The Cleveland Browns filled some major holes during the first wave of free agency last week. Here are three options the Browns have in the first round.
The Cleveland Browns did a great job last week of addressing some major issues on the roster. Shoring up the right tackle and tight end position while adding some nice defensive depth has helped ease the burden of relying on draft picks for next season.
However, with one major position of need to fill at left tackle, the Browns have many different options in front of them on how to obtain someone. Here are three options for the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the draft.
No. 1: Draft best player available
The Browns need to set themselves up to take this option if presented to them. For one thing, what if the Browns top offensive tackles are all selected before the Browns pick at No. 10? And secondly, what if a player like Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons falls to them?
Aside from Chase Young, Simmons might just be the best defensive player in this draft class and linebacker just so happens to be another position of need for Cleveland. So how do the Browns prepare for this scenario? They need to sign a veteran free agent left tackle who is capable of starting if needed.
This addresses two things. One is that they are not pressured or locked into taking a left tackle at No. 10 overall if they feel the best tackles on their board have already been selected. And two, if or more likely when the Browns select a left tackle in this draft, that rookie is not pressured to start right off the bat.
Another player could be Dakota Dozier who started four games for the Minnesota Vikings last season under new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. The former fourth-round pick of the New York Jets, Dozier has played both guard and tackle during his five-year NFL career.
No. 2: Trade back
Trading back would make the most sense for Cleveland if there is an early run on quarterbacks in the top 10. Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love, Justin Herbert, and Jacob Eason all have a realistic chance at being top 20 NFL draft picks.
If three of them go inside the top 10 and a quarterback starved team, let's just say the Indianapolis Colts have their guy sitting there at No. 10, well the Browns could possibly receive a phone call. The Browns can move down three spots, pick up an extra draft pick or two and still draft a top left tackle prospect such as Georgia's Andrew Thomas or Louisville's Mekhi Becton.
This obviously would be Cleveland's dream scenario as they still get their cake and can eat it too. But let's also factor in if the Browns value a left tackle who would be available to them in the mid to late 20s. Players such as Houston's Josh Jones or USC's Austin Jackson could be available.
In this scenario, the Brown would target the guy that they want and theoretically receive some major compensation for sliding back that far out of the top 10. Many different options are available to Cleveland in terms of trading back out of No. 10.
No. 3: Take the best tackle no matter what
This could wind up being Cleveland's doomsday scenario. In this scenario, Cleveland could not find a free agent tackle who could step in and start right away and there has been a run on offensive tackles within the top ten of the draft.
Georgia's Andrew Thomas, Louisville's Mekhi Becton, Iowa's Tristin Wirfs, and Alabama's Jedrick Wills all have top 10 potential and there are a lot of teams within the top 10 of this draft that, just like the Browns, also need help at offensive tackle.
If three of those players are selected, Cleveland almost certainly has to take the fourth or higher ranked tackle such as Josh Jones that they value. Risking a trade back could wind up meaning that they miss on all of the top tackles in this draft, and they simply cannot do that after how poorly their line played the past two seasons.
Realistically one of the top four should be available for the Browns at No. 10. But this is the NFL draft and crazy stuff has happened before and it will happen again.
Let's just hope GM Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski are prepared for anything that might be thrown at them.