Pre-Draft Preview: Cleveland Browns

Take a few lifelong Cleveland Browns fans who play Dynasty football and ask them to talk about the NFL Draft. It’s honestly much more optimistic than you’d guess. It speaks to the size of the heart you must possess to remain a Browns fan for so long. The NFL Draft is the annual Super Bowl for Browns fans. Tomorrow is the big day. It’s almost party time!

What QB will Cleveland draft at 1.01?

Madman: Knowing the Browns, since all the chatter has been about Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, watch them draft either Josh Rosen or the Pied Piper himself, Baker Mayfield. “You take a mortal man… and put him in control… watch him become a God.”

Cleveland needs a franchise QB in this draft; they must get it right this time! The kid who turns this ship around will never buy his own beer again. He will be immortalized. While I like Darnold the best overall, I’d be fine with any QB if he is “the right” choice. For what it’s worth, Mayfield plays similarly to Tyrod Taylor. I think he’ll be a good NFL QB, but is he a good fit for Cleveland?

JAMES THE BRAIN: I think the fit is Sam Darnold. He has the elusiveness that Dorsey and Hue covet. He is also smart with a strong enough arm to run that system. Turnover concerns are tied to poor protection last season and holding the ball too low in the pocket caused a lot of fumbles. These are all correctable mistakes and with an opportunity to sit behind Tyrod, I believe the Browns see Darnold as the right guy for the job.

DynastyGOAT: The consensus seems to have Darnold pegged as the top QB of this year’s class. That probably means Cleveland will do the Brownsiest move possible and take Josh Allen, the riskiest of this year’s QB crop.

Who will the Browns draft at 1.04?

Madman: Will they draft at 1.04… or will they trade the pick? No clue. Consensus points to DE Bradley Chubb if he’s on the board, but I’d understand drafting Saquon Barkley too. While RB is not the most pressing need, Barkley is one of the best prospects from a metrics and measurables standpoint – some going as far as declaring him the best player in the draft, not just the best RB. Plus, I play fantasy football; so, I’m all about the offense.

JAMES THE BRAIN: I’d be surprised if the Browns don’t look to trade down here, especially if the Giants take Chubb. It may be tempting to take Barkley if he is on the board and they can’t find a trade partner for the pick. My guess is that they trade back with the Bills and end up with a cornerback later in the 1st.

DynastyGOAT: I think the Browns would love to grab Chubb here. Lining him up across from Myles Garrett would be devastating for opposing offenses. If Chubb is gone, Barkley, Minkah Fitzpatrick or Denzel Ward could all be possibilities at #4.

Any Draft Day Nightmares?

A lot of Johnny, but not much Football.

Madman: Other than past nightmares like one that began the exact moment Johnny Football was drafted, not many players in this draft would be terrible. I don’t think you want Antonio Callaway hanging out with Josh Gordon, because… well, you know. Josh Allen would be a draft day disappointment for me. I don’t want the Browns taking a project QB like Allen in the first round. It’s a waste of such high-impact draft capital. I think Allen being linked to the Browns is media hype and draft season smoke and mirrors.

JAMES THE BRAIN: The worst possible thing Cleveland could do is to pass on quarterback altogether. Now, I don’t expect this to happen, but it is the Browns we are talking about!

DynastyGOAT: Passing up a QB at 1.01 would be a nightmare for me. For a team that had recently traded down to pass on both Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, the Browns MUST get their QB with the 1st overall selection.

Is Cleveland the best landing spot for any offensive players?

Madman: Derrius Guice? Rashaad Penny? Royce Freeman? DJ Moore? Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold? Those are just guys I’d like to see on the team. I’m not sure Cleveland is an ideal team for them.

JAMES THE BRAIN: I’d love to see Josh Rosen as a Cleveland Brown. The Browns have the number one overall pick and need to address the most important position in the game: Quarterback. The best one on my board is Rosen.

DynastyGOAT: I’m with Madman on this one, I don’t think Cleveland is the ideal landing spot for any of the top skill position offensive players. The one player who would be ideal with Cleveland could be Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchy. With the retirement of Joe Thomas, McGlinchy could slide right into the left tackle spot.

Now, let’s take a look at the offensive position groups. The Browns are not as bad off as you may think.


Current Situation:

Madman: It seems like this position is in the best shape since Tim Couch – on paper. OK, so I did like Kelly Holcomb. The Browns now have a young and capable Tyrod Taylor who doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s neither a bust nor an over-the-hill veteran, which is better than 80% of the guys they’ve had on the roster since 1999. The other 20% were backups masquerading as real QBs. Reading the entire list of slobs takes a while… and it’s just sad.

Even purposefully trying to suck for as long as the Browns have should have backfired just based on the law of averages… How they have avoided winning and eluded success for so long is truly as amazing as it is absurd! I digress… With the only other QB on the roster being backup Drew Stanton, the Browns will probably draft two QBs.

JAMES THE BRAIN: Tyrod Taylor is an underrated quarterback. The guy knows how to win and that much was evident when he played on a Bills team void of talent at the receiver position. He finds himself surrounded by more talent in Cleveland and I think he can really shine in this spotlight this year.

DynastyGOAT: Tyrod “TyGod” Taylor is one of the best quarterbacks (if not “THE best”) this team has had since Vinny Testaverde in the early ’90s. The addition of Drew Stanton flew under the radar, but he’s one of the more adept backups in the league. With either Darnold or Allen entering the building this week, the future at the position is brighter than I can ever remember.

Draft Needs: High

Running Backs

Current Situation:

Madman: With Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, the Browns’ RBs look pretty good. Both are better than average. While not a need, Cleveland will certainly draft another RB in what is considered a deep class at that position. While not the best pass-blocker or pass-catcher, Hyde forces missed tackles and runs well through contact. He gives the Browns more mass at the position than Johnson. I must admit, Saquon Barkley catching passes (ala LeVeon Bell in Pittsburgh under current offensive coordinator Todd Haley) would be cool too.

JAMES THE BRAIN: I like the Carlos Hyde signing a lot. This is a back that improved his pass catching numbers and has flashed superior upside at times in San Francisco. Pairing him with Duke Johnson seems to be a nice 1-2 combo. I’m still not sure it would keep me from drafting Barkley.

DynastyGOAT: The addition of Carlos Hyde adds thunder to Duke Johnson’s lightning in the Browns backfield. This addition seemingly eliminates the need to draft Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. Still, I would not rule out the possibility that Barkley, seen by some as a generational talent, is Cleveland’s pick at #4.

Draft Needs: Low

Wide Receivers

Current Situation:

Madman: Corey Coleman may be another Cleveland first-round bust… and not the kind you find in Canton!

Josh Gordon is one of the best in the league when he’s not suspended. He’s on the last year of a deal, so it may also be his last season in the Orange and Brown. Jarvis Landry was a nice addition to the passing game and another tool for the art of third-down conversions. His catcher’s mitt hands and knack for getting open will serve the team well. There is decent depth behind those three starters, and Cleveland will draft a new WR or two as well.

JAMES THE BRAIN: Funny how quickly things have changed with the Browns receiving corps. As late as mid-season last year the Browns WR group looked severely undermanned and was widely considered one of the worst groups in the league. Josh Gordon coming back certainly helped that, and the trade to bring in Landry helps too. This group looks to be solid right now needing little attention.

DynastyGOAT: If we can assume that Josh Gordon stays away from the Devil’s lettuce, that Corey Coleman keeps his hands unbroken, and that Jarvis Landry stays motivated after getting paid, then the Browns are just fine at receiver!

Draft Needs: Low

Tight Ends

Current Situation:

Madman: I think they started DeValve out wide more than Njoku last year, but they do have a couple of nice pass-catchers. With Randall Telfer and Darren Fells in the blocking role, the two-deep looks pretty good for fantasy football. There is no need to take a TE until late in the draft, if at all. However, Mike Gesicki would be perfect; remember that, John Dorsey.

JAMES THE BRAIN: With the drafting of Njoku last season, the Browns seem to have found a tight end they can build around. Seth Devalve seems to be a good TE2 with decent receiving chops and is an adequate inline blocker.

DynastyGOAT: I’m high on the combination of David Njoku and Seth Devalve heading into the 2018 season. Njoku will be just 22 years old when the season begins. His youth and top-end receiving potential has me the most excited about this position since Kellen Winslow Jr. took control like a soldier!

Draft Needs: Low

Thanks for joining us. This has been another @DFF_Degenerates collaboration. Special thanks to both @DFF_Thebrain James Koutoulas and @DynastyGOAT Shaun Laibe for brainstorming about our beloved Cleveland Browns. Enjoy the NFL Draft. Just by being a fan, you have earned it. Go Browns!


Co-Host @DynastyTradesHQ / Senior Editor, Writer & Analyst @DFF_Dynasty / Member @FSWA / "Building Dynasties One Player At a Time" #2QB #Superflex #Devy #Cleveland #Buckeyes

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