Drafting is pointless without a plan and the Cleveland Browns will determine which players they will continue to build with going into the 2017 NFL Draft.
It’s evident the Cleveland Browns must immediately assess the defense heading into 2017 NFL Draft. However, dictating which position is more urgent is difficult nonetheless when a team is ranked No. 31 in the NFL. Although, having the first overall pick allows a team to select the best overall talent despite fit and the Browns might be in that boat.
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M defensive end, is the presumable No. 1 pick currently. Garrett would upgrade the Browns defensive front giving them a strong defensive line. Danny Shelton is the No. 1 ranked nose tackle per PFF in their midseason All-Pro Team. Rookie Emmanuel Ogbah has established himself as a building block at defensive end moving forward, and adding another with the top pick would solidify the Browns defensive front.
The defensive backfield has been abysmal 11 games into the 2016 season as well. Joe Haden has missed several games due to injury once again and the Browns have struggled to find a permanent replacement for T.J. Ward since they allowed him to walk in free agency years ago. The safety position has been cloudy in Cleveland, starting a handful of different players so far this season.
Defensive backs Jamar Taylor and Tramon Williams continue to give up penalties and big plays, giving Cleveland all the reasons to select a cornerback early on in the draft. Haden, a two-time Pro Bowler, hasn’t had the luxury of having another elite corner opposite of him and it would certainly alleviate pressure off of him.
For the backfield, one can only imagine analytics will play a significant role when determining value picks for the respective positions. Essentially, if there is an elite player or a drastic drop-off in talent, the Browns will pounce.
Lastly, the linebacker position seems to be the one area where the Browns can relax in the draft — only compared to the rest of the positions. The acquisition of Jamie Collins has been a success so far, although will only be considered worth it if the team can come to terms with him on a contract extension.
Christian Kirksey is racking up tackles at a feverish pace, making him a solid piece of this defense. That’s an inside and outside linebacker, hopefully, locked up going into 2017 and it looks like DeMario Davis and Joe Schobert are capable of starting if need be.