Cleveland Browns: Plethora of options in the NFL Draft
The 2021 NFL Draft is finally upon us and the Cleveland Browns have a plethora of options with the 26th overall pick they could explore.
For the better part of the last two decades, Cleveland, who is hosting the draft this year, was usually sitting pretty high in the draft with the hopes of landing that elusive franchise quarterback.
Many, many quarterbacks passed through The Land before 2018 when the Browns selected quarterback Baker Mayfield first overall out of Oklahoma. This was a year removed from the Browns taking Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M, also with the first overall pick.
This season, the Browns aren’t searching for a franchise quarterback or cornerstone pass rusher but instead looking for pieces to even further bolster the defense that got revamped this offseason.
General manager Andrew Berry has been able to build his vision of this team for the past two offseasons. Last season he focused on getting the offensive line better to help keep Mayfield upright. This offseason Berry made sure to dial in on the defense, addressing major holes in major ways.
Every single hole that needed to be filled was filled with players that sat atop the Browns radar, such as safety John Johnson III, cornerback Troy Hill, linebacker Anthony Walker, and EDGE rusher Jadeveon Clowney.
The Browns were incredibly close to completing the comeback against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round but ultimately fell short. With the success of the 2020 season, Cleveland will pick 26th overall. There are many options that Berry and company can go with this pick.
Cleveland is in a prime position to take the best available player, regardless of position. This is a welcomed sight for the fans of the Browns as typically the team is searching for the next quarterback.
One option is to trade up or down from No. 26. It seems unlikely that Berry would trade up in the draft unless a player they absolutely love pops up as he values draft capital.
The wide receiver room needs to get faster and the Browns could potentially target one with the 26th pick. Before you think of the worst-case scenario regarding Odell Beckham, Jr. potentially being dealt, just relax. Beckham will be a harder player to trade as he is a big cap hit. If a receiver is the pick at 26, it could spell the end of the Donovan Peoples-Jones or KhaDarel Hodge in Cleveland.
Another position that Berry could address is cornerback. Sure, the Browns upgraded with the addition of Hill, but depth is crucial for any cornerback room, especially in Cleveland.
Denzel Ward has proven he is an elite, shutdown corner, when he is on the field, but has missed 11 games in his first four seasons. Greedy Williams will return from injury this season, but how durable is his shoulder? Cleveland will also need more speed on the outside to keep up with a team like the Chiefs.
An EDGE rusher is also a viable option with this pick. Yes, Myles Garrett is there for the long-haul and Jadeveon Clowney just signed, but this is also a position that could use depth. Even further to that point, Clowney can be moved to the interior in certain defensive schemes.
If the Browns draft in the first round, regardless of pick number, they will be able to develop that player and have the fifth-year options they can exercise.
Berry knocked his first draft as the Browns GM out of the park and got guys who could contribute instantly. Don’t assume he decides to draft impact players, as he is also viewing the long-term options for the betterment of the team. Browns fans finally have a general manager who is thinking of the now and also the future.
For the first time in many years, Browns fans can sit comfortably at home, or be live in attendance to watch the draft with a sense of calmness.
Cleveland is in a prime position to help themselves for 2021 and beyond with the plethora of options they can explore in the draft just from the 26th pick, not counting the picks in later rounds.