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NFL Cleveland Browns

2014 NFL Draft: Ranking Cleveland Browns’ Top 5 Needs

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Draft Needs for the Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns NFL Draft
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the Cleveland Browns are starting over. At the beginning of the offseason, the Browns fired head coach Rob Chudzinski after only one year on the job. On top of that, they have since fired GM Michael Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner is stepping down. Simply put, there are a lot of new faces in the Browns' organization.

Because of their poor 4-12 2013 season, the Browns have the fourth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. They also have the second-most picks in the draft with 10, including an extra first-round pick (26th overall) that they received from the Indianapolis Colts in the Trent Richardson trade. The Browns certainly have the currency to make a lot of noise in this draft.

Led by an underrated defense, a good offensive line and some dynamic pass catchers (Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron), the Browns have a nice core of players to build around. If they can land some talented impact players at positions of need in this draft, the Browns could easily become a team to watch out for.

Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer will step in this season as Cleveland's head coach and GM respectively. This is Pettine's first time as a head coach since 2001, but that was at the High School level, and this is Farmer's first GM job. They are inexperienced in their current positions, but that does not mean they will do a bad job. Both are smart and talented football people that have the ability to turn this organization around.

The Browns have the talent and ammunition to become a competitive franchise quickly. They are kind of the laughing stock of the NFL right now because of their instability at the top, but a successful 2014 draft can help change peoples mind quickly. The Browns certainly have some holes to fill, and they have the picks to do it. Here are the five most important needs that Farmer and his staff must fill in the upcoming draft.

Daniel is a writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @D_Schmelzer, "Like" his Page on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Wide Receiver

Jordan Matthews NFL Draft
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Gordon was incredible for the Browns last season, as he hauled in 87 receptions for a league leading 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns. Gordon is a dynamic talent that has an extremely bright NFL future. Unfortunately, lining Greg Little across from him is simply not going to get it done. The Browns have zero depth behind Gordon and need to address the position in the draft.

Possible Targets (Projected Round):

Jordan Matthews (1-2), Brandin Cooks (1-2), Odell Beckham (1-2), Jared Abbrederis (2-4) and Shaquelle Evans (3-6).

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4. Linebacker

Ryan Shazier NFL Draft
Getty Images

Led by shut-down corner Joe Haden, the Browns defense was very good last season. The secondary and pass rush is solid, but they could use some help at linebacker. The team recently released starting LB D'Qwell Jackson and could stand to add some talent to the position in the draft. Pettite likes versatile players at linebacker and there are certainly some of those in this draft.

Possible Targets (Projected Round):

Ryan Shazier (1-2), Christian Jones (2-3), Shayne Skov (2-4) and Lamin Barrow (4-6).

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3. Offensive Line

Zack Martin NFL Draft
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

All-Pro left-tackle Joe Thomas anchored a solid offensive line for the Browns last season. While Thomas is great, the Browns struggled at the guard position, and there has been talk of last year's right-tackle Mitchell Schwartz moving inside to help at guard. Also, Pro Bowl center Alex Mack is a free agent, but is likely to return. I could see the Browns looking to add at RT and the interior offensive line in this draft. A lot depends on what they decide to do with Schwartz.

Possible Targets (Projected Round):

Zack Martin (1), Cyrus Kouandjio (1-2), David Yankey (2-3), Jack Mewhort (2-4), Billy Turner (3-4) and Trai Turner (4-6).

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2. Running Back

Carlos Hyde NFL Draft
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

After the Richardson trade, the Browns were mostly relying on an over-the-hill Willis McGahee at the RB position last season. Needless to say, the position needs to be targeted in the draft. This is a deep RB class, and I could see the Browns taking multiple prospects at the position. I expect them to target backs capable of handling full load.

Possible Targets (Projected Round):

Carlos Hyde (2-3), Bishop Sankey (2-3), Jeremy Hill (2-4), Andre Williams (2-4) and Terrance West (3-6).

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1. Quarterback

Johnny Manziel NFL Draft
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The most obvious need that the Browns have is the quarterback position, and it is not even close. Brian Hoyer had a great run early last season, and could be considered as part of a competition, but he is not a franchise QB. The Browns simply have to address the QB position in the draft, and it seems very likely that they take one of the top three guys with their 4th overall pick. If they decide to pass, or none of them fall, they must take a QB with either their other first round pick or their second round pick.

Possible Targets (Projected Round):

Johnny Manziel (1), Teddy Bridgewater (1), Blake Bortles (1), Derek Carr (1-2) and Jimmy Garoppolo (2-3).