Cleveland Browns: 5 Players the Browns Need to Target in the 2012 NFL Draft

Hayden GroveContributor IIIDecember 5, 2011

Cleveland Browns: 5 Players the Browns Need to Target in the 2012 NFL Draft

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    The Browns have done well in recent drafts.

    Loading up on picks and picking well in the later rounds, the Browns consistently do their homework and are getting the job done on draft day.

    Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, Joe Haden, Colt McCoy, Jabaal Sheard and Phil Taylor have all done good things for the Browns thus far, and were big picks on draft day. 

    Hopefully this year's draft will be no different for the Browns, and these guys should be near the top of their list. 

5. Trent Richardson

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    Probably the premier running back in college football, Trent Richardson would make a great back for the Browns. 

    Peyton Hillis has been MIA for the majority of the Browns season, and with consistent injuries and contract troubles, it is unclear if the Browns are willing to keep Hillis on board for the 2012 campaign.

    Montario Hardesty has done well in the brief playing time he's had, but he has done nothing to prove that he is more than an injury-prone back who spends more time in the training room than on the playing field.

    Chris Ogbonnaya is a good football player. He's a hard-working, humble and grateful guy who deserves all the success he gets in the NFL, but is clearly not the answer when you think of a starting running back. Don't get me wrong, the guy deserves a spot on the team, but the Browns need more in the backfield.

    With an offense that is in shambles, the Browns need a playmaker and Richardson could be their guy.

    The Browns have the ninth worst record in the league, and with three more probable losses well on their way, the Browns would be in a good position to draft Richardson. Most of the teams in front of them have huge needs at the quarterback position, and I believe it would be dumb for the Browns to go on the QB route after putting a lot into Colt McCoy. 

    Richardson would help the Browns immensely. 

4. Alshon Jeffery

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    Alshon Jeffery, the stud out of South Carolina, would be an amazing pick up for the Cleveland Browns organization. 

    The Browns clearly have trouble at receiver. 

    They lead the league in drops. Massaquoi is nonexistent. Jordan Norwood has been probably their best receiver. 

    Their tight ends have consistently led the team in yards and receptions. 

    The Browns need an outside threat. Someone who is going to scare opposing defenses into playing the pass. 

    Greg Little could be that guy, but, he also may not be that guy. 

    Jeffery would be much more of a sure thing than Little. 

    The Browns have enough picks to move up and grab Jeffery, but, the only reason he's not No. 1 on this list, is because I think they could be giving up a little too much to do so. 

    If the Browns could pull a miracle and snag both Jeffery and Richardson in the first round, I believe they could be looking at the playoffs in the 2012 season. 

3. Mike Adams

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    Call me crazy, but the Browns could move back in the draft and grab this guy. 

    The Browns have two first-round picks and two legitimate offensive linemen. 

    If the Browns can grab Richardson with their first pick, and no one is there when their second pick comes along, I could see them moving back, as they have done in previous years, and pick themselves a new starting right tackle. 

    At 6'6 320 lbs and one of the top tackles in the 2012 draft, Adams is a monster. Protecting Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller, Mike Adams could help solidify a weak Browns O-line.

    Imagine this: Thomas, Steinbach, Mack, Pinkston, Adams.

    Sure, Adams has played LT for the past four years, much like his Ohio State counterpart Alex Boone, but Adams could surely make the move over to right tackle for the Browns.

2. Melvin Ingram

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    In my opinion, the Browns do not need to look at the defense until the second round. Their are WAY too many offensive issues to address in the first round. 

    However, as we saw yesterday, the Browns still need a great deal of help in the defensive trenches. They rank first in pass defense in the NFL but are near the rock-bottom of the rush defense. Drafting guys like Jabaal Sheard and Phil Taylor has not seemed to be enough.

    The Browns need to find a good  defensive end who can help what is a horrific run defense.

    In the second or third round I think the Browns should be able to find a guy like Melvin Ingram out of South Carolina.  

    Ingram has a huge upside but has been limited with injuries this season. If he falls to the third round, the Browns could grab a huge steal and make a great value pick with Ingram.

1. Kirk Cousins

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    The Browns do not need a starting QB. 

    They need to stick with Colt McCoy. 

    However, they do need a backup plan if Colt continues to sputter. 

    This is one of the deepest quarterback drafts in recent history, and the Browns need to take advantage. 

    Forget the first, second, third or even fourth rounds, the Browns should pick up Cousins in rounds 5-7. 


    Colt needs someone to push him. 

    Cousins, I believe, is that guy. A four-year starter and captain as a sophomore for the Spartans, Cousins was a tremendous college QB. He has the potential to be a good NFL quarterback, however, he doesn't have all the tools necessary to be a early draft pick.

    Cousins would help Colt to progress as he would finally have someone to make him a little uneasy and make him work a little bit for his starting job. Seneca Wallace and Thaddeus Lewis are not doing that for Colt, and I believe Colt is progressing a little slower than he should, maybe for that reason.

    Cousins may not ever be a player for the Browns, but if he could help Colt to progress and turn into the quarterback the Browns need, he may just be the most valuable pick for the Browns in this draft.