April 27, 2012; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren in attendance during a press conference at the Cleveland Brown training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Do you know what we found out today? The front office must be pretty content sticking with the likes of Greg Little, Joshua Cribbs, Mohamed Massaquoi, and Jordan Norwood at wide receiver for another year.
The Cleveland Browns entered the second day of the draft with two draft picks: No. 37 overall in round two, and No. 67 overall in round three. There were a lot of interesting prospects on the board when the Browns were on the clock at No. 37, particularly at offensive tackle. The top-rated available players remaining at that position included Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin, , and Bobbie Massie. Tom Heckert and company passed on all of those players, and instead decided to take Mitchell Schwartz, an offensive tackle out of California.
Schwartz has experience at right tackle and left tackle; unlike some of the aforementioned players, the Browns don't have to risk him making a transition at the NFL level. He started every game in college and has a good sense of toughness, according to reports. The best thing about this pick is that, regardless of who else was available, Cleveland got their starting right tackle. With their first three picks, Cleveland got three new starters on offense.
Ultimately, those first three picks are what mattered. Sure, you hope to find some gems with the rest of your draft picks, but when the third round began, the thought of "sequentially picking the next position of need" does not have to be applied. If the wide receivers available in the third round were not rated very high by the front office, why draft them? Instead, they'd be better served taking a player they significantly scouted (presumably) and were really high on.
That's apparently what happened in the third round. Just when the third round began, it was revealed that the Broncos swapped third-round picks with Cleveland. The Browns moved down 20 spots to No. 87 overall and also acquired Denver's fourth-round pick at No. 120 overall. With the 87th pick in the draft, the Browns selected defensive tackle John Hughes out of Cincinnati. The 6-2, 309 pounder projects to be a rotational defensive lineman.
Position-wise, there is nothing wrong with taking a defensive tackle. Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin are the clear starters, but both of them, particularly Rubin, has been overworked in his young career. It'd be nice to have a good third defensive tackle who can spell him without too much of a dropoff. That isn't the issue that fans had with the pick, though. Fans questioned why the team didn't take a more highly-rated defensive tackle. To that, all I have to say is this: Heckert said he was worried that his decision to trade back would cost him -- he got nervous that someone else would grab him. That might seem illogical given the fact that he was projected by the media to go undrafted, but if he was rated that high on Heckert's board, a notoriously good drafter, who am I to question him? Particularly because probably every one of us have no idea first-hand on how this Hughes kid plays.
Cleveland can still grab a receiver on Day 3 of the draft. They have the following picks remaining:
Round 4: No. 100 (5th in round), No. 120 (25th in round)
Round 5: No. 160 (25th in round)
Round 6: No. 204 (34th in round), No. 205 (35th in round)
Round 7: No. 245 (38th in round), No. 247 (40th in round)
Out of those picks, the Browns can take a flier on a couple of receivers and let them compete in training camp to see if they can replace someone like Massaquoi. If not, then guess what? We can't improve our entire offense all in one season, as much as we'd like to. We've literally added three new offensive starters; if those guys perform well this season, we can either draft receivers next year, or we will have shown enough to attract a big-name free agent receiver. That's far down the road though -- for now, let's wait back and see how Day 3 goes Saturday from noon onward.