When you look at a team that’s 5-11 and has been poor for quite a few years, you know that come draft day they’re going to need to find a stud player that contributes immediately. As it stands the Cleveland Browns hold the number 6 overall pick and so will have various directions to go with their selection.
However, there are two things I would note. First, there’s plenty of chance that a trade could occur, either in front of the Browns or they might even want to jump around. Second, the draft is very top heavy defensively, and there’s only a couple of guys on the offensive side of the ball that deserve to be taken with a high pick.
Looking at the Browns this year, the areas of need that can be addressed at the top of the draft are clear to me. They should look at either someone to help improve the offensive run game or a defensive player that’s going to make an instant impact by rushing the passer or stuffing the run (they need both).
When I think about someone that’s going to immediately help the run game, there’s only one name that springs to mind, Chance Warmack. The 320 pound road-grader showed exactly how dominant he could be in the national championship game by destroying the entirety of Notre Dame defensive left side.
The Browns must help Trent Richardson run the ball, and as good a back as he is, he’s infinitely better if he is able to burst into the secondary through a open lane instead of taking on linebackers first. Warmack would be an instant impact and a stud for years to come. Even if he’s not the flashy skill player that many fans crave, he is probably what’s best for this team.
If the Browns were to go for someone on the defensive side of the ball, there’s plenty of talent to choose from and in some ways it could just depend on who drops to them. If Jarvis Jones were available at this spot I would snap him up. He may not be perfect in the 4-3 scheme right now, but he can rush the passer straight away and can probably add a little bulk.
If Jones is not available I see two options, Bjoern Werner or Manti Te’o. Werner is probably the more ‘accepted’ guy to take at this spot and he looks like he’s built to play the end spot in the AFC North with his size. Once again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already gone, but he would be an excellent addition to this Browns team.
Even if we take the recent Te’o events out of the equation and go off of talent, he is most likely a big reach at six but I see it like this – he is a smart, Ray Lewis-like leader and a legit top 15 talent at middle linebacker, which is not something you see every year. Plus, he’ll be able to contribute right away and eventually replace a aging D’Qwell Jackson. He’s shown that he can help out in the pass game, and whilst he may need to improve his play in the run game (Eddie Lacy did a good job of exposing that), at the NFL level he will at least have some defensive tackles that will keep him unblocked within a second from the ball being snapped.
The Browns have a lot riding on this pick, let’s hope they choose wisely.