5 Late-Round Sleepers Cleveland Browns Should Target In 2014 NFL Draft
5 Late-Round Sleepers the Cleveland Browns Should Target in the 2014 NFL Draft
The Cleveland Browns find themselves in the all-too familiar position of drafting in the early portion of the NFL draft. This year, that draft is as deep as they come, so the Browns are hoping they can find some late-round gems who can contribute right away to a team that is closer to winning than they have been in a long time.
The Browns have struggled for years, but the silver lining to those struggles is that they have built a strong nucleaus of young players. If they can figure out how to keep them under contract, not an easy thing to do considering the salary cap implications they are facing, they don’t need many more impact players. What they need is overall depth and complimentary players, exactly the kind that you can find later in the draft.
Of course, the biggest need the Browns have in this draft is quarterback. They’re likely to use the fourth overall pick to take care of that, and if they don’t go quarterback in the first round they will almost certainly grab one before the later rounds come along. That means they can use those picks to get better at other positions of need, including running back, receiver and defensive back.
I’m hopeful for the Browns moving forward. They have a good foundation, and were more competitive last year then their 4-12 record indicates. They just need a few little tweaks, along with consistent quarterback play, to immediately be in contention in the AFC North.
The way to get those players is to hit on some late-round picks, and these are five sleepers they should be targeting in the draft this year.
5. Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
The Browns can use some depth at receiver, and the dependable Kevin Norwood should be available in the later rounds of the draft. He doesn't have the upside of some of the better wideouts in this draft, but he has a history of being dependable and productive. It's not a homerun pick, but whoever ends up with Norwood will be happy they do.
4. Justin Britt, OT, Missouri
A versatile tackle who can play on either the right or left side, Justin Britt is a great late-round guy to bring in for some depth on the offensive line. He may not have what it takes to start, certainly not at left tackle, but his ability to play on either side makes him a valuable backup to have.
3. Vinnie Sunseri, S, Alabama
The jury is still out as to whether T.J. Ward has a long-term future in Cleveland. If not, and there is a really good chance he doesn't, the Browns could grad Vinnie Sunseri in the late rounds and groom him up. A coach's son with off-the-chart football IQ, he was the point guard of the complicated Alabama defense these last few years when they were dominating SEC play — the same 3-4 defense the Browns are trying to master.
2. James Wilder, RB, Florida State
James Wilder Jr., the son of a former NFL running back, looks the mold of a pro back. He's 6'3", 232 lbs. of cut muscle. Underrated coming out of Florida State because he got buried on a deep depth chart, all that means is that his legs are rested and ready to go for the Browns.
1. Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford
Tyler Gaffney is a big, strong between the tackles runner who would compete for carries immediately on the Browns next season. You can always get good value with running backs in the later rounds, and the productive Gaffney fits that mold.