The Browns have many holes to plug, but it appears that they have made some acquisitions that are interesting. When you add veteran WRs like Dwayne Bowe, and Brian Hartline you are saying you need more veteran leadership for your younger receivers to feed off of and you are likely going to dip into the WR talent pool in the 2015 draft after much to the disdain of the fans during last years draft. Further trying to read the tea leaves, I think with Bowe on the downside, and Hartline at his apex, they will likely take a quality WR earlier, rather than later in this seasons draft. While Hawkins is a veteran, he is a young veteran, Gabriel is only going to be a second year player, and obviously with Austin gone, and Gordon suspended all year, they need some veterans to lead the way, and Bowe and Hartline could provide that help.
Also, so far, they have yet to make any significant changes on the OL, and I think they need to address that by perhaps taking as many as two OL, one for the right side and another that can fill in at center or guard. In the event they do not draft any, expect them to sign veterans for those roles.
The bigger change on offense is a new OC, for the umpteenth time. We see a couple of things happening. First off John DeFillipo now becomes the newest OC, and with him, he brings a great deal of diversity, throughout his many different coaching stops. But also Kevin O'Connell has been hired as the new QB coach, who previously has handled Manziel and another top prospect at QB, in combine preparation. These additions will be also be made with a veteran presence, that comes to the Browns with familiarity of John DeFillipo, in the addiiton of Josh McCown. McCown worked with DeFillipo with Oakland.
In the last two years, the Browns have added two Arizona veteran TE's, last year Jim Dray and this year Rob Housler, and those two plus Gary Barnidge you have a trio of average TE's. This is why I think it is paramount that they add one of the top three TE's in this years draft, after losing Jordan Cameron in free agency to Miami.
After the loss of Atiyha Rubin to Seattle, a couple things need(ed) to happen. The first thing we needed to do was to resign John Hughes. He is greatly underrated and is our best run stopper in the middle of the line when Phil Taylor is not. What they had to do was to replace Rubin with a veteran.
Secondly, and more importantly, what they had to do was to replace Rubin with a veteran. A veteran who could perhaps help some other big guys do the things that keeps them healthy. Little techniques and training ploys and tricks that allow them to stay healthy, enter Randy Starks. Dude has started 92 of his last 95 games, only missing three games in that time frame as well.
In the secondary, while the loss of Skrine initially seemed like a big loss, the addition of Tramon Williams does two things. First off, it brings us a starting CB opposite Joe Haden, but it also puts immediate pressure on Justin Gilbert to improve, otherwise he will never see the field. I think Pierre Desir will also pressure Gilbert, this is without even talking about the excellent K'waun Williams. Sounds crowded but equals quality depth.
Draft thoughts are done without trade scenarios
#12....Danny Shelton NT Washington...the addition of Shelton would give a Browns defense the first interior DL to rush the QB since Michael Dean Perry. With that it will provide more chaos from the outside pass rush as well. Shelton is as disruptive as BJ Raji was in his prime. Kruger and Mingo's output will be better with his addition, especially with two quality CBs to cover in the passing game. Shelton started all 39 games over the last three seasons.Had amazing production from the NT position for Washington in his true senior season. 88 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks and 5 fumble recoveries FROM THE NOSE TACKLE POSITION.
#19....Todd Gurley RB Georgia...despite the tandem of West and Crowell entering their second year, neither is a game breaker like Gurley can be. Gurley was just pronounced fit and ready to be drafted and healthy enough to enter camp. At 6'2 225 he is the biggest quality back in the early rounds. Gurley would give Cleveland a unique trifecta of backs to control any game. At Georgia he had 36 rushing and 6 receiving TDs. Averaged 6.4 yards per carry in his three year, 30 game career in the SEC.
#43...Garret Grayson QB Colorado State...athletic, above average arm...played some in a pro-style
#77...Josh Harper WR Fresno State...outside of Tyler Lockett of Kansas State Harper is the most productive WR over the last two seasons in receptions and yardage and TDs
#111...Shaq Thompson LB Washington...is the closest to a Cam Chancellor as there is in this draft.
#115...Jesse James TE Penn State at 6'7" 255 lbs. he offers a size advantage, and useful in a goal line setting
#143...Ali Marpet OL Hobart...Dominant D-III left tackle that projects inside at C-G. Has lots of upside and athleticism and a farme that could add 20-25 lbs. and not lose athleticism.
#189... Tayo Fabuluje OL TCU...monsterous OL, dominant run blocker and at 6'7" 355 lbs. with good straight line quickness
#202...Zack Wagenmann DE Montana...33 sacks total at DE in a 4-3 with 17.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles coming last year, with pass rush skills and high motor he could be a good situational pass rusher and good nspecial teamer
#229...Dres Anderson..WR Utah...Flipper Anderson's son 134 catches in four years at Utah....could be a solid #3 capable of playing wide or in the slot, has good hands in traffic
Players I like that are perhaps slightly off the radar:
QB Taylor Heinicke Old Dominion...although smallish (6'1" 210 lbs.) he completed 68.7, 68.7, 70.0 and 63.2% in almost 2,000 attempts.Had 132 Tds, 39 Ints, plus 1,300 rushing and 22 Tds
RB David Johnson Northern Iowa...had 6,300 yards total offense, 4,500 rushing, 1,800 receiving and had 64 TD's combined rushing and receiving, solid three down ability, as much as I like Charles Sims in last years draft as a dual purpose RB, I like Johnson even more...big enough, could project to an H-back or Fb and provide a unique catching skills, perhaps a Tom Rathman comes to mind (6', 225 lbs.)
WR Darren Waller Georgia Tech, despite the offense they run his unique size at 6'6"/240 provide a good goalline threat. Very athletic, and matchup problems exist.
TE Nick O'Leary Florida State, outstanding pass catcher, bit slow and undersized, reminds me of Owen Daniels...four year starter...
OL Jake Fisher Oregon, high quality player who will likely move to RT in the NFL
Corey Robinson South Carolina, enormous at 6'8" 345 #, better run blocker than pass blocker
DL Ellis McCarthy UCLA, has the size to play inside or outside in a 3-4 at 6'5" 330, very good feet for his size
LB Hauoli Kikaha Washington, 30 sacks in last two seasons, situational prospect, led NCAA in sacks 2014
CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu Oregon Ball hawking corner who had an amazing 8 FF for a CB.
Kevin Herbst, President
Portland Browns Backers