Who Might the Cleveland Browns Target in Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2012 NFL Draft?


Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden are officially Cleveland Browns. Richardson is obviously a stud, and although I hoped Weeden would be available with the 37th pick, I still think he will be a solid starter. In that sense, I’ll take it.

But the draft continues Friday evening, and the Browns still have a lot to improve upon. Along with the obvious need at wide receiver, the Browns still could stand to select a right tackle, an outside linebacker, and a cornerback – a position Heckert and company value heavily. Not to mention the possibility of drafting an offensive guard or defensive end.

There are many options for the Brown and Orange at Nos. 37 and 67, but there a handful of players that I feel the Browns would be wise to acquire during Friday’s second and third rounds.

Options At No. 37

  • Grab a Wide Receiver: This is the route the Browns will likely go with at this pick. The Browns obviously need a major boost at wide receiver if they expect Brandon Weeden to have any chance of hacking it. The top three wide receivers available are Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, LSU’s Rueben Randle, and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffrey. I believe Randle and Jeffrey are both good prospects, but I think Hill is highly overrated. He ran fast at the Combine, so all of a sudden he became a fringe first-round pick. He doesn’t catch the ball at its highest point and lacks natural wide receiver instincts. If the Browns take a receiver, I’d much prefer it be one of the SEC products, Jeffrey or Randle. Both were coveted high school recruits and produced at high levels in college. I value production much more than a 40-time when drafting a wide receiver, and I hope the Browns do, too.
  • Take Janoris Jenkins – Jenkins was a star at Florida until a bar fight and two marijuana offenses in a three-year span led to him being kicked off the team. The cornerback went on to dominate the easier competition at North Alabama, but his baggage has obviously made him slip in this year’s draft. However, the chance to take a cornerback with top-ten talent is hard to pass up. Jenkins’ best season was arguably when he started alongside then-Florida standout Joe Haden. The Browns should simply ask Haden if he truly believes Jenkins is worth the risk. He’d know better than most. If Jenkins passes Haden’s test, drafting a cornerback with his impressive skill set should be a serious consideration. In my opinion, Jenkins is the most talented player left in the draft by a longshot and having Haden as his mentor would do wonders for him. Just to be clear, though, the Browns better move up into the end of the second round for a wide receiver if they don’t take one at No. 37.
  • Lavonte David – David is a solid outside linebacker from Nebraska that the Browns liked a lot during his pre-draft visit. Again, if Cleveland opts to pass on the wide receivers at this point in the draft, I would hope they would be thinking about trading up to select one soon. However, David is going to be a really great player, so it would be hard to be upset if he is the pick rather than a wide receiver.
  • Find a Starting Right Tackle – Standford’s Jonathan Martin, Ole Miss’ Bobby Massie, and Georgia’s Cordy Glenn are all worthy of being selected in the top of the second round. I could understand taking one with this pick, but I think you can find a good offensive lineman in the third round or later. There are more pressing needs than a lineman this early in the draft, particularly when the line already has two first-round draft picks who have been to the Pro Bowl in Joe Thomas and Alex Mack.

Options at Pick 67

  • Get a Right Tackle – Offensive linemen seemed to fall in last night’s first round. If Massie, Martin, or Glenn somehow slip to this pick, the Browns must take one of them. California’s Mitchell Schwartz, who the Browns brought in for a pre-draft visit, is another player who would be a nice addition here, as would Florida State’s Zebrie Sanders.
  • Take a Cornerback – If Jenkins’ off-the-field concerns make him fall to the third round, the Browns would be foolish not to take him for the reasons mentioned above. UCF’s Josh Robinson and Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward are solid options, too.
  • Select Tyrone Crawford – Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford impressed me in his highlights because he shows the ability to get to the quarterback in multiple ways. He can speed rush the edge with a nice burst and can also use his strength to make inside moves. I think he would be a nice selection, but because of the Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker signings, I would assume the Browns are more likely to wait until next year to draft a defensive end in the first or second round.
  • Select a Linebacker – Lavonte David is almost a guaranteed second-round pick, and the third-round talent at linebacker is a litte bit thin. North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown has a lot of talent and was very productive in college, and Oklahoma’s Ronnell Lewis shows glimpses of being NFL-ready. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team addresses this need during the draft, but the Browns can’t afford to reach for a “project” with this pick.

The Browns have a lot of options during tonight’s second and third rounds of the draft. With glaring needs at wide receiver and right tackle, it would be nice to shore up those areas tonight, if not tomorrow. Cornerback and linebacker also have room for improvement, so if the right player is available, those positions may be addressed tonight as well. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, tonight is bound to be exciting.

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