Watkins is the number 2 player on the DBN big board. Only an unstoppable pass rushing force is higher. It makes me think about half of all Browns fans would be doing cartwheels of joy if he were the pick. Several top NFL writers have mocked Watkins to Cleveland(Kirwan and Schein to name two). And the odds of him being available at pick 4 I'd say are 50/50. He could be a top 3 pick, but who knows.
So let's say he WAS the pick. What would that mean for the Browns? Well first of all I believe tens of thousands of Browns fans all over the country would have their feet in the air on their way to grounded hugs, high fives, and tears of joy. It's hard not to love the pick. From pro scouts to armchair quarterbacks to casual fans, the guy has worn his fair share of "sure thing" labels.
He would immediately be declared a day one starter and would line up across the field from Josh Gordon. Andrew Hawkins would take position in the slot, and Jordan Cameron would be on the end of the O-line. That O-line would probably read(from left to right) Thomas, Pinkston, Mack, Greco, Schwarz. Brian Hoyer would be under center. And Ben Tate would be the RB. It's possible that a rookie G could start on the line, though I'm not sure how dramatic the upgrade would be. But I don't think it's possible that a rookie QB would beat out Hoyer, not one drafted at 26 or later anyway.
I'm having a hard time with this one. There are a few top QB prospects this year, and there's a good chance one of them will be available at 4. I'm dying to draft one of them. I want the all-rookie QB who becomes an all-pro. I want the face of the franchise that leads fourth-quarter comebacks and commands playoff runs. I don't want a WR2 that gets 9 targets a game.
This offense though is intriguing. What if Watkins catches 8 of those 9 targets for 121 yards and a touchdown. Combine that with 100 yards out of Gordon and moderate contributions from Hawkins and Cameron. Throw in 80 rushing yards from Ben Tate and a few more on reverses run by the dynamic wideouts. This looks like the kind of offense that might average 400 yards a week and score 3 or 4 TD's.
All that would depend on Hoyer and the O-line. The O-line looks better than average with 2 all-pros, and Hoyer would definitely have to play as well as he did in 2 games last year. But asking him to be consistent and hold up over the course of 16 games is asking something new of him. In horse racing they say never bet on a horse to do something it never has. Hoyer has thrown 7 TD's in 6 years. It might be asking a lot of him to be the field general for 16 games(maybe 18 or 19 we hope). It seems clear that talent is needed behind him on the depth chart.
I would have to temper my enthusiasm with this pick. My heels would not be going over my head. Since a QB would more than likely be taken at pick 26 or 35, then it's possible no more than one starter-caliber player is added during draft weekend to what I would currently call an average defense. Which means it would really be up to Pettine to coach the D up to a playoff level.
It would be pretty cool though to have what might be the best receiving corps the NFL has seen in a while. Even a Matt Ryan who throws to Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, and Roddy White would probably be jealous of Brian Hoyer in this scenario. However that trio never did get to the big game, and I can't help think that what they were missing was more help on defense. And if the Browns selected Khalil Mack or traded back a couple spots for a Justin Gilbert or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would that help this team more than Watkins in the long run?
Part of my brain though is performing mental gymnastics considering the thought of pairing Watkins and Gordon. I believe most of the pleasure would come from the look on Dick LeBeau's face when the Clemson WR's name was called at the podium. I believe there would be 2 games on the schedule this year in which Troy Polamalu might look to be running in slow-motion while Ike Taylor and William Gay recalled fonder memories from their early twenties. Watkins on the Browns would surely be a nightmare for secondaries around the league, but just how crazy and horrific of a nightmare would be determined by the Browns QB.