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


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

  • Jarod Cook

    Nicely put together article. I like your idea of trading a 3rd+4th round pick to get back into the 2nd round, and grabbing a impact player. The chances of hitting on a good player in the 3rd or 4th, are about as half as likely as getting one in the 2nd. I also agree with about not taking a QB a #4, and instead grabbing a player who they can start immediately.
    This is my draft board right now.
    #4- OT Robinson or Matthews
    #26- LB Mosely or Shazier
    #35- Best available CB
    Trade 3rd+4th to get a Mid/Late 2nd- Grab a big physical WR Like Robinson or Matthews.
    #71- QB my preference is Mettnberger or McCarron
    #106- FS Ed Reynolds or Dion Bailey
    #145- Best available RB
    #180- QB Brett Smith or Logan Thomas
    #218- Best available player
    They come away from the draft with 4 players who can start immediately at RT, ILB, CB2, and WR2. I also think FS Reynolds or Bailey would be an improvement over Gipson or Badmosie, so count them as a 5th starter. They also get 2 project QB’s to groom into possible starters, and depth at RB.

    • Josh Hart

      There is a slim to none chance Robinson or Matthews will be around in the late 2nd round. Both could be gone before the beginning of the 2nd honestly.

      • Jarod Cook

        Robinson is a projected as a late 1st to early 2nd pick. And Matthews is a Mid 2nd to early 3rd projection. I’ve seen plenty of drafts that have Robinson falling out of the 1st round, and haven’t seen Matthews drafted no higher then Mid 2nd. And depending on how far Cleveland is willing to trade up, they can have a chance at one if not both of them. Those two are just my favorites, but there is still a lot of quality WR’s projected in the Mid 2nd. There’s Davante Adams, Donte Moncrief, and Martavis Bryant all who would be able to step in and contribute immediately.

        • paulbip

          Are you talking about Greg Robinson? He is projected as the 2nd best player in the draft.

          • Jarod Cook

            No I’m talking about WR Allen Robinson and Jordan Matthews.

    • Letterman007

      I don’t believe the Browns are going to wait until pick 71 to get a quarterback and it certainly won’t be Metenburger or McCarron!! They will draft one of the big four or possibly Garropolo by pick 35 !! Logan Thomas is at best a 6th rounder, he was terrible last year and more or less proved not to be that good of a prospect!! He absolutely looked lost at times and has a problem throwing with much accuracy!!

      • Jarod Cook

        I know the Browns are not going to wait that long to draft a QB, it’s just wishful thinking on my part. At this point I’m just hoping they don’t use their first pick on a QB, and show a little patience. As for the late pick of a QB just thought of two names of my head who I thought would be there. I like Smith but don’t see him falling that far in the draft. Same could be said about Conner Shaw. As for Thomas he’s got good leadership skills, and has the physic of a prototypical NFL QB. He was recruited to be a TE/WR and reluctantly became a QB at VT. Does need to work on his footwork and accuracy, but he wasn’t helped much by the talent that surrounded him. So if he doesn’t work out a QB they could still try him out at other positions. Also if Kenny Guiton doesn’t get drafted,(don’t think he will) I’d like to see the Browns offer him an invitation to training camp.

        • Letterman007

          There are a few teams that have a starting QB, but are looking for a back up or one who could sit and wait and be slowly integrated into the system to be a #1 at a later date. Therefore you may be right about Smith and Shaw being gone by the 6th round! My brother-in-law brought the Guiton thing up the other night and the more I thought about it, the better I liked it!!
          Believe me, the Browns will take a QB by #35 or before!! The fan’s will be up in arms if they don’t as it is the BIGGEST need they have! I like Hoyer, but if he goes down again, I’m not looking forward to Grossman coming in!!

  • Craig Barker

    I wouldnt mind trading down with a team like detroit then drafting a guy like taylor lewon or mike evans if he is there and get their 2nd round pick. With our second first round pick i would take from the group Gilbert, Fuller, Mosely, Hageman, I would also like a top guard and one of those top 4 tight ends. Mettenburger would also be a nice addition.

    • Jarod Cook

      I’d be wary of Taylor Lewon. Can’t deny the guy’s talented, but he’s made several questionable decisions of the field which in turn has affected his draft stock in most teams eyes. As for trading down and acquiring more picks, I’m not really against it. The Browns are a team of many needs so no matter where they pick there should be quality players available.

      • Letterman007

        Lets just say Lewan is a dirty player and has questionable integrity! I’ve seen him punch players at the bottom of piles more than once and one time I thought I saw him drop a knee on a player laying on the ground! Mean is one thing, dirty is another!!

        • Jarod Cook

          Like I said he’s got talent. But any team that takes him is going to be getting more trouble then he’s worth, if he doesn’t fix his attitude. I’ve seen the same things and wonder how this guy hasn’t been penalized, or suspended while in collage. He makes Suh look like a choirboy, and is powder keg ready to explode.

          • Letterman007

            Right there with you, I fail to see how he didn’t get tossed out of games! He may try that crap in the League, but these guys are pro’s and he won’t come away unscathed!!

  • Joe

    Good point that the Browns don’t need 10 rookies next year.
    Trades are expected.
    LT used to be the most important position in football when Lou Groza manned the position for us.
    TE’s helped the RT in 1945-1965; that is no longer true.
    Jordan Cameron may never line up next to the RT.
    RT’s have become much more important, and LG’s are critically important since the LG must help block massive NT’s, watch for and recognize a delayed blitz, move his feet quickly to intercept a quick DB shooting through the gap between LT and LG, then stop the blitzer with strength and technique though the DB has momentum hitting the gap.
    The LG must also pull and lead interference.
    If the Browns draft OL, I will understand, but the young linemen the Browns already have, Fragel, Faulk, Gilkey, Schwartz, and Pinkston are intriguing.
    How does the new coaching staff see the depth and quality of the OL?
    The answer will determine the players drafted in May.