Heading into the offseason, the Browns should be headstrong on improving their defense, shouldn't they? But what about the offense? To be honest, the Browns offense needs more.
In 2008, the Browns offense scored an average of 14.5 points a game, ranking 30th in the league. On the other hand, the Browns defense gave up an average of 21.9 points a game, ranking 17th. If you think about it, the Browns really do need more offensive help.
So far in this offseason, the Browns haven't made too big of a splash but have made some moves.
Their first move was trading Kellen Winslow, Jr. to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their 2009 second-round pick (50th overall) and their 2010 fifth-round pick. With Winslow gone, their offensive production should lower even more, making offense an even more pressing need.
The next move was signing Winslow's replacement in veteran tight end Robert Royal. Royal is no Winslow, but he is a consistent veteran who can block, something Winslow wasn't too good at.
The next move they made was signing defensive lineman C.J. Mosley, who has played the last three seasons with the New York Jets under new Browns head coach Eric Mangini. He doesn't look to be a starter, but he will add depth to the defensive line and maybe give Shaun Rogers a much needed breather from time to time.
From there, they resigned safety Mike Adams. With the departure of Sean Jones, depth at the safety position is a necessity. The Browns should still look for someone to start over Adams.
The Browns' most recent move is the signing of cornerback Hank Poteat. He, like Mosley, is a former Jet that played under Mangini for the past three seasons. Also like Mosley, Poteat doesn't look to be a starter, just a depth player who will give young Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald a brain to pick at.
So, where does this leave the Cleveland Browns? How much more do they need to do? Is a trade in their future? Who will they draft?
As of right now, the Browns have five draft choices. They have two in the second round and none in the third, fifth, or seventh round. With a small amount of picks, what can the Browns look to do in the draft?
With the Fifth Overall Pick in the Draft, the Cleveland Browns Select
DE/OLB Brian Orakpo. Cleveland would like to take Aaron Curry here, but recent transactions make that look improbable. Orakpo would be an instant starter as an outside linebacker replacing Willie McGinest. It is possible the Browns trade down, but as of right now it is as it stands.
With the 36th Overall Pick in the Draft, the Cleveland Browns Select
RB LeSean McCoy. Many people think the Browns should still be drafting defense, but who can they draft? They already have one linebacker, and drafting a young corner would just be flat out stupid. LeSean McCoy would be a great fit with the Browns. Jamal Lewis isn't the Jamal he used to be, and Harrison isn't a starter. McCoy would be a great pick here.
With the 50th Overall Pick in the Draft, the Cleveland Browns Select
OT Phil Loadholt. Once again, many people believe the Browns need defense. Loadholt would shore up the offensive line, and a good O-line would help McCoy so much as a rookie. A good running game would take so much pressure off Brady Quinn/Derek Anderson. Taking this pick would help the offense in so many ways.
With the 100th Overall Pick in the Draft, the Cleveland Browns Select
SS Emanuel Cook. With Sean Jones gone, the Browns need help at safety. Brodney Pool isn't anything special, and Mike Adams is no starter. Cook would add depth and some comfort to the Browns backfield.
With the 164th Overall Pick in the Draft, the Cleveland Browns Select
Really, it's anyone's pick. The Browns have so many needs and anything could be addressed here. A receiver or another linebacker would seem right.
For all Browns fans out there looking for the Browns to draft two linebackers early in the draft, don't! Drafting one is smart but the other linebacker position would need to be a veteran. Kameron Wimbley and D'Qwell Jackson are young and adding two young linebackers would be stupid. If you draft a linebacker who would start right off the bat, you're going to need a strong veteran presence to play in the other linebacker position.
You can forget about about an early round cornerback, too. Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald need leadership and experience, not somebody they have to teach. The newly-acquired Hank Poteat has experience but he isn't going to start. The Browns need to acquire somebody that will start over Wright and McDonald. Another young cornerback is out of the question.
Well what about a receiver? That actually is possible but don't expect it early in the draft. The Browns currently have Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth, Joe Jurevicius, Syndric Steptoe, and Josh Cribbs. Jurevicius' status isn't clear but he is on the team. With all these receivers, somebody is going to play opposite Edwards. Don't forget that Martin Rucker is a receiving tight end either. There are much more pressing needs than a receiver.
Obviously the Browns can't address everything in the draft. They have much more to do before and after. A linebacker and a corner is needed, along with a safety. The Browns could even go for a defensive lineman to replace Shaun Smith. Who can they sign?
A linebacker the Browns should consider is Marcus Washington. Last season for the Redskins, Washington had 44 tackles in 10 games. His zero sacks lowers his cost along with his injuries last season. The leadership and experience he would bring with him would come cheap.
A cornerback who would greatly benefit the Browns is Chris McAlister, another player who would come cheap. The only thing that keeps him unsigned is his knee injury. McAlister would be a nice addition despite everything against him. He has a Super Bowl ring and made the Pro Bowl three times. He would guide Wright and McDonald very well.
The Browns have the money to break the bank on two players. Their first-round pick and another player is what it's looking to be. Other players will have to come cheaper, players like Washington and McAlister.
I'm not saying the Browns will make these moves, just that these moves would be smart on their part. Look for the Browns to make moves similar to these in the future. The Browns' offseason still has a long way to go, but there could be a light at the end of the tunnel. Or at least Browns fans can hope there is.