Browns: 6 great options at 35th pick
By Peter Smith
Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Xavier Su
The Browns get ready to go back into the draft, having added Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel. Pending another trade, the Browns wait only two picks for their next pick. Most are presuming that the first pick in the second round will be a quarterback, but even if it is not, here are six great options the Browns could take with the pick.
Xavier Su’a-Filo, Guard UCLA – If the Browns are true to Mike Pettine’s word where they like Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle, Su’a-Filo is an outstanding scheme fit for the Browns at right guard. Part of Schwartz’s issues last year was the abysmal play next to him. Su’a-Filo would be a tremendous addition for a few reasons.
First, he would be a big time run blocker for Ben Tate and the Browns have got to have a legitimate running game. Second, with Manziel as the future and perhaps the present, the interior of the offensive line is incredibly important. If Drew Brees is someone to take a note from, the New Orleans Saints have used a ton of resources to protect the interior of the line. This helps to negate some of the height questions and keeps a clean pocket. Drafting Manziel also really emphasizes just how important it was to retain Alex Mack.
Joel Bitonio, OT Nevada – If there is any doubt that Schwartz can play right tackle, take Bitonio. He can man the right tackle spot, but can play guard as well. He is a great athlete and a road grader as well that plays with a killer instinct. His versatility gives him added value and he has an attitude this front office should love.
Jordan Matthews, WR Vanderbilt – For me, he is my 3rd receiver overall in this class. He also would give the Browns someone that can be a possession type receiver, something they need, that can also be a playmaker. Matthews has more athleticism than some expect in addition to size and strength. He is fantastic at setting his feet as he catches the ball, so he plays quicker. There are some drops to clean up, but he is a big time worker, dominated in the SEC and was the Commodores offense at times.
Marqise Lee, WR USC – My fifth rated receiver in the class, but Lee is an incredible competitor. He battled through injuries this year, never complained and just kept playing and making plays. Stanford in particular, he was dragging his knee on and off the field, making catches and not complaining. Healthy, he is incredibly explosive and a terrific player after the catch that could be a great complement across from Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. In many ways, he does most everything that people think Sammy Watkins would have done for this offense.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Washington – The truest blocking tight end left in the draft that can also be a big time receiving threat because of his huge size and ability to go up and high point the football. For Manziel, that had Mike Evans, that could be a great fit for what he does effectively. An injury discovered at the combine hurt him as well as some questions about his weight and dedication. Nevertheless, his talent is off the charts.
Troy Niklas, TE Notre Dame – Niklas is raw, but he is the closest thing to the Rob Gronkowski type tight end in the class. At 6’6″ 260lbs, he is incredibly strong and has speed while still developing. Niklas declared as a redshirt sophomore, so for a program like Notre Dame that has had such a run of tight ends, Niklas has the chance to be the best of the bunch in the NFL.