NFL Draft: More Value at WR in 2nd Round
With the NFL Draft not far off, Cleveland Browns fans are dreaming of scenarios where Kevin White, Amari Cooper or DeVante Parker are left for them to pick at #12. Fans desperately want a #1 type receiver after being teased by Josh Gordon for a couple seasons. After getting a taste of what a top flight pass catcher can do, fans just can’t get enough. They demand more. They are hooked.
Last year GM Ray Farmer, the one who could supply them with their receiver to satiate their thirst, denied them. He looked at a stud like Sammy Watkins and decided to trade down. He saw Odell Beckham and drafted a corner instead. He could have had Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson or a number of others but he drafted Johnny Manziel and Joel Bitonio in their place. Heck he could have made this writer happy with Jeff Janis but instead he traded the pick.
The 2015 NFL Draft gives Farmer another chance to fulfill the ravenous fans thirst for a stud receiver to build the passing game around. In free agency, instead of going after Randall Cobb or other high profile guys, Farmer provided fans with a pu pu platter of Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline. While analysts and statistics lauded the additions, fans want more. Fans want better.
Could Ray Farmer leave fans wanting once again in the 1st round of the NFL Draft? Could he once again go into the draft with two early chances to fill what fans are calling for, and leave their plate empty? Could we once again see Farmer look at the value and decide to go in another direction?
Based on what we know about the NFL Draft right now, we think the smart answer is yes. Yes, Farmer could, and maybe should, leave the 1st round once again without a wide receiver. This time will be different however. This time, instead of ignoring the position all together, we think Farmer should make a plan to address it in the second round.
If we can agree that the Browns have 4, maybe 5, big needs in this years draft; QB, WR, TE, NT & OLB, with a future need on the offensive line, we can move forward. In the first round of the NFL Draft there are expected to be a few pass rushers names called: Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley, Randy Gregory, Shaq Thompson, Bud Dupree and Shane Ray. There are 2 or 3 nose tackles that could be drafted in the 1st round: Danny Shelton, Eddie Goldman and maybe Jordan Phillips. Only Maxx Williams, and he might be a stretch, is in consideration at the tight end spot in the 1st round. Finally, only Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are considered deserving quarterbacks.
That leaves us with the wide receiver position. Besides the Big 3 of White, Cooper and Parker, a number of other receivers are in discussion for the 1st round. Breshad Perriman, Dorial Green-Beckham, Jaelen Strong, Devin Funchess, Devin Smith and Nelson Agholor have all been talked about as possible 1st round picks. While Funchess, Smith and Agholor are more likely to be drafted in the 2nd than the 1st, each has been predicted in the 1st round by a major publication in the past month.
So what does that mean for the Cleveland Browns and the fans need/desire for a wide receiver? It means the value is more likely in the 2nd round. The Browns might try to pull in one of the limited commodities at another position, knowing that a receiver that fill their need is likely to be available at 43. Instead of reaching for Strong at 19, Smith, Funchess or Agholor all could provide similar production at a much cheaper price.
That doesn’t seem to be true at the other positions. After Shelton, Goldman and Phillips, the nose tackle class falls off quite a bit. After Williams, Clive Walford and Jeff Heuereman are a full round or two later. After the 5 pass rushers sure to go early, limited or injury prone players litter the field. Brett Hundley is the lone QB most experts would draft in the 2nd or 3rd round.
The other factor in value is the type of offense the Browns run. A player like Devin Smith, who can run deep routes all day long and haul in passes, fits perfectly with the Browns play action passing game. While one of the Big 3 is better than Smith, their production might be the same on the Browns team. Even in Josh Gordon’s breakout season, the Browns were terrible. Having a big time WR proves nothing, even if it would help.
The other factor that seems to be lost on fans is the Antonio Brown example. Brown is not the prototype, #1 receiver that Browns fans are begging for, yet I am sure that all would happily accept him on the team right now. Nelson Agholor fits much the same mold as Brown. Bigger isn’t always better, even if it does help sometimes. More important is the ability to create separation, high point the ball and haul in catches. Agholor, like Brown, could be that guy.
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So while Browns fans are salivating at the chance to sink their teeth into a WR with the 12th pick, the depth at that position could lead Ray Farmer to serving up a far different meal. Instead of having limited options at another position in the 2nd round, Farmer can address them with high quality players in the 1st while still getting a stud pass catcher in the 2nd. It is just the value of this draft.
Browns fans, let me have it. I think Ray Farmer and the Cleveland Browns would be better off waiting for a 2nd round receiver, and attacking other positions in the 1st round, even if a Cooper, White or Parker are there at #12.
What do you think about the Browns passing on a receiver in the 1st Round of the 2015 NFL Draft?