Free Agency is just in it’s second week and signings are beginning to slow down. With the Draft next on the vagenda, it’s time to take a detailed look at each team’s acquisitions and losses and gauge a plan of attack for how they should approach the first three rounds of this year’s draft. We’ll start with the lowly Cleveland Browns and work our way all the way up to the Super Bowl Champs in New England. The Browns and their two first round picks are up today.
Team Needs: Everything but OL
Free Agent Losses: WR Terrelle Pryor
Free Agent Acquisitions: WR Kenny Britt, OG Kevin Zeitler, QB Brock Osweiler (trade), C/G JC Tretter,
Potential Round 1 Targets: OLB Myles Garrett, QB Mitch Trubisky, QB DeShaun Watson, DE Solomon Thomas, DE Jonathan Allen, TE OJ Howard, S Jamal Adams, S Malik Hooker, RB Dalvin Cook, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Corey Davis, WR Mike Williams, WR John Ross, DE Derek Barnett
Potential Round 2 Targets: QB Deshone Kizer, QB Pat Mahomes, TE David Njoku, CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Fabian Moreau, TE Evan Engram, CB Cordera Tankersley, CB TreDavious White, S Obi Melifonwu, DE Carl Lawson, DE Taco Charlton, OLB Takkarist McKinley, OLB Tim Williams, OLB TJ Watt, S Budda Baker, CB Teez Tabor, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Zay Jones
Potential Round 3 Targets: QB Davis Webb, QB Brad Kaaya, S Eddie Jackson, S Justin Evans, S Desmond King, S Marcus Maye, S Marcus Williams, DE Derek Rivers, DE DeMarcus Walker, DE Trey Hendrickson, TE Bucky Hodges, TE Jake Butt, CB Adoree Jackson, CB Sidney Jones, CB Cam Sutton, OLB Tyus Bowser, OLB Ryan Anderson, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Amara Darboh, RB D’Onta Foreman, RB Wayne Gallman, RB Joe Mixon, RB Samaje Perine
Plan of Attack:
The Browns head into the 2017 Draft with a ton of picks and need to use them wisely to shape their roster into a contender. It’s widely expected the Browns will use the first overall pick on DE/OLB Myles Garrett. He is clearly the best prospect in the Draft and boasts amazing athleticism to go with his God given size. The Browns defense would improve drastically by pairing him with OLB Jamie Collins, and opposing quarterbacks could actually start to fear playing against the Browns front seven. The bigger question is what will the Browns do with their second choice? The most likely option would be to land their QB of the future. There is a slim chance Mitch Trubisky falls through the cracks but it’s more likely Clemson QB DeShaun Watson is there. Watson is a mobile quarterback who can gain yardage with his legs, and extend plays. If the Browns surround him with quality weapons, his chance of NFL success is very high. The Browns could also choose a RB with this pick. They’d love to add the power of LSU’s Leonard Fournette or the versatility of FSU’s Dalvin Cook. The team could also restock the WR cupboard with speedster John Ross or go with a bigger target like Clemson’s Mike Williams.
The Browns also have two picks in round 2. If they take a QB with one of their first two selections, then they could look to find him a weapon here. They could look at TE with Gary Barnidge getting up there in years. Miami’s David Njoku would be a great choice. He’s got rare size and off the charts athletic ability. He would make life so much easier for a young quarterback with his huge catch radius and the mismatches he’d create against linebackers. They could also grab a wide receiver here. Some options they’d consider would be Cooper Kupp, Senior Bowl darling Zay Jones, and Ohio St.’s Chris Samuel. The Browns could also use both of their second round choices to bolster their secondary. They could look at a corner like Fabian Moreau, Teez Tabor, or TreDavious White. Of those three Tabor is very interesting. He could be available in the early second due to his slow 40 time at the combine. Tabor has good size and is a fluid mover. His ball skills are above average and he could log a lot of playing time as a rookie. The Browns could also use a safety as Ibraheim Campbell and Ed Reynolds currently top the depth chart. A guy who would be very tough to pass on would be UCONN’s Obi Melifonwu. It’s likely Obi’s Combine performance bumped him into round 1, but if he falls to the Browns at the top of the second they should pounce. He’s got great size at 6’4 and 224 lbs. He ran a 4.40 40 yard dash at that size and is a big time hitter. He’s a rare safety who can match up well with bigger WRs and TEs that might come his way. If Obi is gone, the Browns could look at Budda Baker from Washington or Iowa’s Desmond King with their second, second round choice.
The Browns only have one pick in round 3 and maybe they look at a running back with it. They have two okay backs already on the roster in Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell, but could find a star here in the third in a deep RB class. Some options that could peak their interest would be D’onta Foreman, Samaje Perine, Alvin Kamara, Wayne Gallman, and even Joe Mixon if they are okay with his character. These are all very good backs who could get a bunch of touches for the Browns as rookies. The Browns could also gamble on a couple of injured prospects here in the third round. CB Sidney Jones is a first round talent who blew an ACL at his Pro Day. If teams begin to shy away from him and he falls, it would be a wise move for the Browns to snap him up and let him heal up for a season before releasing him into their corner corps. They could also red shirt talented TE Jake Butt. Butt was seen as a late first round caliber tight end before getting injured late in the college season. If the Browns take a young QB like expected, Jake would be quick butt buddies with him when he comes back healthy due to the mismatches his size and athletic ability would create. The Browns could also look to add a wide receiver here like USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, or Michigan’s Amara Darboh.