For the second straight year, the Cleveland Browns have two first-round picks in their arsenal. Despite a better-than-expected 7-9 record last season, the Browns received very little impact from either first-rounder though, with cornerback Justin Gilbert toiling on the bench and quarterback Johnny Manziel losing the only two games he started.
So it could be back to the drawing board at quarterback for general manager Ray Farmer, with Josh McCown signed in free agency. But there doesn't seem to be an option at the position worthy of a first-round pick beyond Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. The consensus seems to be that if Cleveland holds onto both of their first-round picks (they also have No. 19), they'll look to draft a wide receiver and a defensive lineman. But which one would they go with first?
If it's wide receiver, Central Florida's Breshad Perriman could be the guy to replace Josh Gordon. At 6-2, 212, and with blazing speed, Perriman has the ability to take over as Cleveland's downfield threat. With Amari Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker off the board, the next crop of receivers beyond Perriman includes Jaelen Strong of Arizona State and Nelson Agholor of Arizona State. Dorial Green-Beckham has all kinds of talent, but it's hard to envision Cleveland picking a receiver with that kind of off-field baggage.
Along the defensive line, Arik Armstead is the top player on the board but he may not fit what Cleveland is looking for in Mike Pettine's defense. Of the beefier guys, there's little consensus on the separation between Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown, Eddie Goldman and Jordan Phillips. But that's the fun of playing general manager, you get to decide which would fit best.
Cleveland has other needs of course. Paul Kruger and former first-round pick Barkevious Mingo have been an unspectacular combination at outside linebacker, so either Randy Gregory or, more likely, Bud Dupree would make sense here. Cleveland is actually pretty strong up front in its offensive line, but perhaps La'El Collins would stand out as the top guy on the board
Finally, we'll once again make the pitch that this could be the landing spot for Georgia running back Todd Gurley, the consensus top back in the draft who has reportedly is looking good in his recovery from a torn ACL. With the second first-rounder to address a needier position and no running backs on the roster who rushed for more than 700 yards last season, maybe the Browns view Gurley as the key to their 2015 offense.
As always, you make the call.
- 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Jameis Winston
- 2. Tennessee Titans: DL Leonard Williams
- 3. Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Dante Fowler, Jr.
- 4. Oakland Raiders: WR Amari Cooper
- 5. Washington Redskins: LB Vic Beasley
- 6. New York Jets: QB Marcus Mariota
- 7. Chicago Bears: WR Kevin White
- 8. Atlanta Falcons: LB Shane Ray
- 9. New York Giants: T/G Brandon Scherff
- 10. St. Louis Rams: WR DeVante Parker
- 11. Minnesota Vikings: CB Trae Waynes