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Oct 20, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Cleveland Browns helmet sits on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns: How they can draft immediate impact players

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Everyone has concocted their own theory of the Cleveland Browns perfect 2014 NFL draft day by now. But how many of those theories include some of their picks being traded away to move up on the draft board?

The Browns have made it very clear that they are looking for players who can make an immediate impact to the team. Some late round picks just may not fit into that strategy. I believe there are two ways of drafting as many immediate impact players as you can. One way would be to move up the draft board to lock in a key player at the cost of sacrificing some picks. The second way would be to draft positions that have a greater depth of talent later on in the draft.

With a total of 10 picks in a draft that’s arguably one of the most loaded drafts in recent memory, it’s hard to say it would be a good idea to trade away any of the picks to move up, especially when you consider how many holes the Browns have to fill. There’s a few things to contemplate. Like, would a 6th or 7th round player be able to make an immediate impact? Or are they really going to be that much better than what the Browns currently have on their roster?

The Browns have just about as many needs as any other team out there and some would say they could use every draft pick they can get their hands on.  But do they really have 10 major holes that can be upgraded via the draft? Last but not least, do you think by the time the Browns shave down their roster to a 53 man squad, there’s still going be 10 rookies on it? I guess there could be, but I doubt it.

If this draft class does indeed have a deeper pool of talented players than most drafts typically have had in the past, wouldn’t it make a few teams with aging rosters consider trading down to acquiring some additional young talent?

As of right now, it looks like the Browns will be aiming to grab a quarterback, cornerback, someone for their offensive line and possibly a safety in their first 4 picks. It’s possible they could still take Sammy Watkins if he’s there, but after acquiring Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson, that seems a little less likely. So what order do they fill those holes?

First off, I believe that no matter what quarterback the Browns end up drafting, he won’t be making an immediate impact as long as the plan is to presumably start Brian Hoyer. Therefore I think it would make the most sense to take the most valuable player available to make an immediate impact with the 1st pick. Whether it be Sammy Watkins, Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack or Greg Robinson, Browns fans are going to have a hard time complaining while their 1st pick is helping the team win instead of sitting on the bench, or worse, giving you flashbacks of Brandon Weeden or Brady Quinn.

Sure, someone like Johnny Manziel clearly has more talent than Weeden, but isn’t not knowing how these quarterbacks will adapt to the NFL and whether they will boom or bust something you can live without until your second pick of the first round?

This is where moving up the board could become an option. Between Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr, I have a hard time believing one of them won’t be available by the 26th pick. But if the Browns get nervous about missing out on their guy, I guess I could see them trading up a few spots to lock in their man.

They won’t need to budge from where they’re at for their 3rd pick if they grab a cornerback. They should have a great selection from guys like Jason Verrett, Bradley Roby and Kyle Fuller to help fill that hole.

Right after that they might try to move up the board in order to grab one of the better quality safeties like Ahmad Dixon or Deone Bucannon. Both will most likely be gone by the time the draft reaches the Browns 3rd round pick. So I could see a scenario where they would want to move up a few spots on the board.

So now they have 3 immediate impact players, their quarterback and around 4 picks left if they’ve theoretically traded away picks to move up the draft board. Most likely if they don’t get Watkins, (although I hope they do) they’ll probably end up with either Khalil Mack or Greg Robinson, which would be just fine with me. An improved offensive line is something the Browns need badly.

With the depth at wide receiver, the Browns can find a steal of one with a later pick in the draft. There will still be big body guys out there like Brandon Coleman, L’Damian Washington, Cody Hoffman or Martavis Bryant who could start opposite Josh Gordon on day one.

The Browns can now finish off their draft by adding depth to, as well as improving areas such as their offensive line, defensive line or even grab another running back to compete with Dion Lewis behind Ben Tate. They could even draft another quarterback like we’ve heard them discuss.

With the Browns being like a box of chocolates this year, there’s no telling what you’re gonna get. Not even expert analysts can seem to agree on what they think will happen on draft day. I’m not suggesting trading away picks is the best way to go. As a matter of fact I’d prefer if we took the player of greatest value each round. After all the Browns could use an upgrade at just about every position. I’m just saying don’t be surprised if it happens. After all, haven’t crazier things happened with the Cleveland Browns?

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Cleveland Browns

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