5 positions the Cleveland Browns must address in the 2023 NFL Draft

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Browns Position to Address No. 1: Quarterback

You may call me crazy for suggesting the Browns should invest more draft capital in the quarterback position, but if you take a moment to look at the trends for teams in the NFL recently you would understand the idea.

The Philadelphia Eagles had Carson Wentz coming off of an MVP-caliber season when they drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round. The San Francisco 49ers twice drafted a quarterback when they already had a clear starter, drafting Trey Lance with Jimmy Garoppolo recently leading them to a Super Bowl and selecting Brock Purdy with the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft after giving up a ton of capital to trade up for Lance.

The moral of the story is that no matter what you think you have as your starting quarterback, it's always a good idea to draft a prospect to develop. Whether they play as a rookie like Purdy, eventually take over and dominate like Hurts, or are developed and traded for other assets like the New England Patriots did with Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett when they still had Tom Brady at the helm, the blueprint for selecting and developing a young quarterback is there and has worked at various places across the league.

The Patriots employed this strategy when they had the unquestioned best quarterback in the league on their team at the time. Now the same Browns fans who were up in arms when Watson didn't come in and look like an All-Pro right away last season will likely dismiss this idea of spending even more draft capital at the position when we are paying him $230 million to be the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.

I would think this situation for Cleveland would likely be closer to that of New England than to Philadelphia, you have to ask: what happens if the Watson move doesn't pan out? What if he never gets back to the player that he once was in Houston? Sure, the Browns would be majorly set back either way, but wouldn't you want some sort of viable, young option at the position to potentially rebound with? Is Joshua Dobbs really that guy?

I think that Stefanski, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, and offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach Ashton Grant should be very involved in this selection. If they see a prospect in this draft that they believe they can develop into a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, they should encourage Berry to pull the trigger.

It doesn't have to be an early selection for the Browns to use on a quarterback. Purdy was LITERALLY the LAST pick of the draft and fit the system well enough to come in and win games for a playoff team as a rookie. If the front office and coaching staff agree on a prospect that fits their system and can be molded into a valuable piece. either for the Browns or another team, they need to pick him late in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Honorable Mentions:

Wide Receiver

I think it's likely that the Browns do add a receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft. Even with the injury to Michael Woods, the wide receiver room is still very crowded in Cleveland. With Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and trading for Elijah Moore, the starters are set for 2023.

David Bell was drafted fairly early last year, so he should still be in the plans for Cleveland. Adding veteran Marquise Goodwin and getting return specialist Jakeem Grant back from injury this season gives Stefanski a lot of weapons to deploy this season. However, looking ahead to the future, Cleveland could prepare for life without one of their top three guys by adding a player that they really like at some point in this draft.

Offensive Line

Right now, it appears that the starting five for the Cleveland offensive line is set for 2023, at least. Jedrick Wills Jr. will likely have his fifth-year option picked up, keeping the line intact through 2024 as well. But if any of these guys start to fall off with their level of play or suffer any sort of injury, the Browns need depth and/or future options. It may not be a priority this offseason after locking up all of the starters for 2023, but I could still see them adding a piece or two in the draft.

Defensive End

This is another position that I believe the Browns need to address still this offseason. I really think they need to add someone in the draft, but more importantly, they need to add another proven commodity. The team added Ogbonnia Okoronkwo in free agency who finished last season well, but doesn't quite have the body of work to convince fans that he is a definite solution.

Cleveland already has a couple of young edge presences that they like in 2022 draft picks Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas, so I think the focus needs to be on a player like Frank Clark or Yannick Ngakoue, but a piece in the draft like Derick Hall would be great, too. You can never have too many edge rushers in today's NFL.

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