In our Fansided Locals and NFL Sites 2014 NFL Mock Draft the Cleveland Browns selected Cyrus Kouandjio to pair with #4 pick Johnny Manziel to provide new blood to a stagnant offense. We take a look at the selection below, take a moment to look at the first 26 picks so far in our draft here.
The Browns had a number of options in this position, including a number of wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs. The Browns could decide against a wide receiver here for a couple reason: 1) They may sign one in free agency, 2) Rookie wide receivers tend to not produce until at least their 2nd or 3rd year and 3) This wide receiver class is very deep and the Browns have 7 picks in the first 4 rounds to pick up a WR or two. A corner or safety could be of interest as well but with Dennard, Gilbert, Dix, Pryor and Roby all off the board the pickings were much slimmer. This front office has shown little value in the running back position so it is highly unlikely that they would use the pick gained from trading Trent Richardson on another running back.
The Browns struggled to run the ball last year, and the year before, etc. While some of that has to do with schemes it also has something to do with the makeup of the offensive line. The line has talent, especially Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, but does not boast a great deal of strength. Often in running plays the Browns lineman are pushed backwards making things tough on running backs. Finding a strong tackle who can move people will go along way to improving the running play. Getting to move Mitchell Schwartz inside, where his strength could be a bigger factor, is a secondary benefit to this move.
Kouandjio has a great deal of talent. He is unrefined in alot of ways but getting him with the 26th pick is a steal. Similar in build and style to Andre Smith, Kouandjio may never move over to the left side in his career, but has the upside to do so. In fact he has the upside to be the best offensive lineman drafted this year. Coming to the Browns where he can start on the right side for a few years, hopefully a long time with Thomas on the left, allows him to develop over time. He also can have an immediate impact on a team in dire need of such. Paired with Manziel, Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron, Thomas and Mack, the Browns have a solid makeup on the offensive side of the ball and still 8 more picks (5 more in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds) to improve both sides of the ball more.
What do you think of the Kouandjio pick? Do you like the player but not like choosing another offensive lineman in the first round? Do you think he has a chance to be a high end lineman or a Alabama failure? Talk to us in the comments section or follow us on Twitter here.