It seems like this whole off season in the NFL world has come to the conclusion that the front office of the Cleveland Browns, is not exactly stable to say the least. The firing of first year head coach, Rob Chudzinski, came at the end of the season. Then their owner not too long after, decided to fire his very own CEO and General Manager of his team, and replaced them with new GM Ray Farmer. Not too much time had passed as they filled the Browns head coach vacancy with the hiring of Buffalo Bills former defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine. Whew, with all that out of the way its time to focus on the players themselves. Cleveland has produced a solid defensive core led by all pro cornerback, Joe Haden. While their offense boasts last year’s NFL leading receiver in Josh Gordon, and also one of the top tight ends in the game with Jordan Cameron. The Browns produced the 11th best passing attack in the league, cycling through three different quarterbacks, while using a make shift backfield led by aging veteran running back, Willis McGahee. Leaving the NFL Draft Daily the issue of solving the riddle left by the organization.
The quarterback carousel in Cleveland was interesting to say the least. Their first round pick in 2012, Brandon Weeden, was inconsistent at best for the Browns and has not provided their answer to the position that they had hoped. Cleveland was pleasantly surprised by the emergence of Brian Hoyer and veteran backup Jason Campbell under then offensive coordinator, Norv Turner. According to sources, it may be long a shot that either Campbell or the underachieving first rounder Weeden, will make their way back on to the Browns roster for this coming season. With Hoyer coming off a season ending ACL tear, Cleveland will hope to land their quarterback with one of their two first round picks in the coming draft.
Their fourth selection overall will determine how bad they might want one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft or if they would prefer one of the few “once in a decade” players. Besides all pros, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, the offensive weapons for the Browns left much to desired by the dogpound and crew. Which leads to the question, why not add another dynamic receiver opposite of Gordon? Gordon flourished last year despite missing two games due to suspension, imagine a Browns offense if you threw Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, in the mix. Sammy Watkins is quite frankly in a league of his own in the coming NFL draft, and has been considered the next franchise wide receiver for whichever team takes him. His blazing speed wowed all the experts and scouts alike at the combine; and watching his hands attack the ball while in the air is a thing of beauty. The Browns traded away the pick that landed the Falcons their number one receiver in Julio Jones in 2011; they can ill afford to pass on a similar talent like Watkins in the coming draft. With the duo of Sammy Watkins and Josh Gordon running all over the field, Cleveland may excel at being one of the top passing offenses in the league.
You may be asking yourself though, well how is drafting a wide receiver like Watkins, going to solve our huge issue at quarterback? Here at the NFL Draft Daily, there is a plan to all this madness. So lets go ahead and find that quarterback who can launch the deep ball to his two elite talents on the outside, and who can also throw the perfect touch pass on a fade in the back of the end zone at will. Derek Carr is that man who will lead the Browns out of the AFC North basement. The quarterback out of Fresno State contains one of the strongest arms in the draft, and one of the quickest releases of all quarterbacks. Sure Carr had a bad bowl game, but the bowl game does not overshadow the whole body of work this man has produced in his college career. A very strong leader in the locker room, a man that has overcome adversity in his own home; Derek Carr has what it takes to be the franchise quarterback the Browns have been looking for with the 26th pick in the draft. The negatives many worry about can be fixed, which makes Carr’s intangibles near impossible to pass up.
A few other positions that Cleveland may look to fill are the running back position, and possibly now the middle linebacker position with the release of D’Qwell Jackson. Players that may fill their need at the running back position could either be Carlos Hyde, who is ranked as the top prospect in this years draft at the running back position; or Jeremy Hill out of LSU. Another prospect that may interest the Browns in the later rounds at the linebacker position could possibly be Shayne Skov out of Stanford. With ten picks coming in May’s draft and plenty of cap to spend in free agency, look for the new front office to make a statement with their first off season with the Browns. Hopefully putting some of the critics to rest, and creating something worthy of being barked at by the dogpound.
This article is one in a series, published daily, which provides analysis, insight, and predictions leading up to the NFL draft and beyond.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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