Browns fans have sat through numerous drafts and have thought to themselves, “What were they thinking?” This year, there are many possibilities VP of Player Personnel Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner will have to consider for the team’s ninth top 10 overall pick since the 1999 draft. With so many needs at multiple positions, not everyone is going to be happy come April 25, but I will try to make each possible pick make more sense in its own right.
The Browns made it a point to run the ball effectively last season and even though new offensive coordinator Norv Turner will bring what could be a more passing-oriented offense, the need to run the ball will be there in order to open up the passing attack.
After averaging just 3.6 yards per carry with main back Trent Richardson last season, Cleveland needs to bulk up the offensive line. Offensive guard Chance Warmack would be a big-time addition to the weaker right side and would give the young tackle Mitchell Schwartz some help.
Most say taking an offensive guard in the first round is risky, but when you have a guy that’s ranked in most analysts’ top 5 in player rankings entering the draft, you take that risk.
Warmack put his muscle and speed on display during the BCS National Championship Game against the No. 1 ranked rushing defense and shined. The Crimson Tide had two rushers surpass the 100-yard mark and averaged 5.9 yards per carry, and the top-rated prospect had plenty to do with it.
However, if one game doesn’t provide the evidence of talent, than an entire season should. Warmack helped pave the way for two 1,000-yard plus rushers who averaged 6.3 and 6.5 yards per carry, respectively.
Individually, he led his team with 37 pancake blocks, managed a 99 percent grading in assignments met (721/728) and allowed just 3.5 sacks in 287 pass attempts. At 6-3, 320 pounds Warmack runs a 5.37 40-yard dash and is as strong as they come at his position. Along with his superior physicality he is also very disciplined mentally, as Warmack was penalized just twice throughout the entire season while the Browns’ starting line was flagged 31 times.
Not being able to close out games has been a recurring theme in Cleveland and a solid running game would improve that greatly. If the Browns want to begin to have success next season, being able to run the ball consistently will give them a greater chance to do so.