In Cleveland we’re use to coaching changes, front office shake-up’s, and quarterback controversies every off-season. However, General Manager Tom Heckert, Head Coach Pat Shurmur and Quarterback Colt McCoy all appear to be back on the 2012-13 roster as the Browns look to improve upon there (4-12) record from a year ago.
Heading into the off-season, whoever you talk to in Northeast Ohio, would make it known that the Browns were in dire need of play-makers on the offensive side of the ball. Cleveland finished the 2011-12′ season as the 29th ranked offense in the league. There leading receiver was rookie Greg Little who hauled in 61 receptions for just over 700 yards. However, Little managed just two touchdown catches, and the rest of the Browns as a collective unit hauled in just 12 more. Offensively, the Browns have failed to add any play-maker’s in free-agency and actually lost Peyton Hillis there starting running-back to the Kansas City Chiefs, when he recently signed a (1 year, $3 million) dollar deal.
Cleveland can’t really go wrong with the #4 pick in the draft. The Browns could select either Receiver Justin Blackmon or Running Back Trent Richardson. Drafting a guy like Richardson at #4 could be a risk though, as the position he plays takes a major toll on the body in the professional ranks.
Defensively, the Browns had a solid outing in 2011-12′ as they finished with the league’s 10th ranked defense. Rookies Phil Taylor (Baylor) and Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh) proved to be solid picks in last year’s draft. Along with the success of the rookies, Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson came on strong from season ending injury a year ago, to account for a league leading 158 tackles. Jackson was awarded for his play in 2011, as he signed a five year deal worth over 42 million as the Browns made him their top priority. Along with re-signing Jackson, the Browns added depth to the defensive end position with the additions of Frostee Rucker (Cincinnati) and Jaqua Parker (Philadelphia).
Finally, two other possibilities in the Browns upcoming draft, is to move down from #4 and acquire extra draft picks as they did a season ago. They could also surprise some people and draft defensive back Morris Claiborne from LSU and pair him with one of the best young cornerback’s in the NFL in Joe Haden. I have been pushing for Morris Claiborne since January, but I also thought the Browns would make more noise offensively through free-agency.
The Browns are in a great position to draft a pro-bowl type player at #4, but it’s unsure what route they will take at this point. However, what we do know, is Cleveland needs to continue to have solid drafts from here on out, as the Browns continue to build through the draft.
About the Author
Written by Eric Kastner
Communication Studies Alumnus of Owens Community College 13'. Current, Senior at Wright State University - Lake Campus, Majoring in Organizational Leadership 14'.