As we move into April and the draft nears, the debate over whom the Browns need to target will only get hotter. Everyone has their own opinions on certain players and think the Browns should go in a certain direction. What it basically comes down to is trying to rank the biggest needs first.
If you’re not an ESPN Insider, then you missed Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. rank each teams draft needs. I won't go into his analysis cause frankly, it is terrible. His rankings are as followed:
The people on ESPN clearly have no love for Colt (not that I do..). However, this list is off in my opinion.
Here is what I think are the most pressing needs for the Browns in this draft.
1. Running Back: A month ago I might not have even had this on this list. However, the loss of Peyton Hillis leaves a gaping hole for a very important position. Yes, Hillis had a terrible season but I figured if we would be able to sign him cheap, a healthy/problem-free Hillis would be the cornerstone of our run game. With that gone, the Browns have an extremely injury prone guy in Hardesty, a 3rd-down back in Jackson, and a potential upside guy who should never be your main option in Ogbonnaya. To say we don’t need a starting running back is an understatement. I was initially weary of taking Trent Richardson so early but I now see that as the pick we need to make. While this RB class is very deep, Trent seems to be the proven #1 with very few doubts. In the AFC North, a good RB is key. Other than the one-year from Hillis, the new Browns have never really had an actual threat from the backfield. If they don’t take Trent with the four, I can’t see them not taking a RB in the first 3 rounds.
2. Wide Receiver: There is no doubt the Browns lack any sort of threat from the offensive side of the ball. No matter what QB we send out there will need more weapons. I really don’t see Blackmon being worth a #4. That being said, I think the #22 will be the spot in which they look for a WR. Greg Little showed a lot of promise last year but at best is a number-two, possession receiver. Many experts claim there is no drop in talent from Blackmon and the 2-4 WR’s. Floyd will likely be gone by this pick, but there will still be plenty of options. Kendall Wright has DeSean Jackson potential without the issues, and Stephen Hill has the size/speed combo to be the Browns deep threat they so badly need.
3. Right Tackle: While many, including me, think the Browns need a QB, at this point, I have to rank RT higher on the needs list. With the release of Tony Pashos, the Browns don’t have anyone on the roster I would consider a starter at RT. Kiper had us taking a RG early, but I think we need to solidify the tackle position first. Although, ESPN also has RG Cordy Glenn is also listed as an OT. Some scouts think he will be more of a guard in the pros but may be a RT option. I really thought this would have been the one place the Browns added someone during free agency. But, since they didn’t, it leaves one more hole the Browns need to fill. If they wait too long in the draft, it's very hard to find a capable starter on the o-line. This is why I think the Browns will address this need within the first 3 rounds.
4. Quarterback: At this point, it's looking more and more like Colt will get another chance. Or will it? I highly doubt the Browns reach on Tannehill at 4. He has talent, but in my opinion, needs to sit a few years behind a good coach and good QB. (Not the Browns). However, I still don’t think Colt is going to lead the Browns to anything other than a 8 win season. Brandon Weeden at 37 makes too much sense for the Browns. Ya, he's old, but why are we worried about 10 years down the road when we suck now?
5. Outside Linebacker: Just a few months ago I was thinking of the Browns drafting a linebacker in the first round. That of course, was all hinged on them doing anything in free agency. Now this need has fallen all the way to five on my list. Unless the Browns really fall in love with someone, Jackson is a beast inside but after that we are very weak at the LB position. A good LB corps can stop the run, something we didn’t do last year. However, I can’t see them drafting an OLB before they address the needs above. Look for the 4th or 5th round for this position.
6. Defensive End: Jabaal Sheard had a terrific rookie year. However, everything else we tried at the other side was a bust. No doubt other teams will gameplan for Sheard, meaning we need a weak-side DE to help. But at this point, adding a DE will be a later round plus due to other holes.