Browns: Who Should Cleveland Look To Draft And Keep?


It is not too early to look at the offseason for the Cleveland Browns. What players should stay with the team and who should the Browns target in the draft?

I am not sure if Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer wanted to draft QB Johnny Manziel or not. I hated the pick, but so far Manziel looks like a rookie that has started only a few games in the NFL.  Starting Manziel the rest of the season is the right decision because he earned it.

The Browns must let Manziel play, see different coverages, and learn the NFL game. If he continues to improve over the next six months at the same rate he has improved over the last six, he could legitimately be the starter next year.

Then again, maybe not. Either way, whether Farmer wanted to draft Manziel or not, he did. Famer invested the pick in him, so see what he can do!

If Manziel can play, the Browns could draft someone other than a quarterback in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Farmer might look like a genius after this is all said and done. I like many of the players that Farmer have brought in, but the WR Terrelle Pryor situation, along with the free agent acquisition of WR Dwayne Bowe and other strange occurrences have left me believing that the Browns could do better.

Farmer should not be fired today. Not unless Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has already found a suitable replacement. That is likely not the case though, and after the season ends there will be time to find the right replacement. Haslam needs to get it right this time.

Browns head coach Mike Pettine is a good football coach but he is not a good head football coach in the NFL. He should stick to defensive coordinator as his current position is too much for him. Pettine is overmatched and outcoached every week.

However, Browns DC Jim O’Neal should be fired immediately. If such a firing happened, maybe that would buy Pettine some time? If not, Pettine should now be fired and someone else should coach the team on an interim basis until the end of the season. The next head coach should be hired in the offseason.

The Browns need a coach that is contemporary. They need a young guy that wants to put on a show on offense and dominate with star power.

If Farmer truly wants to “minimize the quarterback position,” he should have been replaced yesterday. The game is set up for teams to pass the ball and the roster needs to demonstrate that fact.

If Manziel improves enough to earn the starting gig, the Browns could spend their first round pick on a player like Ohio State DE Joey Bosa or they could trade the pick for additional picks. Either of those decisions would be huge for the Browns.

Going a step further, if WR Josh Gordon is healthy and hungry to play, the Browns wouldn’t need to spend a high draft pick on a wide receiver either. If Manziel and Gordon are good to go, the Browns should trade their first pick if they can get another team’s first, second, third and fourth round draft picks.

Should a team makes that trade, Cleveland would have a first, two seconds, two thirds, two fourths, four fifths, one sixth, and two seventh round picks. That’s fourteen picks, which is two drafts worth!

I know that sounds like a lot and it is. However, I bet there will be a team drafting somewhere in the twenties that is in love with California QB Jared Goff or Memphis QB Paxton Lynch and will be willing to trade many picks to get him. If there is no such team, then draft Bosa, Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith, or Ole Miss T Laremy Tunsil.

What could a Browns draft class look like?

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By passing up on Bosa, Smith, and Tunsil the Browns could pocket a group of players like Derrick Henry, a big bruising running back from Alabama, in the first round. Then in the second,  Jayron Kearse, a 6’4″ safety from Clemson with corner cover skills, and LSU’s OT Jerald Hawkins would be smart.

Cleveland will then be able to afford to take more linemen. Denver Kirkland, a massive guard from the power running Arkansas Razorbacks, and Austin Johnson, a defensive tackle from Penn State who can stop the run and rush the quarterback in the third round would be great choices.

With two picks in the fourth options for more defensive help includes Penn State DE Carl Nassib and Rutgers DE Kemoko Turay. If those guys go early then another safety to grab would be Middle Tennessee State’s Kevin Byard. He’s a ball-hawk who can tackle.Other defensive players who would be welcomed additions to their respective positions that may slide to the fourth round includes Auburn LB Cassanova McKinzy, LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith, Utah DE Hunter Dimick, and Oklahoma State DE Jimmy

With their four fifth round picks, the Browns could get a lot of receiving help with wide receivers such as Stanford’s Devon Cajuste, UNC’s Mack Hollins, Toledo’s Alonzo Russell, Arkansas’ Keon Hatcher, and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller. There will also be some quality tight ends such as OSU’s Nick Vannett, ECU’s Bryce Williams, and WKU’s Tyler Higbee.

The wide receiver and tight end positions are two positions that Cleveland can really get a steal or two at this point of the draft. There are just so many good players at both of these positions.

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So, Haslam should keep Manziel and even McCown, but he should replace Farmer and Pettine. If Farmer would take a demotion and stay to help evaluate talent, I would consider keeping him.  The same goes for Pettine. If he’d be interested in being the defensive coordinator, that would be ideal.

Cleveland should keep TE Gary Barnidge and WRs Brian Hartline and Gordon. Those three are the only three players from the WR and TE positions that should be kept.

The starting offensive line of T Joe Thomas, G Joel Bitonio, C Alex Mack, G John Greco, and Mitchell Schwartz all should stay with the team.

Along the defensive line, Danny Shelton, Xavier Cooper, Jamie Meder, Desmond Bryant, and Armonty Bryant would get to remain in Cleveland. Christian Kirksey, Nate Orchard and Tank Carder are the only linebackers I would keep.

Next: Johnny Manziel Is Starting For The Rest Of The Season

CB Charles Gaines, S Ibraheim Campbell,  CB Tramon Williams, CB K’Waun Williams, CB Pierre Desir, S Tashaun Gipson and S Jordan Poyer are all I’d keep from the secondary. So that’s about twenty-five players.

Too bad it’s not up to me.