Mocking the Draft: Browns Review, Needs and Targets

Hey there Browns fans, I'm shake'n'bake the blogger covering the AFC North for Mocking The Draft. Here's a look at my initial eval of the team, roster and their needs. Anything I missed are any of you want to add? What prospects do you all like?

A letdown season after very nearly making the playoffs last season led to a new GM, Head Coach and Starting Quarterback for the Cleveland Browns going into next season. Stats Record Scoring Off.
Total Off.
Pass Off.
Rush Off. Scoring Def. Total Def. Pass Def. Rush Def.
4-12 31st 31st 31st 26th 17th 26th 14th 28th
Football Outsiders Pythag Wins
Total DVOA
Offense DVOA
Pass Off.
Rush Off.
Defense DVOA
Pass Def. Rush Def.
5.9 28th 30th 32nd 20th 17th 17th 22nd 4th


So who is to blame for the 2nd least productive and the least efficient passing offense?

Well for once "blame the quarterback(s)" isn't a gross oversimplification. 4 QBs threw 25+ passes for the Browns, each one performed below replacement level (including an impressively awful -192.5% DVOA for Gradkowski) and they combined for -626 DYAR. They did this while receiving some of the best protection in the league (7th least sacks allowed, 8th in FO's adjusted sack rate). They didn't get much help from the wide receivers who combined for 22 drops (16 of them from Braylon Edwards), but even added the drops to the receptions, half of the passes to WRs were neither caught nor dropped. Brady Quinn didn't light the world on fire in his first run as a starter, but QBs rarely do, he's their guy. A surehanded #2 WR would be a big help to the offense to compliment the explosive Edwards and star TE Kellen Winslow.

The run game was the better half of the offense, but was still sub-par and featured the unfortunate combination of being among the worst in the league in both short yardage success and runs of 10+ yards. FO's numbers implicate both the OL and Jamal Lewis. Lewis was below average, but above replacement level and the OL ranked 21st in adjusted line yards. The bright side is that the 3 other Browns to carry the ball 20+ times did so very well. James Harrison, Josh Cribbs and Jason Wright were all above average per carry, Cribbs and Harrison especially, Harrison ranked as the 2nd best RB per play (minimum 20 carries) this season. The Browns need to replace Jamal Lewis, but they have at the very least a great change of pace back.

Cleveland's D was middle of the pack against the pass despite an anemic pass rush and was below average, but not awful against the run. The Browns recorded the 3rd least sacks in the NFL this year, so for the total pass D to rank 12 spots higher than the pass rush, the secondary and the LBs in coverage had to have been pretty good.

Despite the addition of Shaun Rodgers, the Browns DL was blown off the ball against the run (though they remained one of the best against short yardage runs). They ranked dead last in adjusted line yards and rarely stuffed run plays.

DE, OLB, CB, WR and RB are all needs for the Browns coming into the draft. MtD head scout Mocking Dan ranks these players at need positions within 6 spots of the Browns #5 pick.


1. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State, 6'0, 200

2. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech 6’3, 214

3. Aaron Curry OLB, Wake Forest, 6’2, 246

6. Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas, 6’4, 260

8. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia, 5’11, 208

9. Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC, 6’2, 260

10. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri, 6’1, 200

11. Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois, 6'0, 204

Dan's pick for Cleveland,

5. Cleveland Browns
Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest: Cleveland needs leadership and playmaking ability in it's linebacking unit, and Curry is arguably the most talented player in the draft. The Browns could also look to cornerbacks Malcolm Jenkins or Vontae Davis, but linebacker is a greater priority.

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