has the ideal size for a 4-3 end, and he plays with a constant motor.
Rashad Carmichael is a high character guy with blazing speed. He's a little smallish, but very, very fast. He has solid cover skills and could be an asset on special teams.
The Browns have serviceable linebackers, but no real studs on that level. Herzlich could be a stud as an OLB. He has an impressive story as well.
If the Browns fail to score a wideout in the first two rounds, Tandon Doss could be an option. He has decent height and big play ability.
- DeAndre McDaniel Safety Clemson 6'0" 216lbs.
- Marcus Gilchrist Cornerback 5'10" 193lbs.
- Matt Reynolds Tackle Brigham Young 6'6" 323lbs.
- Greg Salas Wide Receiver Hawaii 6'1" 207lbs.
- Dion Lewis Running Back Pittsburg 5'7" 195lbs.
I've written about McDaniel several times now. There's a reason for it. He spent most of the offseason on Mel Kiper's big board. He's a playmaker who can bring the hammer. His draft stock has slipped, which would make him an excellent value at this point in the draft. Having he and T.J. Ward at safeties would be fearsome.
Gilchrist would be a nice pick for depth at corner. He'd be rated higher, but he lacks great ball skills. He does have good coverage skills and had 107 tackles this season, so you know he doesn't mind run support.
Matt Reynolds is a really big dude that could fit the bill of right tackle if they don't get one before now.
Salas was a highly productive receiver in Hawaii. He has good speed and good hands. He did come from a program that produces inflated statistics for quarterbacks and wide receivers though
The Browns could use a complementary back, even if Montario Hardesty comes back and does well. The Browns don't have a change of pace back. Lewis is sort of in that Maurice Jones-Drew mold of short, stocky, and speedy running backs.
- Casey Matthews Linebacker Oregon 6'1" 241lbs.
- Bilal Powell Running Back Louisville 6'1" 216lbs.
- Leonard Hankerson Wide Receiver Miami 6'2" 213lbs.
- Terrence Tolliver Wide Receiver LSU 6'3" 208lbs.
- Eric Hagg Safety Nebraska 6'1" 208lbs.
You get the sense that if the Browns don't draft Casey Matthews, there may be a riot in downtown Cleveland. I've seen several people call for them to draft him in the second round. Thank god they aren't the general manager because Casey is not his brother, but he's not a bad player at all. The second round would be one of the biggest reaches in draft history, but it would be good to see this guy in orange and brown.
Powell would be a good change of pace back for Hillis, but his style is somewhat reminiscent of Montario Hardesty. The problem is, we won't know about Hardesty until preseason.
If the Browns fail to get a number one caliber receiver in the first two rounds, they could take a chance on Hankerson or Tolliver. Both have the size and natural talent that they could develop into number one caliber wideouts.
Hagg would be a good depth pick. He's a solid defender with a team first attitude. He could contribute immediately on special teams.
- Cecil Shorts Wide Receiver Mount Union 5'11" 193lbs.
- Orie Lemon Linebacker Oklahoma State 6'0" 238lbs.
- Dane Sanzenbacher Wide Receiver Ohio State 5'11" 188lbs.
- Mario Harvey Linebacker Marshall 5'11" 244lbs.
- Vailala Taua Running Back Nevada 5'9" 211lbs.
When you get into the late rounds, it's always a good idea to draft speed. The Browns are lacking team speed overall, and especially among it's playmakers on offense. Cecil Shorts will be the fastest man in the draft. He's also a hometown boy. He can provide something the Browns have been missing: The ability to take it to the house on any play.
Orie Lemon is a solid Big 12 linebacker. He's a consistent and sure tackler. He's had solid production throughout his career. Might remind some of D'Qwell Jackson.
We all probably know Dane Sanzenbacher. His production this season was phenomenal. He plays all out, all the time and just seems to find a way to make plays. He could be a Brian Brennan type of receiver, or even another Wes Welker.
I watched two Marshall games this season, and it seemed like Mario Harvey was the only guy on their defense. He made plays and with toughness. He'd be worth spending a late round pick on.
If the Browns are still without another running back at this point, Vai Taua would be a good option. His production has been excellent and he has the ability to be a third down back.