While the Cleveland Browns may not have had the sexiest picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, fans in the Dawg Pound can at least take solace in the fact that their beloved Browns didn’t take yet another quarterback with an early pick. Beyond that, well, it’s going to be another long year in Cleveland.
In 2012, the Browns couldn’t pass the ball, couldn’t run the ball nor could they stop their opponents from passing and running the ball. What that boils down to is a lack of success at the line of scrimmage. The struggles (and bruises) of young quarterback Brandon Weeden can be attributed to the lack of pass protection given, and the 364 yards per game given up by the Browns defense shows a lack of production in all areas.
One of the biggest defensive weaknesses for Cleveland was in their linebacking corps, which seemed to flop regardless of who was plugged in, particularly on the inside.
The Browns were also in desperate need of targets–whether they be wide receiver or tight end–for young Weeden to get the ball to, as well as another solid running back to lighten the load on Trent Richardson. Perhaps they get a pass on these two, since this wasn’t exactly the most fertile draft for receivers and runners.
But with all that in mind, the fact that Cleveland opted to take two defensive ends, two defensive backs, and one offensive guard with their five (yes, just five) picks left many, myself included, wondering where this organization had their heads on draft weekend.
Understandably, the Browns were limited not only with the number of picks they had, but the fact that only two of their five picks were in the first three rounds. But that doesn’t excuse a lack of vision for a franchise that’s been walking in the dark for far too long.
Outside of first round pick Barkevious Mingo, when you scan up and down the list of Cleveland picks, it’s loaded with mediocrity and guys destined to be career NFL backups. The Mingo pick was nice, and he’ll no doubt be a productive player for the Browns for at least three or four years (until he heads for greener pastures), but the Browns might have been better off leveraging that No. 6 overall pick to grab a few more picks of their own.
I said before the draft that this was the year that the Browns needed to truly start to build, and that the fans in Cleveland deserved much more than they had been getting.
Unfortunately, they still do.