So the first day of the draft is in the record books. After a startling performance by the Browns I think most fans are waking up today knowing that their Dawgs are thinking to the future and doing the only thing that a team with a lot of holes can do to get better--obtain lots of draft picks. If the past is any indicator of the future, Cleveland just pulled off a coup and still landed a pretty good player in the first round. So what will the team of Heckert and Holgren add to the squad in day two?
The number one glaring need on the team is still probably wide receiver. But with the new defense, DE cannot be overlooked for too long either. Even with the addition of the force of Taylor in the middle, the Browns have to fortify their pass rush off the end. And could another defensive back make the defensive line better by making opposing quarterbacks wait in the pocket? Also, the Cleveland front office has been pretty definite in stating they would take a quarterback somewhere in the draft. Will they do this today?
- Wide Receiver -Though there is a significant drop-off after Green and Jones in the 2011 draft, there are a large number of 2nd tier receivers who are very similar in overall grade. Randall Cobb and Torrey Smith are two that had a chance of sneaking into the first round. Cobb is somewhat undersized but runs great routes and has excellent intangibles. There are some questions about Smith's hands as well as an injury concern with his ankle. Titus Young from Boise State is very quick and sure handed but at 174 lbs who is he going to block? One interesting name you might not have heard of is Greg Little of North Carolina. At 6-2 and 231 lbs, Little has great hands, good speed and a talent for tracking the ball. Keep an eye on Little.
- Defensive End - The elephant in the room is Da'Quan Bowers. With Bowers it is all about the knee. 32 teams passed on him in the first round but Heckert has stated for the record that the knee is not an issue and that it has been cleared by his medical staff. Will he put his money where his mouth is an give Bowers a Browns jersey with the 37th overall pick? Also watch for the Browns to show some interest in Brooks Reed. Reed is a speedy pass rush specialist who plays with a non-stop motor and is good at sealing the run on the outside edge.
- Linebacker - Maybe not a prime need for the Browns this has to be considered because Akeem Ayers is still on the board. Ayers is a top athlete with good quickness and great durability having played for 3 years virtually injury-free. He is an excellent student and has shown great leadership on the field. Getting a solid, young linebacker would be a good move for the Cleveland defense.
- Corner Back - A year ago Ras-I Dowling was a top projection at corner back. Last year a string of leg injuries kept him off the field and has clearly depressed his value to most teams. When healthy however, Dowling is a first-rate cover back with great instinct and decent speed.
- Quarterback - Colt is our guy. But can we pass on Ryan Mallett if he continues to drop? Character is an issue but maybe speed is the real sticking point with a lot of teams as Mallett is one of the slowest QBs to come out in years. But is that really an issue in the AFC North? Think Ben Roethlisberger with a better arm. Mallett throws a ball that will slice through the Cleveland winter winds and comes from a complex, pro-style offense. Some teams have him graded as the best quarterback in the draft.
With a lot of good players still on the board and two picks in the second round of the draft, Browns fans are in for another interesting night.