More likely than not, the Browns will wind up with the #1 overall draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. With that being said, who will the Browns take with that pick?
It all depends on if they want to focus on offense or defense.
If the Browns want to build their offense, it depends on whether or not they want to continue the Brandon Weeden experiment. If they do, the obvious choice would be to draft a running back…sadly, the 2014 running back draft class is one of the worst in the history of the NFL Draft. So, wide receiver? Marquis Lee from USC seems to be the clear choice for this spot.
If the Browns decide that Brandon Weeden is not the guy they want to lead this Browns offense, Tedy Bridgewater will be the #1 overall pick, barring a career-ending injury. Bridgewater has all the skills necessary to run this young Browns offense, and with a great offensive line to protect him, Bridgewater could make something out of nothing. The best part about Tedy Bridgewater is the fact that he doesn’t need a running back to be successful! His mobility and agility make up for the lack of running back skill that plague the Cleveland Browns.
If defense is going to be the future of the Browns (which it probably won’t be), defensive end Jadaveon Clowney cannot be passed up. He is too good to pass up for a defensive line that is in dire need of skill. If the Browns want to go in a different direction than Clowney, UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr would be next in line. But maybe they want to have a guy in the defensive backfield to opposite their shutdown corner Joe Haden. In that case, might I suggest Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby. He can opposite Haden, or even take his place if Joe Haden enters the free agent market.
With the Colts’ late-round pick, Sammy Watkins, if he’s available, is a must-get. Brandon Weeden or Tedy Bridgewater will need a receiving target and Watkins would be the perfect man for the job. But in the likely chance that he is not available this late in the draft, Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla or Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews would be the perfect pick here. However, this is a very deep offensive line class. Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio Richardson would be the perfect guy to play right tackle, opposite Joe Thomas. He could learn from the former Pro Bowler, and the two could make an outside blocking threat that would be nearly unstoppable.
Defensively, it depends on who the Browns picked with their first overall pick. If they picked Jadaveon Clowney, I would pick Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton or Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt. With a defensive tackle on the same side as Clowney, or a defensive end opposite of Clowney, the Browns defensive line would be one of the most feared in the AFC North. If the Browns picked OLB Anthony Barr, they are going to try to build their linebacker corps. Alabama outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard or Alabama middle linebacker C.J. Mosley would add that dynamic dimension to the Browns defense. However, if they want to rebuild their defensive back corps, the obvious choice here would be Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
If I were the Browns GM, I would do this: There is still some trade value for Brandon Weeden. You could trade Weeden to a team that has a good running back, a not-so-good quarterback, and above average wide receivers for that good running back. Then, draft Tedy Bridgewater and Sammy Watkins. You have a good running back from the Weeden trade, a good quarterback from the Draft, a good wide receiver from the Draft, and an already good offensive line. That would make the Browns a force to be reckoned with in the AFC North. Think Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, but with a good offensive line and a running game to back it up…scary!