With the NFL Draft less than four days away, teams are making the final effort to try and get the player they want. Teams are throwing up smoke screens, talking about first round trades and bringing in players for private workouts. The Cleveland Browns are one of the teams that no one has any idea what they will. New general manager, Ray Farmer, has the advantage of secrecy going into his first draft ever. Here is a list of potential 1st round picks the Browns have been talking about taking at pick 4.
One of the Browns biggest needs is at quarterback. Even after signing Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen last week, the Browns still need a young quarterback to become the future after Hoyer. There have been a few names out there but two that really stand out, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr.
Manziel has been one of those question marks by everyone. Will he be an NFL superstar or another college hero gone south like Vince Young, Jamarcus Russell, or Tim Tebow? Manziel’s size was pulled into question as well, but he has the biggest hands (to protect the football) and a top Wonderlic score at the Combine. Even new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has praised Johnny Football. Manziel could bring a new style and attitude to the city and he already has said he would want to win a Super Bowl for the Dawg Pound.
Carr is more of a guy the Browns would trade up from at 26, but have talked about at 4 as well. Carr had great numbers in college but played in a weak conference. Analysts say he has the physical attributes including his size and arm strength, but question his pocket presence under pressure. If the Browns wanted to get a quarterback in the first round, it better be Johnny.
Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins
The top overall wide out in this draft is Sammy Watkins, and lots of teams would love to have him. Watkins may be a bit undersized as a receiver, but his ability to get the yards after the catch, makes him a dynamic receiver. He broke the record for yards (227 yards) in the Discover Bowl against Ohio State. He is currently ranked the 4th overall player in the draft and most annalists have him going to the Browns with the 4th pick.
Watkins makes sense here for the Browns. He would be another upgrade to the receiving corps taking the place of Nate Burleson, and opposite of Pro Bowler Josh Gordon. Opposing defenses will have nightmares trying to figure out whom to guard with Gordon, Watkins, and Pro Bowl Tight End, Jordan Cameron. The Browns won’t have to worry about stressing for a quarterback, because with this receiving trio, Brandon Weeden could look good.
Watkins also would be an insurance pick for Josh Gordon. Gordon already has two strikes on his record for anti-substance abuse policy, and one more strike would cost him an entire season. If the Browns don’t take Watkins and Gordon is in trouble, Burleson or Greg Little would have to line up as our number 1 receiver.
The only trouble with drafting a wide out is the inconsistency of performance. Not many first round wide receivers do well in their first years. According to Greg Bedard, only 12 first round wide outs in the past 5 years have 50 or more receptions as rookies. Ironically, Greg Little made this list at #6 with 61 receptions. If the Browns take Watkins, lets hope he can prove this statistic wrong.
Offensive Tackle- Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews
One of the most important positions on the field is at tackle. But when it comes to the draft, fans hate seeing their team take one as an early pick because they don’t receive the hype like a quarterback (Manziel) or wide out (Watkins). Some believe that an offensive tackle is a safe pick and that the Browns need to upgrade their offensive line. Two names that could be a possibility at this position at number 4 are Auburn’s Greg Robinson and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews.
Both would make for a better right tackle than the Browns currently have in Geoff Schwartz, and would allow for him to move into right guard. The Browns have great leadership on their line to show either one of these guys the ropes in Pro Bowlers Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. With the Browns signing Ben Tate at running back, they need to upgrade their line to be able to set up the run game. Although the fans may hate it, these two could be the best picks at number 4 if still available.