"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, we take a look at how the Browns can really improve at the wide receiver position quickly, the rule changes that were confirmed this past week at the owners meetings, and more.
As it stands right now, my favorite first-round scenario for the Cleveland Browns in April's draft is for them to come away with a wide receiver and a right tackle. Contrary to conventional wisdom, though, is the fact that the Browns don't have to go receiver first, right tackle second. While it seems like almost like a crime to have to waste the talents of Matt Kalil at right tackle (given the fact that he might be the next closest thing to a Joe Thomas), doesn't that sound great to have the best tackle combination in football, plus a new receiver to go along with Greg Little in the starting lineup? That's the type of Devil's Advocate argument that Bernie19Kosar made yesterday. After the jump, let's take a look at how things can get interesting depending on what the Vikings do at No. 3 overall.
If the Vikings decide to pass on Kalil at No. 3 overall, they will probably go with wide receiver Justin Blackmon or cornerback Morris Claiborne. While Kalil is a great talent, surely Cleveland would have the opportunity to acquire even more picks via a trade situation. If the Browns trade down a couple of spots, I'm thinking that Riley Reiff could still be available. That trade could net the Browns either an extra first-rounder next year, or an extra second-rounder in this year's draft, depending on who would trade up with them. After taking Reiff, Cleveland would have their choice of several pretty good receiving prospects after Blackmon. They also have enough ammunition to trade up (if necessary) a few spots for a Michael Floyd, without crippling their draft. That's the benefit of having a league-leading 13 draft picks.
What inspired this line of thinking? In the SB Nation Mock Draft over at Mocking the Draft, I went with Blackmon at No. 4 overall. My plan had been to let a right tackle fall to Cleveland at No. 22 overall. The best-case scenario was that Jonathan Martin would still be available, while the worst-case scenario was that I would settle for Mike Adams. I was pretty surprised to see the Bills take Adams off the board at No. 10 overall, and Martin was already gone too. There wasn't a single defensive prospect that "wow'ed" me to take them at that point (Zach Brown and Nick Perry came to mind, but I felt underwhelmed with taking them in the first round). Although the pick is not up on the site yet, I decided to go with another receiver: Kendall Wright of Baylor. This is the year the Browns really need to improve the offense. For years, the receiver position has been ridiculed. Why not just "start over completely" with a trio of Blackmon, Wright, and Greg Little? The fourth and fifth guys could be Jordan Norwood and Joshua Cribbs. That means "goodbye" to Mohammed Massaquoi and Carlton Mitchell.
SB Nation has a summary of the new rules that did and didn't pass, or that were tabled until the May meetings. The rules that were tabled included the roster-related ones (i.e. the trade deadline and the injured reserve changes). There are two big rules that we'll have to adjust to this year. First, the postseason overtime rules will be adopted for the regular season as well. Second, offenses can no longer have a "free play" when the defense has 12 men on the field. Instead, it'll be a dead ball foul and an automatic five-yard penalty. That's the rule that kind of irks me, because I liked rewarding the offense for a defensive mistake. However, it's not a crippling rule by any means, and is something I'll surely get over. The type of rule I still haven't gotten over is the change made to kickoffs last year.
I'd like to thank everyone for making the month of March a record-breaking one in terms of visitors for Dawgs By Nature! That's right -- March was even able to conquer the historic months of April we have had. Props to Jon @ DBN, Bernie19Kosar, and rufio, who have all made my job a lot easier by bringing fresh, high-quality articles to the site. Our Twitter and Facebook teams have also done a nice job making both of our social media outlets more prominent than before. Lastly, I'd like to welcome the newest addition of our staff. You can find his name under the "moderators" section at the bottom of the home page.