Let me preface this by saying what follows is NOT a mock draft. This the way The Kidd would draft if he were the GM of the Cleveland Browns. The major areas within the Browns that I feel must be addressed in the near future are Wide Receiver, Offensive Tackle, Safety, Cornerback, Offensive Guard, and Quarterback.
Now, if Big Daddy ran the Browns:
#4. Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
#26. Bradley Roby CB Ohio State
#35. Allen Robinson WR Penn State
#71. Dri Archer WR Kent State.
#83. Dion Bailey FS Southern California
#106. Aaron Murray QB Georgia
#127. De'Anthony Thomas RB Oregon
#145. Ed Stinson DE Alabama
#180. Ahmad Dixon SS Baylor
#218. John Urschel OG Penn State
(Justifications and analysis behind the approach to the draft)
- WR: I think the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich put it best in an earlier draft analysis: Greg Little "simply doesn’t cut it." Ulrich specifies that the Browns need a viable No. 2 receiver to go along with Pro Bowlers Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron (and the addition of Andrew Hawkins in the slot is not enough). Fortunately, a crop of promising WRs are available in this draft, led by Sammy Watkins. Possibly available at #4, the former Clemson standout is widely considered to be "the best wide receiver prospect since 2011, when the Bengals took A.J. Green with the fourth pick and the Falcons traded up to get Julio Jones at No. 6." The previous sentiment, belonging to Mike O’Hara of detroitlions.com, is shared by draft analysts far and wide.
- OT: Nate Ulrich has mentioned that the Browns could possibly be looking to upgrade the right tackle position. Chris Pokorny of DBN highlighted Schwartz’s struggles and even wrote about ways of keeping extra blockers in to help him late last season. If the Browns decide to make a change at the tackle position in the draft, they could be drawing from a talent pool consisting of exceptional talents like Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews ("all possible top-10 picks" according to chicagobears.com’s Larry Mayer). With Pro Bowler Joe Thomas at LT, any tackle draftee, even the aforementioned big three, would play RT, following the Jacksonville Jaguar’s 2013 draft blueprint. Luke Joeckel, the second overall pick last year, was the team’s starting right tackle going into the 2013 season. Perhaps an exceptional left tackle like Matthews, a four-year starter at A&M who started also 26 games at right tackle before replacing Joeckel last season at LT, is the best fit for the Browns.
Mayer has also mentioned Notre Dame's Zack Martin, Virginia's Morgan Moses, Alabama's Cyrus Kouandijo and Nevada's Joel Bitonio as tackles that could also go in the first round.
- S: While most likely not as deep as the OT pool, the Safety class coming into this draft makes it one of the more highly touted positions. Led by Alabama’s Consensus All-American Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor (projected Top 15 selections according to nfl.si.com), this draft class provides major weapons for defenses looking to combat the ever evolving 21st century passing game. Beyond them Terrence Brooks (Florida State), Dion Bailey (USC), Marqueston Huff (Wyoming) are highly accomplished free safety prospects that the Browns may be interested in after signing strong safety Donte Whitner in free agency.
- CB: While Buster Skrine has proven himself to be a competent starter across from Joe Haden, the disparity from one side of the field to the other has been an issue since 2010 and the weakness is frequently exploited.
- QB: While there is certainly talent in this draft at the quarterback position, there are several prospects at other positions that are better (Clowney, Mack, Robinson, Watkins, Matthews - to name a few). When compared to the QB prospects in this draft, I am more certain that all of the aforementioned could come into the 2014 Cleveland Browns and make an impact immediately given what’s in place. Prior to injury, Brian Hoyer proved himself to be competent enough to earn a shot to start in 2014, but there is a lack of depth at the position (even with the recent additions of veteran QBs Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen) that can be addressed in this draft without being detrimental to a gradual rebuild. As fans of the Browns should know, nothing sets a team back more than missing on a first round quarterback. They’re years away from competing for a Super Bowl, but could be further away if they miss on a quarterback at #4. Considering the prospects, this is not the time to draft THE NEXT STARTING QUARTERBACK.