This article may be a lot shorter if it was about things the Cleveland Browns don’t need. To pile on, thanks to “textgate” they may lose one or multiple draft picks in this year’s draft. The organization is a dumpster fire and they can’t seem to do anything right. Let’s just get started because this may take a while:
Offensive Needs: QB, WR, TE, OL
The Browns pretty much have no serviceable quarterback and a pack of lackluster misfits catching the ball to make their QBs look worse. To make matters worse, there is also questions with protection. At least they have some young talented running backs with promise. Trading Trent Richardson may be the only smart move the Browns have made since they decided to draft Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis, and move to Baltimore. Unfortunately, they rid themselves of Richardson and replaced him with Johnny Manziel who is just as big a train wreck. They may end up having the worst offense in the NFL next season.
So the Browns let a mediocre Brian Hoyer walk and overpaid an even worse Josh McCown. Apparently having six good games in a decade a season before leading the worst offense in football to the first-overall pick warrants a three-year $14 million contract at 35 years old. Things will inevitably get worse when half way through the first season of this contract he is benched for Johnny Football. Perhaps the Browns are feeling extra saucy and move up to get Marcus Mariota as rumored. I hope not for his sake. Either way, things will end poorly for all parties involved.
Cleveland’s pass-catchers will not do their QBs any favors. Dwayne Bowe is a perennial underachiever on the decline with a propensity to always make the untimely blunder when his team needs it least. Last season he was at the head of arguably the worst WR corps of all-time in Kansas City. The entire group had a grand total of zero touchdowns. He will now be the Browns’ WR1, however, he hasn’t put up WR1 numbers since 2011. Browns’ fans may argue, “Well he had Alex Smith throwing him the ball.” Guess what? Smith is a whole lot better than anybody the Browns have on their roster. Thad Lewis may end up being their starter because he’s the most talented QB on the team. That’s right, Thad Lewis.
The Browns also added Brian “The Hitman” Hartline. While he may be the excellence of execution, last year he showed what happens when you put other options around him. The QB throws to the better options. He caught only 39 passes last year for 474 TDs. Hartline is yet another Browns’ wideout with a severe end zone allergy. So the bottom line is, after free agency Andrew Hawkins is still the Browns’ best option in the passing game. Travis Benjamin has potential too. With either the 12th or 19th pick in the draft the Browns will likely target a top wideout. Kevin White has an outside shot of being available and Devante Parker will likely be there at 12. Breshad Perriman is shooting up draft boards as well and may be available at 19. It’s hard to imagine Cleveland rolling the dice on Dorial Green-Beckham after this whole Josh Gordon debacle.
With Jordan Cameron gone and the Browns striking out on all the decent free agent, they also need a replacement at tight end. I currently have them projected to take Minnesota TE Maxx Williams in the second round. Most experts have him ranked as the top TE in the draft. After watching film, I prefer Clive Walford from Miami.
The O-line is also shaky. After Alex Mack went down last season the entire line fell apart. This leaves a lot of questions about the supporting cast. It is necessary for the Browns to add depth at center and guard and perhaps grab a starting right tackle. I don’t have them projected to pick an O-lineman in the first two rounds, however, they may have too.
Defensive Needs: DE, ILB
The Browns’ defense isn’t bad. Although they have a few holes and made some questionable decisions on defense. Like letting 26-year-old Buster Skrine walk because of money and the fact they wanted to give Justin Gilbert a chance to start. Then they signed 32-year-old Tramon Williams for more money. With that said the secondary is pretty solid and their front seven isn’t terrible. They could use some help at defensive tackle, but they seem pretty content with Randy Starks moving to their inside line. The two holes they will need to fill are at defensive end and inside linebacker.
They could really use an elite pass rusher. Desmond Bryant is decent, nevertheless, there is plenty of room for improvement. I currently have them projected to take Alvin Dupree 19th overall, even though he’s more of a hybrid player. If Dupree is gone, there will be plenty of other pass rushers still available. This draft is chocked full of them.
Karlos Dansby and Craig Robertson are good inside linebackers. However, they need a long-term inside linebacker to build around for the future. I’m guessing they will not target an ILB in the first two rounds since it is less of a pressing need.