4) Who’s the pick at No. 8?
KRIS: If the Browns stay at #8, I think there are some interesting players. Despite my opposition for moving down to #8 from #2, the Browns may get lucky and a top-5 player could drop to them. Some players to watch would be DE DeForest Buckner, LB Myles Jack, OT Laremy Tunsil, DE Joey Bosa, or RB Ezekiel Elliott. My concern is who knows who will be there at #8. It’s more likely that the Browns could be looking at the next tier of players. Guys like OT Ronnie Stanley to replace Mitchell Schwartz at Right Tackle, WR LaQuan Treadwell to fill the shoes of suspended WR Josh Gordon, CB’s Eli Apple or Vernon Hargreaves, LB Leonard Floyd, or possibly QB Paxton Lynch. However, at #8 I hope that the Browns don’t consider Lynch. If they trade back to 13 or 15 that might be more of his “value” but 8 is too high.
That said, if I have to lock the Browns down into one player, I’m probably going with OT like Ronnie Stanley or Jack Conklin. Why? Because I get the feeling that this new regime is going to want to build this team slowly, and the way you build a team slowly is to start with the trenches. The Browns lost two starting linemen in RT Schwartz and C Alex Mack. While second year player Cameron Erving will probably move in to play Center, he struggled mightily last season. The new Browns regime will likely want to work on securing the line with another high draft pick on the offensive line.
That said, it’s definitely not my preference. I would much rather have Treadwell as a playmaking WR, a RB like Elliott if he’s still on the board, or an impact defensive player. I just see Sashi Brown enjoying the idea of playing the analytics game and wanting to give his eventual franchise QB the chance to succeed behind a solid offensive line.
JOE: Finally! Someone else that see the value in Ronnie Stanley! Not only is he a current right tackle, he is a future left tackle without the injury history of a Laremy Tunsil. If not a tackle, you grab the best offensive skill player on the board, which is likely to be Ezekiel Elliot or LaQuan Treadwell. Someone has to provide a jolt to the offense. It’s hard for me to lean offense when the Browns defense was just so bad. If defense is the priority Myles Jack and Leonard Floyd would be in the mix since it’s safe to assume Jalen Ramsey and Joey Bosa will both be off the board by number 8. I agree with Kris that I’d rather see a playmaker taken in round one, but there’s so many needs out there.
KRIS: The only problem I have with taking an offensive tackle is how many top round linemen the do you need? Most teams pick a left tackle or a center in the first couple rounds, then fill out the line with lower picks and un-drafted guys. The Browns seem to always feel this need to draft high round offensive linemen. It’s not like it’s worked to their benefit in the past though. In fact, I’m of the opinion that if the Browns can get wide receivers who can get open, running backs who can hit holes, or quarterbacks who can make things happen quickly, an offensive line can look better no matter who’s there.
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If someone like Ronnie Stanley is the pick, it’s definitely a move for today and the future. Like you pointed out Joe, he comes in as a right tackle for now, then moves to left tackle when Joe Thomas decides to call it quits on his Hall of Fame career. It wouldn’t be the worst of moves, even though someone like Stanley isn’t the playmaker this team desperately needs.
At the end of the night on Thursday though, the Cleveland Browns are going to likely draft someone. When it happens they’ll instantly become the focus of love or hate from the fans for years to come.
JOE: Tell the Cowboys that you cannot have enough top of the draft lineman. It’s a true chicken and egg question, right? But you have to start somewhere and I wouldn’t want a top of the draft quarterback to get David Carr syndrome because there isn’t an NFL offensive line in front of him. Stanley presents great value and great talent at number 8. The Browns could do far worse there and really, have a ton of options if a guy like Stanley is not the pick.