The Cleveland Browns drafted four wide receivers in 2016 but are still in search of a dominant receiving threat to take the offense to the next level.
The Cleveland Browns addressed many of their more glaring needs in the 2017 NFL Draft. From the defensive secondary to adding more competition into the quarterbacks room, the Browns are on the right track. There is however one position the team neglected to add to, and that is wide receiver.
It is no secret that the receiving corps is thin. You’ve got Corey Coleman, Kenny Britt, and then a whole pack of unproven players. Now add in the fact that it seems Josh Gordon may never make his way back on the field. There is no marquee receiver in the mix, at least not right now. Coleman has the ability to take over as a legitimate number one target but that remains to be seen.
As for Britt, at age 28 and in his eighth season in the league, it feels like he would have emerged as an elite talent by now if that was his role. Instead, Britt has often been a serviceable number two which is just as valuable in an offense.
No blame should be put on the Browns for not drafting a receiver. There were more urgent needs in the early rounds and this year’s class was not that strong. Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Mike Williams from Clemson have ceilings far above the rest. Behind them was injury-hampered combine star John Ross and then the rest of the pack.
There was the addition of late-first-round tight end David Njoku. The Miami alum should help the pass game but in a different area. Let’s be clear, the Browns don’t need more receivers. They need one star receiver, an elite talent who can take over any given game like Terrelle Pryor showed flashes of last season.
The question becomes how should the team go about getting a top-level receiver? With so many moving parts, the rebuild isn’t going to happen all at once. Cleveland does have two first-round picks in the 2018 draft. With some pretty good receivers expected to come out including Christian Kirk of Texas A&M and Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, taking one of them could be a sound option.
There is always the possibility of trading for a proven talent. With two first-round picks and three additional second-rounders next year, the Browns have a lot to entice any prospective trade partners.
The Cleveland Browns are slowly putting the pieces together of a competent NFL team. That is something fans have not been able to say for quite a while. However, whether it happens this season or in the next, they need a top receiver.
The beginnings of a decent offense are in place. The defensive unit is starting to take form. Now it is about fine tuning. Finding that number one deep ball threat is what can carry this team to the next level.