Cleveland Browns 2020 Offseason Needs

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stafanski photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Alright. You know the story! Browns owner Jimmy Haslam pushes the reset button AGAIN! You have a new coach, general manager, and direction. The players try to find a way to manage, the other fans make fun of the team, the local sports analysts act as comedians towards the whole thing, and the fans resume excitement when training camp starts as if nothing catastrophic happened. Again, you know the story. The fans will be sitting through yet another Haslam experiment.

However, it’s still the Cleveland Browns and somehow we still care. Maybe it’s because instead of back to back 4 win seasons the team has had at least 6 wins the past 2 seasons. Maybe it’s because they have the quarterback with the most commercials since Peyton Manning. Or maybe it’s because the defender who slammed a Steeler with their own helmet is eligible to return. Honestly, I don’t 100% know why we care so much. I won’t tell you Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry are a for sure thing, but I can tell you the team is a good offseason away from the playoffs. Still one of the most talented rosters in the league. They just needed some better leadership. So here’s a quick breakdown of their top offseason needs:

OFFENSIVE LINE

There is a good reason I capitalized this one. Despite Nick Chubb’s impressive season and Baker Mayfield being the first Browns quarterback since Tim Couch to start all 16 games, the o-line was trash. Rated 29th overall in the league and was the biggest eye sore on the team all season. Despite all the praise the former general manager got, offensive line was never John Dorsey’s strong point. For starters, the team lacked depth from the beginning. After injuries the team struggled to keep any protection for Mayfield, not that it made much of a difference anyway. They drafted one lineman and he was injured most of the season. The rest were players just fighting to keep their careers going. Looking ahead, they have 2 starters worth keeping around, Pro Bowler Joe Bitonio and center Jason Tretter, who signed a 3 year extension in the middle of the season. Other than that they don’t really have anyone. Chris Hubbard is on an expiring contract, Greg Robinson could go to prison for 20 years, and anyone who played right guard last season is pretty much cut.

Recent reports have stated the team could potentially spend large amounts of money on a few free agents to improve the line. In the past, they have had success with signing veteran o-linemen to long, expensive deals. But now and then you’ll get that one that doesn’t pan out. Browns need to avoid that at all cost, but still should spend for quality. The draft has a few star potential left tackles in the first round this year. They’re still looking for a permanent replacement for Joe Thomas. Some big trade rumors have emerged about Redskins’ Trent Williams and Eagles’ Jason Peters, but I wouldn’t bank on either one happening. Then again, I doubted the Odell Beckham rumors too and looked what happened. Bottom line, Cleveland needs to pick 3 new starters and plenty of back up options if they want to see this line succeed right away.

Safety

During the Hugh Jackson era, safety was a big concern. Teams were making passing plays over the weak backfield like it was nothing. When John Dorsey took over it got fixed. Now it’s an issue again. Damarious Randall will test free agency and most likely will be gone. It is a toss up whether Andrew Berry decides to retain Morgan Burnett or not. Juston Burris and Sheldrick Redwine were decent during the last few games of the season, but didn’t show too much promise as long term options. They don’t want to overlook this position. Every great team has a duo of safeties that help contain the pass game. Unless the Browns want to get lit up again like in 2016 and 17, I suggest grab a few guys that can consistently hold down the role.

Linebacker

Browns will be back to using 3 linebackers and, unfortunately, Joe Schobert is on his way out. Mack Wilson is the only guaranteed starter left on the team. Christian Kirkseyhas been cut and signed with the Packers. Grabbing a few free agents and trying to find a gem in the draft would be one way to go. A good mix of veteran leadership and youth tends to go well for defenses. Browns could use all the help they can get on the defensive side of the ball.

A 3rd and 4th Wide Receiver

Browns marched into the 2019 season believing to have the best wide receiver group in the NFL. Turned out to be a little disappointing. Odell Beckham Jr had a decent season and his best friend Jarvis Landry was a Pro Bowler again. However, they were the only receivers that really did anything all season. Rishard Higgins never really saw the field and isn’t expected to return this season. Antonio Callaway was cut, failed another drug test, and signed with the XFL. Damion Ratley made some noise but never got too many chances. These days, the 3rd wide receiver is critical for most offenses. With all the injuries, it’s important to have mad depth at all positions especially the ones who get knocked around the most. Both Beckham and Landry had surgeries recently. It would be fitting to make sure there is quality back up in case they would need more procedures.

Backup Quarterback

One of the biggest fears for Browns fans is to have the team go on a run and suddenly Baker takes a hit that takes him out for long period of time, or worse, the season. Browns dodged a major bullet last season with Baker staying healthy. Garrett Gilbert was the only backup option and had very little experience at the pro level.

Thankfully, recent reports state that the new front office has signing quarterback number 2 as a high priority when free agency opens. Case Keenum, Chase Daniels, and Marcus Mariota have been a few names mentioned as options. Looking back at the past few seasons, it should be noted when the Eagles won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles in 2018 and the Titans going to the AFC Championship with Ryan Tannehill this past January. The right man could save an entire season should they need him.

Beef Up the Defensive Line

Watching the Browns defensive line was like a rollercoaster. Some games went well and others not so much. Myles Garrett had a disappointing season but was suspended the last 6 games of the season. Olivier Vernon was injured much of the season but didn’t perform up to par when he did play. Sheldon Richardson was solid on and off the field. One of the few bright spots on the line. Larry Ogunjobi put up almost the exact same statistics as he did in 2018.

Last draft, John Dorsey did not take advantage of a deep defensive line class. The team is entering the offseason with minimal depth and potentially a need for a new starting defensive end. Every top NFL team has a strong front 7 on the defensive side of the ball. It is vital to address these positions if they plan on competing for playoff position. Otherwise, they’ll continue to struggle to pressure opposing team quarterbacks and have issues against the run.

Backup Cornerbacks

One of John Dorsey’s strong points was giving his teams quality cornerback depth. It had helped the Browns plenty while dealing with Denzel Ward’s consistent injuries. As of right now, Ward and Greedy Williams are penciled as the starters with veteran Terrance Mitchell as the only reliable backup. It isn’t for sure Mitchell will make the team after the preseason and Ward’s multiple concussions give the organization plenty of concern about his future. It would be wise to grab a couple quality free agents and a sleeper in the draft to help be prepared for anything. It’s a passing league so they need to have as talented of a cornerback squad as possible.

Resign Kareem Hunt

Running back careers seem to be getting shorter with every new generation. Browns have a special player in Nick Chubb. But every good back needs a reliable backup. One of the few things that did go right for the Browns last year was the Chubb and Hunt rotation. It was weapon that irritated defenses and was, unfortunately, not used enough. John Dorseyz who was the reason Hunt signed with the team, is gone. But the Cleveland kid wants to stay home the rest of his career.

There are many different directions Andrew Berry could go with this, but hear me out. Hunt is still young, he is healthy with no history of injuries at the pro level, he wants to make his hometown proud, he produced when he played, and he seems to have a great relationship with the other players. There is a case to be made that he may go cheaper than many expected 2 seasons ago when he was tearing it up in Kansas City. Chubb likes working along side him. Seriously?! What’s the argument against it?! I am aware there was a recent legal problem, but nothing major. Keep him before he goes somewhere where he can hurt you.

*On March 16th, Browns put a 2nd round tender on Hunt.

Tight End depth

One of the few things the Browns have done right since their return in 1999 is always having a reliable tight end or two. Last season, Austin Seferian-Jenkins came out as the top tight end until his injury. Former 1st rounder David Njoku can’t stay healthy and has burned bridges within the organization. Recently, Demetrius Harris was cut. Keeping Jenkins makes sense but they need to make sure they have plenty of backup in case he goes down again. In Minnesota, Stefanski preferred to use blocking tight ends with possession hands for the red zone. Kyle Rudolph thrived in his system. It would be best for Cleveland to sign a veteran or two and draft a young prospect.

*On March 16th, Browns agreed to terms with former Atlanta Falcon Austin Hooper, making him the best paid tight end in the league.

Offseason Predictions for the 2020 Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians ended their 2019 campaign with 93 wins and no playoff birth. Reminds me of the same disappointment I felt in 2005 when the team won 95 games and fell short of the postseason. Even though this was not the result the fans wanted, there are many positives for the 2020 season. With a few good offseason moves and, hopefully, less injuries the Indians could find themselves back into October baseball next year.

Starting Pitchers

Assuming everyone enters the next season healthy, the starting rotation could look this:

Corey Kluber

Shane Bieber

Mike Clevinger

Zach Plesac

Aaron Civale

This might not be the rotation Francona has to start the season, but I think right now those five give them the best chance to compete. Plesac and Civale are coming off an impressive rookie season where they were dominate during a playoff race. Bieber showed the league he was more than just a solid 3 or 4 rotation guy. He would be the ace on most ball clubs. If it wasn’t for an early season injury for Clevinger, we might be talking about his first Cy Young award right now.

Looking ahead, if Kluber gets back up to speed it’s looking like Adam Plutko is the odd man out. Plutko has solid stuff but has been inconsistent and tends to give up more home runs than the other guys. It is too early to rule Carlos Crassco out of the rotation for next season. If he can continue to win his battle over leukemia, he could possibly build back up the stamina during spring traing. Until then, he is at least a solid bullpen option.

Unfortunately, expect the Tribe to part ways with Danny Salazar. It would have been a great comeback story, but I think the time has come for both sides to move on.

Bold prediction: Indians sign some veteran starters to minor league deals. This would be insurance in case they have to deal with multiple injuries again. Plesac and Civale helped save the Tribe’s season after excessive injuries banged up the starting rotation. May not be as lucky next time, so they’ll be prepared. Jefry Rodriguez and Adam Plutko will face off for the long reliever spot in the bullpen.

Bullpen

Tribe’s relief squad for 2019 could be best described as a Cedar Point rollercoaster. When they were at their best they were on top of the league. On their worst days it seemed like they couldn’t do anything right. Closer Brad Hand had a remarkable 1st half and a forgetful 2nd half. The team went without him for the last few weeks of the season due to a tired arm. Honestly can’t remember the last closer to be that absent for the Tribe during a playoff run.

Fortunately, I think things will turn around for the better. Two names to watch out for next season: James Karinchak and Logan Allen. The two top reliever prospects on the team could make a serious impact in the late innings. Maybe something similar to what Cody Allen and Andrew Miller did from 2016 to 2018. Nick Wittgren, Hunter Wood, Nick Goody, Adam Cimber, Tyler Olsen, and Oliver Perez could all have an important role moving forward. There is that chance Carassco will be significant part of that group as well.

Bold prediction: Even after an overall successful season, Indians decide to move on from Brad Hand. They’ll trade him for another reliever and a prospect. Tyler Clippard and Dan Otero could be in spring training in February, but with younger, better arms available the front office may make the decision to move on from them. Hand traded or not, I expect the Indians to acquire a quality veteran arm for the pen.

Infield

Unless the front office has other plans, I expect most of the current infield to stay. Roberto Perez was one of the better power hitting catchers in the league and Kevin Plawecki fit in perfectly as his backup. First baseman Carlos Santana had an MVP caliber season. Even after battling injuries, both Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez had successful seasons.

Many Tribe fans won’t like hearing this but I believe Jason Kipnis time with the team has reached the end. I think they’ll decline his option and let him take his career somewhere else.

Rookies Yu Chang and Bobby Bradley could be key players off the bench in 2020. It’s not for sure they’ll have spot on the Opening Day roster, but both have had some quality playing time in the major league level this past season. That will help prepare them for the next step. Both prospects have potential to be quality hitters.

Another guy fans should look out for is Christian Arroyo. He was the other player that came with reliever Hunter Wood in that mid-season trade with Tampa Bay. Arroyo’s season was cut short due to injury but Chris Antonetti believes he has plenty to bring to Cleveland. The San Francisco Giants selected Arroyo with their 1st round pick in 2013. The Giants made the decision to move on from him due to his offensive struggles. Maybe he can bounce back with the Tribe and potentially be their new starting second basemen.

Bold prediction: I will warn fans, expect to hear Francisco Lindor trade talk in the offseason, but I don’t imagine any sort of serious deal going down. He is the leader in the locker room and the bat they need if they want any chance of winning a World Series next year. If they do trade him it won’t be until trade deadline in the final season of his contract. I know, I hate the thought too. Otherwise, teams will have to give up multiple present and future assets for the Indians to even consider such a deal.

But I do predict a trade. Next season could potentially be the last season to go all in for a while. So the Indians need to make a move. It will be Christmas in Cleveland when the news breaks out the Indians have made a trade with the Kansas City Royals for second basemen Whit Merrifield. The Royals need some youth and realistically Merrifield will be available. Tribe will be one of the few teams that will meet their price. This would be a game changer.

Outfield

A quick summary of the Indians outfield for 2019. The good, the bad, the ugly:

Starting with the ugly

Tyler Naquin tears his ACL during a playoff run

Bradley Zimmer only saw playing time dring the last week of the season. They hoped he would return sooner but he kept having setbacks.

Leonys Martin’s return was so disappointing, he had to sign with a team in Japan after he was cut. Indians have officially lost that trade.

The bad

Former All-Star Carlos Gonzalez didn’t pan out at all. He was later cut and signed a minor league deal with the Cubs.

Jake Bauers hits for the cycle and then continued to struggle at the plate. He was sent down to AAA Columbus after the blockbuster trade deadline trade. Yandy Diaz didn’t have a much better season for Tampa Bay. That trade was a wash.

The good

Indians added Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes at the trade deadline.

Jordan Luplow was superb against southpaws.

Oscar Mercado helped bring new life into the team.

In the end, Indians have a quality outfield going into next season. The only question remains is which players make the cut? One guy to watch out for is prospect Daniel Johnson whom they got in the Yan Gomes trade. He just had a stellar minor league season and many are sold on his potential. I don’t expect them to rush him, but he may pull a Mercado and find his way up sooner than later.

Bold prediction: Expect Luplow, Mercado, Naquin, and Reyes to be on the Opening Day roster. I will be shocked if Jake Bauers is still with the team when they report to spring training. I think they’ll trade him. I’m a fan of Greg Allen but I believe there is a short leash on him going into next season. If he doesn’t start producing at the plate then he will slowly put himself out of the team’s future plans. I see Bradley Zimmer starting off in AAA Columbus and eventually finding his way back to Cleveland. I don’t think they want to rush him and risk more injury.

My biggest prediction for outfield comes with a big signing. Normally when the Indians rent a player for the last few months of the season, they don’t bring him back. This time they do. With Jason Kipnis not returning, you loose a voice in the locker room. It’s important to keep your locker room up beat and focused. You need certain characters to keep a team going through a long season, and then some.

That being said, they do their locker room and lineup a big favor. Yasiel Puig signs a 2-year, 30 million deal with a team option to stay in Cleveland. He will do it to stay with a team he likes and a chance to win a championship. Indians go all in 2020.

Cleveland Browns: Top 10 Offseason Acquisitions

After a successful offseason, the Cleveland Browns are set to start training camp. Fans are hopeful that this will be the season that ends the 17 year playoff drought and the start of a dynasty. With all that being said, here are my top 10 additions to the team roster:

10. K Austin Seibert

Last season was possibly the worst season for kickers in NFL history. More extra points and field goals were missed than in previous seasons, and there were more kickers consistently on the injury list. That in itself showed the importance and value of a good kicker in the game.

Browns have not had an established starting kicker since they let Phil Dawson (who is currently a free agent) go in 2013. Four of the Browns losses last season were by 3 points or less. Obviously, the Browns entered the offseason trying to find a long term answer for the position.

Austin Seibert had much success at Oklahoma, but just because the Browns used a draft pick on him does not hand him the job. He will have to battle it out against last season’s starter Greg Joseph, who came in mid-season after Zane Gonzalez was cut. Seibert has great kicking accuracy, and holds the college football record for most extra points and field goal attempts. Only time will tell if Seibert can be a new fan favorite in Cleveland.

9. S Morgan Burnett

Browns had a hole at safety after trading Jabrill Peppers to the Giants. Since then they have added plenty of options. They traded for Eric Murray from the Cheifs, they drafted Sheldrick Redwine out of Miami, and Jermaine Whitehead turned some heads at mini camp. But let’s not forget about a key veteran they added in free agency in Morgan Burnett.

In case you don’t know the story, Burnett started for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season and decided he didn’t want to deal with the team’s locker room issues any longer. He demanded a trade but ended up getting waived instead. As a result, he signed a three year deal with the good guys in Cleveland! Mainly because he was familiar with the front office that drafted him in Green Bay.

As of right now, it is a toss up who starts opposite of Damarius Randall. But Burnett brings experience and leadership that can help the Browns on the defensive side of the ball. If he does indeed make the week 1 roster, he may have an important role on the team.

8. DT Sheldon Richardson

Browns needed to add some power next to Larry Ogunjobi, and they did just that. Richardson is joining the Browns after a solid season with the Minnesota Vikings where he registered 48 total tackles including 4.5 sacks. Browns defensive line was inconsistent blocking up the middle last season. Hopefully adding Richardson will change that.

7. LB Mack Wilson

I must warn you, I’m being very bias with this one. Wilson was one of my favorite players in the draft. When the Browns selected Sione Takitaki in the 3rd round, I thought for sure Wilson was not in the Browns’ plans. As luck would have it, he slipped to the 5th round where Cleveland selected him.

Wilson may not do much early in the regular season but in due time he will be a fan favorite. Above average speed and field awareness for a linebacker his size. He stood out among rookies in minicamp. Hopefully my expectations are right and fans get to see what I’ve been preaching about since the draft.

6. TE Demetrius Harris

Possibly the most underrated acquisition this offseason. Browns hands down have one of the best receiving groups in the league, and Harris could be a secret weapon for Baker. In Kansas City, he was mainly used for the red zone where he caught 3 touchdowns last season. But in Freddie Kitchens offensive scheme it will be easy to assume he could take on a bigger role. Possibly similar to what Darren Fells did last season. At 6’7 with better speed and hands than most tight ends, it’s obvious why Harris would be favorable target down the stretch.

5. CB Greedy Williams

Browns 1st pick in the draft did not come until the 2nd round due to the Odell Beckham trade. John Dorsey hit a home run drafting Denzel Ward with the 4th overall pick in the 2018 draft. He was determined to find a long term starter on the opposite end of Ward. With many cornerbacks already taken in the first 2 rounds, Williams somehow slipped to the Browns on the 46th overall pick.

Williams was an All-SEC player with 71 tackles, 8 interceptions, and 28 pass deflections in the 2 seasons he started in LSU. He played all 24 games.

It is still up in the air if Williams earns a starting spot right out of the gate. With Terrance Mitchell and T.J. Carrie also in the mix, coaching staff may lean towards starting the season off with more experienced players. However, if he has fantastic camp and preseason, he could convince the team to start him week one just like Ward did last season.

4. DE Oliver Vernon

Browns needed to give Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi some more help on the defensive line. They gave them a big boost adding Vernon in the mix. He is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he had 23 tackles 7 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

Vernon was overshadowed by the Odell Beckham hype, but provides an extremely important part to the team’s success. Browns defense was inconsistent pressuring opposing quarterbacks last season. They’re coverage squad was worn down as a result. With Vernon on the opposite side of Garrett, it should create a nightmare for offensive lines.

3. RB Kareem Hunt

Even though Browns fell short of making the playoffs, they made headlines last January when they signed troubled running back Kareem Hunt. Every football fan knows the story. Hunt was having a memorable season with the Kansas City Chiefs, when videos surfaced of him committing violent actions towards a woman. As a result, Chiefs decided to part ways with their young star leaving his career in question. Lucky for him, the guy who drafted him was willing to give him a second chance with his new team.

Hunt will start the season off with an 8 game suspension due to his actions. That will make it about a full year since he last took the field. Since his signing he has pushed himself to better himself. One more bad slip could cost him his career.

This is a low risk, high reward situation for Cleveland. They’re not paying him money players of his caliber get and they have another star studded back in Nick Chubb. Best case scenario, after the suspension Hunt helps lead his hometown team to a playoff run. Worst case scenario, he is rusty and not to his peak in ability in which Chubb would take over. There is also a chance it could be Josh Gordon all over again and another fine player destroys everything he worked for.

But I would like a happy ending here and I believe in grace. The organization has his back and there is no doubt he wants to join the hype with his city. The positives are he is working hard on himself and he’s healthy. Any team in the league would benefit to have his talent.

2. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

I know, you’re probably shocked he’s not number 1, but I’ll get to that. A few seasons ago the Browns didn’t have a consistent realiable wide receiver. The first trade John Dorsey did as general manager was trade for Jarvis Laundry. He then drafted Antonio Callaway and the team continued to use Rashard Higgins as the second receiver. Even though things looked better on the field, Dorsey knew Baker Mayfield would need more weapons if the offense was going to succeed. Last March, Dorsey put all his chips in and acquired one of the top receivers in the league.

Along with all the hype, there are also plenty of questions surrounding Beckham’s new situation. Here are things football fans have to remember:

1. He knows his teammates. Landry is a close friend and he has been hanging around Mayfield since before he was traded. Before he was a Cleveland Brown he was aware that the team was building something special. The new leadership and direction will help him mentally, on and off the field.

2. Despite some of the drama in New York, he did not give up. We have seen superstars before when things get messy in an organization. They refuse to play, they whine to the media, and they demand trades. Beckham was the exact opposite. He tried to make it work. The hustle on every play, trying to connect with players and coaches, and do whatever he could to improve the direction of the team. He signed long term to be a Giant for his career and lead the team to their next super bowl victory. Fortunately for the Browns, Giants had other ideas.

3. Beckham is about winning and only winning! This is a guy who still hasn’t let go of the junior high basketball championship he lost. It’s win or go home, which is the attitude every successful NFL franchise has to have. The only thing on his mind is winning Cleveland a super bowl. The biggest star athlete since LeBron James returned in 2014. Can OBJ do the same thing James did in 2016?!

1. Coach Freddie Kitchens

I know he isn’t technically a acquisition and he doesn’t play on the field. But given the circumstances, this team needed a head coach more than anything else. Look at every successful winning team in the history of pro football. What did they all have in common? A leader on the sidelines.

A former All-Pro Browns player once told me that the team’s main problem for over a decade was that there were no “football guys” running the team. He was exactly right. They had tried business executives, men knowledgeable about the game, but never anyone who breathed it. When Jimmy Haslam hired John Dorsey, not only was it his first good move but that was the first time since 2002 the team had a front office run by a football guy.

Dorsey had played the game and was head of scouting and player personnel on successful teams. Bottomline, he is a football guy. He knows talent when he sees it and he knows what it takes to create a winning organization.

It took the Browns 30 different starting quarterbacks to find their franchise quarterback. Why? There are many reasons, but what made Baker Mayfield different from all the others? His accuracy? His throws outside the pocket? His vision? All of those really do stand out compared to the others, but there is one thing in particular: he’s a football guy.

Mayfield isn’t just good at throwing a football and reading defenses. He is a leader that helps improve his teammates around him along with himself. He knows the game and what it takes to win. There are skilled quarterbacks that can win you games and lose focus when it matters the most. Then there are quarterbacks that lead dynasties.

Browns are on their 6th new head coach the past decade and 9th since the 1999 revival (not including interims). That is a terrible stretch. No stability. Even though those men loved the game, they were not cut out to be head coaches. Pat Shurmur is the only one out of that group that is currently a head coach somewhere else, but is only entering his second season with the team. Romeo Crennel did get a second chance at head coaching with the Kansas City Chiefs but it was worse than his stint with the Browns.

Freddie Kitchens successful coaching career goes beyond his offensive coordinator duties from last season. He learned under the likes of Nick Saban, Bill Parcel, and Bruce Arians. He worked with many successful assistant coaches as well. When the Browns hired him they were the only team that did not struggle to fill their coaching staff. Many coaches left great situations to join Kitchens. Why? They know him and believe in him. They were also on board with the direction of the front office.

Browns needed a football guy on the sidelines and in the locker room. They got that with hiring Freddie Kitchens. One step closer to bringing back a winning football franchise in Cleveland.

Cleveland Cavaliers Mock Draft 2019. Predictions, Preferences, and Trades.

Cleveland’s second post-LeBron era started rough, but not as rough as the first time around. Last time King James left the Cavs, they had a weak core with a bleak future. Fortunately, the balls rolled Cleveland’s way and the landed the 1st and 4th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. However, the 2018-19 season was the exact opposite. The team currently has a core of young players to build on along with key veteran players who want to help the team succeed. Despite having the second best chances at the 1st pick, their first round pick dropped to the 5th overall pick in the lottery. Both the 2010-11 and the 2018-19 teams had the second worst record in the league with 19 wins. Go figure.

Cavaliers shocked the league in early May hiring University of Michigan’s John Beilein as their new coach. With his background it was clear what the Cavs were planning to do. Develop the young talent and find any possible way to win. Beilein has a reputation of winning anywhere he coaches.

With the offseason just around the corner, Cavaliers have many question marks regarding their roster. A handful of salary heavy contracts could be moved for their benefit. The team is also expected to debate whether to extend or move expiring contracts. Whatever they decide to do has to bring an immediate, positive impact to the team. Their last attempt at rebuilding was a disaster, and we would still be feeling effects of it if it wasn’t for LeBron’s return in 2014. The next chapter of Cavaliers basketball starts on draft night.

Cavaliers Mock Draft

5th Pick, F Cameron Reddish, Duke

Cleveland fell short of landing a top 3 pick in the draft. Fortunately, the 5th overall pick has been used on several Hall of Fame ballers in the past. It is possible, but the Cavs have to get it right which is a stretch judging by their draft history. Yet I ask fans to remain hopeful.

The one thing the front office continues to do consistently since Dan Gilbert has owned the team is keeping their high picks secret. There have been many reports on potential picks here, but it all could be a smokescreen.

Before the college basketball season started, many thought Reddish and North Carolina’s Nessir Little would be the potential best prospects for this draft. Reddish’s teammates Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett stole the show and reshaped draft boards across the league. Reddish had a slow season start but progressively got better. He averaged 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and shot 35.6% from the field.

There is alot to like from Reddish. An offensive powerhouse, great passing skills, and quick hands on the defensive end. It is no secret Cleveland is eyeing a new wing man. Reddish seems more fitting for what Kobe Altman wants to bring to the team. His hustle would mesh well with Sexton and Osman on the backcourt.

26th Pick (from Rockets), C Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

Cavs received this pick back at the trade deadline knowing it will be a low pick. It is likely they trade up or use this pick as a trade piece. But with the chance they decide to pick here, I think they go big! Tristan Thompson was consistently hurt, John Henson never saw the court after he was traded to Cleveland, and Ante Zizic’s future with the team seems uncertain. Cavs need a center project.

Gafford averaged 16.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks with the Razorbacks last season. Even with the solid offensive numbers, he is predicted to be a more of a defensive force at the pro level. There have been some comparisons to Chris “Birdman” Anderson. If that’s true, Cavs could really use that kind of defensive skill off the bench.

My picks for the Cavaliers

5th Pick, G Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech

Cavs were one of the better defensive efficiency teams in the league last season, but still could use more defensive playmaking. They were also inconsistent from the field. Culver is a two-way player that helps both those needs. A 3-point specialist with above average defensive skills. There are some analysts that say he will be a solid role player but no star potential. I’m no expert, but with his frame and some work he could be a similar player to someone like Klay Thompson.

There is a debate whether or not he is available with this pick. I think the Lakers with the 4th pick go a different direction and we’ll still see his name on the board when the Cavs are on the clock. Culver averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists for the Red Raiders.

26th Pick, F Cameron Johnson, North Carolina

In order to win in the NBA these days you need to have accurate shooters to help spread the floor. Cavaliers were middle of the pack from the 3-point line and one of the worst in overall shooting percentage last season. Taking Cameron Johnson here is a low risk high reward situation. You could debate that there are better options here for the Cavaliers system, but you can’t deny that they need more efficient scorers on the team and that is what Johnson brings to the table.

Johnson averaged 16.9 PPG, made 50.6 % of his shots, and shot 45.7% from behind the arc in his senior season. One of the best shooters in college basketball last season. His defense was solid but will need some work to prepare for the pro level. The main concern teams have is his age. Most of these prospects range from age 18 to 21, and Johnson will be turning 23 soon. It is tough to pin point who will come out big near the end of the 1st round, but I see Johnson as a quality pick here.

Trades

Despite the tough season, Cavs have some attractive trade pieces. Some contracts are expiring and some could be bought out to save other teams some salary cap room. Free agency is not a for sure thing. Yes, money talks but NBA players heavily consider atmosphere and location. That being said, Cleveland is not the sexiest place to play if you’re a star basketball player. Adding pieces via trade maybe the only choice the team has this season to getting some better talent on the roster. Good news for fans, it was reported recently that the team has no plans on trading their biggest contract, Kevin Love. His presence on and off the court should help the rebuilding process. But Kevin is going to need some more help.

Possible Draft Day Trade: Cavs get a veteran and more picks

Celtics receive:

C Tristian Thompson

G Brandon Knight

26th overall pick

Cavaliers receive:

F Gordon Hayward

14th overall pick

20th overall pick

22nd overall pick

Potential protected future 1st round pick

There is no secret Boston wants Anthony Davis. However, they currently do not have the cap room and they need to find the cap room fast if they have any chance of getting him. Hayward is owed over $30 million per year for the next 3 seasons. Dumping that contract gives Boston the opportunity to potentially land Davis in the near future. Hayward is still a great player, but he doesn’t mesh well with the pieces Boston currently has. Building the team around him and Kyrie just didn’t work out.

There are very few teams with the cap room to take Hayward’s massive contract. Cleveland being one of them. If Boston wants them to take in the whole deal they have to give the Cavs something else. That something else would be their 3 first round picks of this draft plus a future one. I would anticipate Boston makes the future pick protected but Cleveland could encourage to make it unprotected given the circumstances.

Cavs accepting this trade would be HUGE for the immediate future. Hayward would be a great fit with Love to help lead and improve the team. They would have 3 picks in the top 20 of the draft and give themselves 4 prospects to help mold their future, assuming they make the right picks. Players such as Cedi Osman and Colin Sexton could learn a lot from Hayward. Celtics get the expiring contract of Tristian Thompson, a bench scorer in Brandon Knight, and a low first round pick. Ultimately they get the cap space to add a superstar player. Yes, that could hurt the Cavs in conference play, but overall it’s a win-win situation for both teams.

Possible J.R. Smith trade: Cavs get a young shooter

Rockets receive G J.R. Smith

Kings receive G Eric Gordon and 2 2nd round picks from Cavs

Cavs receive G Bogdan Bogdanovic

These three again?! Yep! Possibly. If you can remember, these three teams pulled a trade near trade deadline that helped give Cavs their second 1st round pick for the upcoming draft. In this scenario, they work out a potential trade that helps swap a set of guards. To be clear, in order for this trade to work Cavs would have to make roster adjustments because their over the luxury tax. Later in the offseason this trade has better chance at happening because of all the potential roster moves.

Rockets are looking for new pieces and really like Smith. There is a chance Rockets could trade for Smith just to buy him out, but his arrogant attitude and trash talking seem to be a good fit for Houston. Kings need any help they can get and Gordon is coming off a solid season. There are no promises that Harrison Barnes accepts his player option, so it might be best for Sacramento to invest in another veteran scoring option. Cavs would receive the 6’6 sharp shooter Bogdanovic who is coming off an exceptional rookie campaign. Another young piece to help build this team and give Coach Belein another offensive weapon.

Realistic, huge trade possibility: Cavs go BIG

Rockets receive:

C Tristian Thompson

G J.R. Smith

C Ante Zizic

Cavaliers receive:

C Clint Capela

G Eric Gordon

There is a FIRE SALE in Houston! After another failed attempt at dethroning the Golden State Warriors from the West, Rockets GM Daryl Morey said that every player on the roster is up for trade. It is safe to say James Harden and Chris Paul will be unlikely be traded, but that team needs a roster overhaul if they have any chance of winning the Western conference next season.

Cavaliers are one of the few teams Houston can make a trade with to help dump cap room. I know on paper this trade looks lopsided Cleveland’s way, but hear me out on this. Tristian Thompson is an expiring contract and when healthy can play as the Rockets starting center. Houston actually likes J.R. Smith. Whether they decide to keep him will remain to be seen, but they’re interested in acquiring him. Rockets could either keep Zizic to develop him or cut ties with him.

Cavs obviously get two major pieces here. One of the best centers in the league with Capela and an offensive weapon with Gordon. Capela still has 4 years left on his contract. This would be a move that gets the Cavs back in playoff talk. Yes, I said the P word. The Eastern Conference is improving but is still not up with the West. This trade would put the Cavs in position to compete for a low or mid seed, barring injuries of course. If this does happen, it will be their biggest trade since acquiring Kevin Love (I don’t count the Kyrie trade).

Unrealistic but possible trade idea: Kevin Love reports are a smokescreen and Cavs break fans hearts for a possible better future plan.

Thunder receives:

F Kevin Love

G J.R. Smith

G Brandon Knight

Cavaliers recieve:

C Steven Adams

G Dennis Schroder

F Jerami Grant

I believe the reports stating Love is not for sale, and I perfer he stays in Cleveland. But we’ve seen this before and if the front office finds a deal they can’t refuse, they’ll pull the trigger. So what would lead to a trade like this?

Let’s start by putting ourselves in the Thunder’s shoes. Oklahoma City has been a top 10 team in the league the past 5 or so seasons. Despite having one of the best rosters every season, they haven’t won the West conference since the 2011-12 season. Westbrook is always in MVP talks. Paul George signed long term and just had his best season with the team. But they couldn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Something has to change.

There is speculation that Kevin Durant could return to his former team in the offseason, but in this scenario let’s say Durant stays in Golden State or goes elsewhere. You know OKC needs another piece to help Westbrook and George. Steven Adams is one of the better centers in the league, but does not provide that offensive spark against the better teams. This is where Kevin Love makes sense. When healthy, he is one of the best third wheel option to have along with other NBA stars. We saw it in the second LeBron-era.

Thunder goes all in hoping Love is that missing piece that will get them back into the the Finals. OKC would take Smith and Knight’s contracts to help blossom the bench.

Cavaliers get 3 starters out of the deal. Steven Adams at center, Jerami Grant at power forward, and Dennis Schroder at point guard. This would move Colin Sexton to the bench which the Cavs are seriously debating for next season. If Cavs decide to hold on to Tristian Thompson they could move Grant to small forward and put Thompson at power forward. This would give Cavs more experienced veterans on the team that would help the rebuild process. The big risk with this move for Cleveland would be the team chemistry and morale. Love is a huge part of the team and locker room. Sending him elsewhere for 3 players that aren’t on the same page could potentially hurt the team’s performance next season. On paper it looks like a win on both sides, but both carry some serious risk. I wouldn’t place a bet on such a trade.

Cleveland Browns 2019 Draft Recap

Cleveland_Browns

For the very first time I decided to write a recap following my Cleveland Browns mock draft. We’ll take a look and see how John Dorsey improved the roster. But first let’s look back on my predictions and preferences.

Players I thought the Browns would draft in the first 4 rounds:

DT Dre’mont Jones, Ohio State (Broncos, Rnd 3, Pick 8)

CB Justin Layne, Michigan State (Steelers, Rnd 3, Pick 20)

G Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin (undrafted, signed with Lions)

For starters, my bold prediction of the Browns trading Duke Johnson and their 3rd round pick to Eagles for their 2nd rounder did not happen. Surprisingly, Browns didn’t trade Johnson at all, and Coach Kitchens expects him at training camp this summer. Not a loss for Cleveland since Johnson is a great weapon to have in the backfield. Both players I thought Cleveland would pick in the 2nd round slipped to the third round. Broncos blossom their defensive line with Jones from THE Ohio State University. One prediction I had was right. If the Browns didn’t pick Layne, the Steelers were going to scoop him up. Not a fan of that. Layne could be valuable in Pittsburgh. I was surprised Benzschawel wasn’t drafted at all. Thought for sure he was a solid Day 3 selection. Browns did not draft o-line until the 6th round with OT Drew Forbes.

Players I wanted the Browns to draft in the first 4 rounds:

LB Mack Wilson, Alabama (Browns, Rnd 5, Pick 17)

CB JoeJuan Williams, Vanderbilt (Patriots, Rnd 2, Pick 13)

T Isaiah Prince, Ohio State (Dolphins, Rnd 6, Pick 30)

Browns grabbed my dude Wilson but not until the 5th round. Bill Belichick saw the potential with Williams and traded up to grab him. I’m calling it, Williams will be a multi Pro Bowler with New England. Prince fell to the near bottom of the 6th round when Miami decided to grab him. A solid pick for the Dolphins that late in the draft.

Day 3 players I encouraged the Browns to consider:

QB Will Grier, West Virginia (Panthers, Rnd 3, Pick 37)

RB Bennie Snell, Kentucky (Steelers, Rnd 4, Pick 20)

DE Joe Jackson, Miami (Cowboys, Rnd 5, Pick 27)

DT Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois (Chiefs, Rnd 3, Pick 21)

EDGE Jalen Jelks, Oregon (Cowboys, Rnd 7, Pick 27)

S Jaquan Johnson, Miami (Bills, Rnd 6, Pick 8)

Panthers got a solid back up picking Grier with their conditional 3rd round pick. It should give Carolina some good insurance for the next few years. God forbid something happens to Newton. I was NOT HAPPY to see Snell go to Pittsburgh. I have preached about his potential since mid-season. To see a player of his caliber go to the rival hurts. Snell went higher than I expected. One thing the Cowboys do well is find defensive gems in the draft and develop them. They continued to do that this past weekend drafting both Jackson and Jelks. They went with power and speed with those picks which will only improve their defensive game in due time. Saunders was picked much earlier than I anticipated, and to a team that will be a major threat to the Browns in the AFC. Chiefs get a potential major weapon next to Frank Clark on that defensive line. Browns did not draft Jaquan Johnson, but did draft his former teammate Sheldrick Redwine. Bills obtained a valuable pick with Johnson in the 6th round. He may not start out of the gate, but I see him making the roster.

Cleveland Browns 2019 Draft Picks:

CB Greedy Williams, LSU (Rnd 2, Pick 14)

I am still shocked Williams slipped this far in the draft. I thought for sure he was going to be picked in the 1st round. Not only that, their were a few cornerbacks taken before him in the 2nd round. Dorsey had to make the aggressive move and trade up a few spots to get their guy. Browns needed to get a long term plan opposite of Denzel Ward. Williams has speed and athletic ability to start in the NFL. He was one of if not the best cornerback in this draft with man coverage. One of the reasons he may have slipped was because of his lack of playing time in college. He did start his sophomore and junior season, but sat out the bowl game for the draft. I think some teams felt they needed to see more before they were sold on him, but I’m just speculating. THEIR LOSS! Browns picked a potential star on the defensive side of the ball. We know fellow LSU Tigers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry approve.

Pick Grade: A

LB Sione Takitaki, BYU (Rnd 3, Pick 17)

This was an interesting pick right here. Takitaki started his college career on a bad note. Getting in fights, missing practice, and stealing from campus almost ruined his football career. He then settled down with a good woman and left the game for a season to focus on academics. When he returned, his reputation was completely changed and the team made him captain his senior season. He led the Cougars in 2018 with 118 tackles (9 for a loss and 3 sacks). Takitaki has great burst of energy and tackling ability. Something the Browns have struggled with defensively for the past few seasons. However, his lack of speed and use of space in the game need to be recognized. Many scouts saw him as a 7th round pick or an undrafted free agent. There were some that suggested his skills being more valuable on special teams. I trust John Dorsey and I’m rooting for this kid. But in a few years will the team be looking back on this pick and wish they went with someone else? Only time will tell.

Pick Grade: C

S Sheldrick Redwine, Miami (Rnd 4, Pick 17)

I previously mentioned that I really dug Redwine’s former teammate Jaquan Johnson. However, I can’t argue with the Browns here. Redwine was a safer pick that helps add depth in that defensive backfield. He mostly played safety, but also played well at corner for the Hurricanes. That gives the Browns an option to move him around if needed. He has good size, ball awareness, and power to hit receivers. Coaches will work on his ability to close out on receivers and playing with his back to the ball. All in all, a solid pick for Cleveland.

Pick Grade: B

LB Mack Wilson, Alabama (Rnd 5, Pick 17)

It was odd watching Wilson fall to the 5th round, and I thought for sure one of the Browns rivals would snag him. But as luck would have it, the good guys picked him with their first 5th round pick. Freddie Kitchens is a big fan and seized the opportunity to make him a Brown. Many analysts had him as a late 1st round to a mid 2nd round pick. I honestly don’t know what went down in Nashville, but the Browns may have potentially drafted their future starting linebacker with this pick. Wilson is great with the blitz and in coverage. He would fit perfectly in the middle with their 4-3 scheme. I’m going to be biased and say this was the Browns 2nd best pick in the draft next to Greedy Williams.

Pick Grade: A

K Austin Seibert, Oklahoma (Rnd 5, Pick 32)

Browns did something I didn’t think they would do, but I’m glad they did. DRAFTED A KICKER!!! Not just a kicker, but handled Oklahoma’s kickoffs, punts, and placekicker duties during his sophomore season. He’s the whole special teams package! With Oklahoma being the offensive power house they were during his tenure there, he really didn’t get many chances to kick from distance. His longest field goal was 56 in his senior season. Most of his misses were due to bad ball placement. Four out of eight of the Browns losses last season came from 4 points or less. We won’t know until the fall if Seibert works out or not, but Browns needed some options outside of Greg Joseph. We’re still hurting after letting Phil Dawson (who is currently a free agent) go six years ago.

Pick Grade: B

OT Drew Forbes, Southeast Missouri State (Rnd 6, Pick 17)

Browns finally pick an offensive linemen late in the draft. Forbes played left tackle for the Red Hawks. He has been praised for toughness and athletic ability. There is a chance he will be more valuable in the pros at guard than tackle. Forbes will be a project for sure, but if he can continue to bring that determination and toughness to Cleveland, we may see him help protect Baker one day.

Pick Grade: C

CB Donnie Lewis, Tulane (Rnd 7, Pick 7)

If Lewis makes the team in September, it will most likely be on the practice squad. He was great at getting to the ball, but struggled constantly keeping up with receivers. Lewis gave up a high number of touchdowns his whole collegiate career. Browns may use him more on special teams if anything.

Pick Grade: C-

Draft Pros:
Browns entered the draft with lack of depth at linebacker and defensive back. No more! Greedy Williams could potentially start Week 1, but will have competition with Terrance Mitchell and T.J. Carrie. Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert, and Genard Avery are most likely the starting linebackers as of right now, but that could change with Takitaki and Wilson in the mix. The preseason will decide if Austin Seibert will be part of the Browns 2019 plans. It is vitally important to have a consistent starting kicker on the team. Overall, Dorsey added important building blocks to help continue to mold the team into a winner.

Draft Cons:

There is still plenty of time to address other roster needs either in undrafted free agency and in preseason cuts. I wasn’t concerned that a quarterback was not picked this past weekend, but they need to find a solid backup for Baker. Anything could happen and it is best to be prepared. I was surprised an offensive lineman wasn’t taken until the 6th round. Dorsey did add a few in free agency, but with Zeitler no longer on the team and Austin Corbett’s status unknown, that leaves some concern for the right guard position. Not drafting a defensive linemen was interesting. The starting defensive line is stacked, but it lacks depth on both the sides and interior. There is no for sure replacement for Emmanuel Ogbah at the moment. Hopefully 2018 3rd round pick Chad Thomas can come in and be valuable asset after spending all last season on the practice squad. Anthony Zettel is another option that could fill the void. Only time will tell if Trevon Conley will be able to be a reliable back up to the defensive tackles.

Even though some positions were not addressed during the draft, it’s better to go with talent you believe in as a front office than reach and take a major risk. The Cleveland Browns had a top ten draft if not a top five in the league. Personally, I don’t like to say it but I’m just being honest, I think they were second ranked in the division with Pissburgh having a slightly better draft. That team just east of Cleveland drafted more players that will be able to make an immediate impact sooner than later. But my opinion could change with time just like everyone else. All in all, it was another successful draft from John Dorsey and his crew.

Draft Grade: B+

Grading Cleveland Cavaliers 2018-19 Mid-Season Trades

2057_cleveland_cavaliers-alternate-2011

 

The last time LeBron James left Cleveland, the team roster provided no real hope for the future. Anderson Varejao was the only player that was on that 2010-2011 roster when LeBron returned in 2014. The rest were either retired or battling for a roster spot on another team. The front office was limited with possible trade moves that season. Most of that roster was undesirable to the rest of the league. However, before the 2011 trade deadline former general manager Chris Grant made a trade that would be critical to the Cavs immediate future. The trade brought aging star point guard Baron Davis and an unprotected 1st round pick which ended up being Kyrie Irving. After a disaster season, the Cavs finally had a young superstar to build a team around. Unfortunately, the front office made some questionable draft picks and bad trades the next couple seasons, hurting their rebuilding process. On top of that, they never committed to making Irving being the leader of the team. If LeBron never returned in 2014, who knows what the team would look like now.

Last summer, after the King left for LA, fans were a little more upbeat about the up coming rebuild process. Yes, we we’re all bummed about him leaving again but this time the roster filled with potential. You have the young, budding playmakers which include Colin Sexton, Larry Nance, Jordan Clarkson, Cedi Osman, Ante Zizic, and David Nwaba. You have key veterans in Channing Frye and Tristian Thompson. And, of course, the super star that signed an extension in the summer, Kevin Love.

The season started off on the wrong foot. Love went down after 4 games and then the team made a coaching change. After a month into the season it was clear that Cleveland needed to commit to rebuilding. The front office sought to find mentors, young talent, and draft picks.

November 29th, 2018

Jazz get G Kyle Korver

Cavs get G Alec Burks, 2020 and 2021 second round picks

Trade Grade: B

It was unfortunate that the Cavaliers had to trade away their 3 point specialist, but with one year left on his contract it made sense to cash him out. He was only brought on to help them win another championship, and when that shipped sailed it was only fair to send him elsewhere. Utah filled their need for a sharp shooter, and the Cavs received much needed draft picks with athletic, shooting guard Alec Burks. Part of me wishes the Cavs would have kept Burks, but with the result of their trade deadline trade it was understandable to move him. Burks played a big role in a handful of the team’s wins. He averaged 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds with his time in Cleveland.

December 7th, 2018

Wizards get F Sam Dekker and 2021 second round pick (from Cavs)

Bucks get G George Hill, F Jason Smith, 2021 second round pick (from Wizards)

Cavs get G Matthew Dellavedova, C John Henson, 2021 first and second round picks (from Bucks), 2022 second round pick (from Wizards)

Trade Grade: B+

A wild trade that gave the team future assets and a mentor. The only downside of the trade for Cleveland was letting George Hill go after all the work he put in the team the past 10 months. He was upbeat about teaching and improving the younger players after LeBron left. Not all veteran players will do that. This opened the door to give 1st round pick Collin Sexton the starting point guard spot.

I was honestly shocked when I saw the Cavs traded Sam Dekker to the Wizards. Reason being, I’m used to the old Cavs’ ways. He was a veteran that was struggling on the court and was brought in mainly to mentor younger players. If it was 2010, they probably would have just kept him. Instead, they found a way to improve the roster and shipped him to DC. Bucks got veterans Hill and Smith to help with their playoff run this season. Milwaukee knew they needed to add experience to the team if they plan on going anywhere this season.

The Cavs brought back fan favorite Matthew Dellavedova to mentor this young roster. Delli was part of the last rebuilding effort and a member of the 2016 championship team. It made sense to par him back  up with Frye, Thompson, and Love. His aggressive play on both ends of the court will bring back a spark for the team. He also is a fitting to help develop Sexton’s game. Possibly the most underrated parts of that trade, John Henson, has yet to see the court with Cavs after his knee surgery. I’m a fan of old school big man centers. I like Henson’s game and what he could bring on the court for the Cavaliers. I have no idea what the front office intends to do with him, but I hope they keep him around. With Thompson’s consistent injuries, it would be beneficial to utilize both Zizic and Henson to play under the basket. Last but not least, Cavs added three draft picks including a 1st round pick in the trade.

February 4th, 2019

Trail Blazers get G Rodney Hood

Cavs get G Nik Stauskas, G Wade Baldwin, 2021 and 2023 second round picks

Trade Grade: C

Rodney Hood is in the final year of his contract and he continued to be inconsistent on the court. I think many were pulling for him to improve and stay but it clearly wasn’t going to happen. In interviews he made it clear he liked playing for Cleveland but didn’t like dealing with the rebuilding process. Injuries were still a problem with him too. Cavs deal him for two expiring contracts and two second round picks. No immediate roster improvement here, but let’s see how they use those draft picks.

February 7th, 2019

Kings get G Alec Burks and a 2020 second round pick (from Rockets)

Rockets get G Iman Shumpert, G Nik Stauskas, G Wade Baldwin, and 2021 second round pick (from Cavs)

Cavs get G Brandon Knight, F Marquese Chriss, 2019 first round pick and 2022 second round pick (from Rockets)

Trade Grade: B+ (potentially an A)

Cavs make a critical trade that could be a big move in this rebuilding process. Kings walk away with a solid player in Alec Burks and a second round draft choice. Burks will fit in well with the other young assets in Sacramento. Rockets add the 3-point shooting, perimeter defender Iman Shumpert to their championship hopeful roster. Both Baldwin and Stauskas were released by Houston. Cleveland would end up signing Stauskas.

Cavs sacrificed cap space to land another 1st round pick for this upcoming draft, but they did it right. They take on the rest of Brandon Knight’s 70 million dollar contract he signed with the Suns four years ago. Knight has a history of injuries but when he plays he can be one the best scoring options on the court. Along with Knight, the Cavs acquired Marquese Chriss who is a high motor player that rebounds well, has an underrated 3-point shot, and can throw down the basketball with authority. Chriss has a lot of potential but never saw much playing time with Houston’s loaded squad. He could become a fan favorite in due time.

The Cavs owning the Rockets 1st round pick this year gives them plenty of options. The pick is expected to be a low rounder due to Houston’s potential championship run. However, there have been many role players and a few superstar selected in the lower 1st round the past decade. The Cavs could use it where it’s at, trade up with it, or trade it for more assets. Either way, Cavs gain talent and options with this trade. This coming June we’ll see what the next steps they’ll take to improve this franchise.

Cleveland Browns needs going into the 2019 offseason

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, the Cleveland Browns ended their season with plenty of optimism. Rookie of the Year winner Baker Mayfield put on a performance Cleveland hasn’t seen from a star rookie since LeBron James. He helped change an environment and a city. So were does the team go on from here? Let’s make a check list:

Functional front office with football minds- check

New head coach- check

Quarterback- wait . . . Let’s see if we still feeling dangerous. . . . . Ok, check!

The only thing left to do now is improve this team through free agency and the draft. There are much less needs than last year, but some critical positions need addressed if the Browns have any chance at making the postseason next year.

GET A DAMN KICKER!!!

It took 30 different starting quarterbacks for the Browns to find their guy. Let’s not let the same thing happen to the kicker position. Since Joe Banner let Phil Dawson walk in 2013, the Browns have not had a reliable kicker. It was a rough year for kickers overall in the NFL, but that shouldn’t mean the Browns should over look the position. If they had a solid kicker all season they may have made the playoffs. Dorsey filled the quarterback hole. Now it’s time to fill this one. Even if it means signing one of Haslam’s players from the Columbus Crew.

Get another stud receiver

The group consisting Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Rashard Higgins, and Bradshad Perriman is a solid receiving core. However, injuries happen and if you can do better, you do better. I say give Baker a group that gives defenses headaches. I like to reflect back to the 3 Super Bowls that Kurt Warner was in. How did he get there? One of the big reasons is that he was LOADED with receiving talent. Get another guy opposite of Landry. Either in free agency or early in the draft. The Antonio Brown fantasy is nice but it’s unrealistic. Pittsburgh won’t give their arch rival the best receiver in the game.

Offensive line depth

Browns o-line was solid this season but could use a tune up. The interior headlined by Kevin Zeitler, JC Tretter, and pro bowler Joel Bitonio was one of the best in the league. They’re looking to sign left tackle Greg Robinson to a new contract and Chris Hubbard was decent at right tackle. You need to make sure Baker is protected at all times. I say get a prospect back up center, continue to develop Austin Corbett, and draft a few tackles. They have plenty of picks and its a good o-line class. Take advantage of it.

Backup quarterback

Tyrod Taylor will be testing free agency which leaves the second quarterback spot open. Good news is that saves Cleveland $15 million on the salary cap. The last thing Freddie Kitchens needs is to loose Baker for a period time and without a reliable back up. The Eagles were prepared a season ago and their back up delivered a championship. I am not huge on Drew Stanton. I say get a veteran like Ryan Fitzpatrick and draft one in the mid to late rounds. Be prepared for anything.

Defensive tackle

Browns defensive line was their best in several years. Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi lead the pack with sacks (19 combines). But Emmanuel Ogbah’s injury problems continued and Browns couldn’t any consistency from their other defensive tackles. It would be HUGE for the team to add a playmaker in the middle of that line. Look how much help Ndamukong Suh was to Aaron Donald. The upcoming draft has plenty of quality defensive tackle talent. Only time will tell if 3rd round pick Chad Thomas can be a factor at the end of the line. It wouldn’t hurt to look at any other options just in case Ogbah’s injuries persist.

More depth at defensive back

Before John Dorsey joined the Browns, the team would consistently go into training camp with a lack of depth with defensive backs. Injuries to starters led to more problems on the field. But last year Dorsey loaded up on defensive back talent, and we saw a big differnce. The secondary unit struggled near the end of the season when Terrence Mitchell, E.J. Gains, and Denzel Ward were ailing injuries. One of the factors in their loss to the Raiders was serious fatigue late in the game due to lack of substitutes. Fortunately for Cleveland, Damrious Randall and Jabrill Peppers were healthy most of the season. But that may not be the story next season. Dorsey may need to load up the back field again to help improve the defense. I wouldn’t be against adding a stud corner back to play opposite of Ward, and having Mitchell and Carrie as the backups. It would be similar to when Broncos signed Aqib Talib to put opposite of Chris Harris, which helped them win a Super Bowl a year later. Browns got the money to spend and could use it to make their secondary deadly.

Great Lakes Brewery coolers in case of Super Bowl victory.

I’m not jumping the gun and saying the Browns will be Super Bowl champs next year. But, if hell freezes over and it does happen we need to be prepared, right? The Bud Light victory fridges were hit after the Browns first win in over a year. So wouldn’t it be fitting to have a free Cleveland craft beer giveaway if they won it all? After all the years of turmoil the fans would deserve a chance to slam some brews on the greatest night of their lives. Let’s make it happen. GO BROWNS!!!

Cleveland Browns 4 Round Mock Draft 2017: Browns Potential Moves and My Recommendations

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns

Everyone knows the story of 2016. If you’re a Cavaliers or Indians fan, you’ll never forget that year. If you’re a Browns fan, you never want to speak about that season. Coach Hue Jackson and Browns VP Sashi Brown walked away from their first draft hoping they made their first step to rebuilding the team a successful one. Some Browns analyst like to spit on that draft and even some call it the worst draft since the 1999 revival. I think that’s too harsh. I honestly defend the draft picks . . . . for the most part. Corey Coleman, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Shon Coleman, Cody Kessler, and Joe Shobert may make the starting roster next season. The Browns have struggled picking quality players with their mid-round selections in past drafts. So in a way you can say there is improvement. But, it takes more than six players to make a winning team. The late round selections in their 2016 draft were overall poor despite loading up on receivers. They failed to address offensive line and defensive back holes as well. Lack of depth in almost all positions left them with very few options following injuries. It took a Christmas miracle from Elyria native Jamie Meder to prevent an 0-16 season. Coach Jackson knew it was going to take a while to make the team a competitor. I don’t think he thought the first season was going to be that horrific. However, it was a season that needed to happen. The past decade, the Browns have claimed to rebuild several times, but never really went through with it. They relied on big free agent signings, veteran quarterbacks, and pressured some rookies to take on more than they could handle. The new regime pushed the reset button for good this time by adding more picks for the next few drafts and cutting almost every veteran contract they had on the team. Since Jimmy Haslam took over as owner, the Browns have had 3 coaching changes, 2 general manager changes, 2 team vice president changes, and 2 team president changes. All with different ideas how to run the team. Yeah, it was time to blow the whole thing up and start a complete remodel. Now its draft weekend. The Browns actually had a pretty damn good free agent period, but can it carry over to the draft? For the first time since 2000, they own the first overall pick. Unfortunately for them, there isn’t a star quarterback who sticks out in this class. The 2017 draft class has a ton of talent, but lacks a quality group of quarterbacks. Will this finally be the draft class that gets the Dawg Pound proudly barking for a long time? Only time will tell. Thank God for LeBron James.

Key Additions: LB Jamie Collins, WR Kenny Britt, QB Brock Osweiler, C J.C. Tretter, and G Kevin Zeitler.

Key Departures: QB Robert Griffith III, QB Josh McCown, S Jordan Poyer, and WR Terrelle Pryor.

 

Round 1, Pick 1

MylesGarrett3

Browns: DE/LB Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

I am aware of the rumors swirling around concerning the first overall pick. I am also aware that Haslam wants an answer at quarterback this draft. There was a fantastic article I read concerning the media and NFL Draft. Basically, after April 1st, everyday is April Fools Day for the sports media. They’ll report anything about anyone. Reports since early last fall stated the Browns were sold on Garrett. It didn’t change through the combine and private workouts, why would it change now? Hall of Famer Warren Sapp had some harsh comments about the prospect. Yes I do agree he has maturity issues. I do realize most of his sacks came from one game last season. That won’t stop the Browns from drafting him. He has the talent and intangibles to compete at the next level. The Browns will not be trading the pick. They’re going to pick the best player on the board and that’s Myles Garrett. As for his maturity, leave that to new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Plan B: QB Mitch Trubisky

MylesGarrett2

Me: Myles Garrett

The Browns and I don’t always agree. When we have, it’s either hit or miss. Two key times we have agreed (and wish we wouldn’t have) were Trent Richardson and Barkevious Mingo. Yeah . . . . let’s not talk about that. But why Garrett? Browns have passed up on playmakers so many times in the past. I get it. They had too many holes and needed more draft picks. Now they have plenty of draft picks and they’re sitting on top of the board. Any player is in play now. Let’s use some logic here and get the best available. I want to also note the Browns are going to be playing in a hybrid defense under Gregg Williams. A mixture of 4-3 and 3-4. After all the fans have been through, wouldn’t it be nice to run a 3-4 with Garrett and Collins as your outside linebackers, and have Garrett, Ogbah, and Shelton on your line in the 4-3?! It sounds like something Madden fans would love to tinker with. The kid has got speed, toughness, and can tackle without any issues. In case you didn’t know, tackling was difficult for the Browns last season. That should never be an issue for a professional football team. If I had to make the call, Garrett would be a Brown.

Plan B: S Malik Hooker

 

Round 1, Pick 12

MTrubisky

Browns: QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

I don’t believe the hype with this quarterback class. Every football fan knows that quarterback is the most important position in the game. That’s why every draft the media gets a hard on with every single quarterback up until draft time. I don’t believe the Browns are wanting to trade up for their answer under center in this draft. However, I do believe Trubisky will fall to 12 and I do believe the reports about Hue Jackson sold on his potential. If Trubisky is indeed there at 12, the Mentor native is heading home. Would I take a chance on the kid? Personally, no. Not a bad player, but only one year starting under his belt in a weak QB class. Why reach and get another one next year?! I say keep Osweiler and give him a solid shot at starting. Kessler would be better with a new offensive line and better weapons. The team needs another year anyway. I’ll give credit to Trubisky. He threw very few picks and is a solid signal caller. However, his worst game was his bowl game last season. Will he be there when it counts? I have a gut feeling his name will called when the Browns use their second first round pick.

Plan B: TE O.J. Howard

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Toledo

Me: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan

Last year, the Browns made a solid first pick in Corey Coleman. He was someone I really overlooked. I honestly really like the receiver. Look at the consistent winning teams though. What do they all have in common? A stacked receiving squad. Corey Coleman can’t do it all. Kenny Britt would be better in the slot. They let Terrelle Pryor slip through they’re hands like a bad Braylon Edwards memory. And NO! Josh Gordon is NOT playing for the Browns ever again! That fantasy needs to blow up in smoke. Pun intended. Even with Mike Williams still on the board, I would take Corey Davis. He can do what Williams can do plus more. I can hear the MAC haters right now. It doesn’t matter what conference you’re in! Skill is skill. Out of the top receivers in this draft he is the only one to consistently put up at least 1,400 receiving yards the past three seasons, and avoid serious injury. His freshman season he fell short of 1,000. His playmaking reminds me somewhat of Odell Beckham Jr. I’m really sold on this kid.

Plan B: RB Dalvin Cook

Bold trade prediction: Browns trade the 33rd overall pick, 3rd round 2018, and 5th round 2018 to Denver for the 20th overall pick.

Round 1, Pick 20

RyanRamczyk

Browns: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

I usually don’t make trade predictions in my mocks, but this year I decided to add them. Multiple reports state the Browns are very interested in moving up to the lower 1st round picks. Denver Broncos have confirmed they’ve had plenty of discussions with Cleveland involving the 33rd pick and more in exchange for the 20th pick. I think it does happen when Denver is on the clock. Browns saw how horrible their offensive line was last year. Losing Alex Mack hurt them badly. They found out the hard way that Cameron Irving is not a professional center by any means. Quarterbacks got hit left, right, and middle. The team added Tretter and Zeitler the first day of free agency. They managed to give Bitonio a large extension, but he still seems injury prone. That leaves the right tackle battle between Cameron Irving and Shon Coleman. In order to help guarantee their quarterbacks a new and improved line, they trade up for Ramczyk. He was consistent for Wisconsin as their left tackle. Wisconsin has had a reputation of producing solid offensive linemen. Browns Joe Thomas and Kevin Zeitler can contest to that. They add another Badger here without giving up a 1st round pick. It would end up being a win for both Denver and Cleveland.

 

Round 2, Pick 33

ObiMelifonwu

Me: S Obi Melifonwu

I end up not trading up with the Broncos. I decide to keep my future draft picks. There is debate whether or not Melifonwu gets taken in the 1st round or not. I’m going out on a limb and saying he drops to the second round. Browns safeties were sad to watch last season. Bigger receivers took advantage of them and they seemed to struggle tackling opponents down field. Melifonwu is 6’4 with a 7 foot wing span. He was one of the best in college football at knocking down passes. With his height, quarterbacks had a tough time throwing over him. Some analysts have compared him to Kam Chancellor. Plus, Browns fans could yell, “Obi! You’re our only hope!”. That would be fun.

Plan B: Best defensive back available

 

Round 2, Pick 52

JoeMixon

Browns: RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

Browns have made it clear they are interested in Mixon despite the off field issues. I believe Cleveland has seen the best out of Crowell and Jackson wants to make Johnson more of a receiving back. Mixon put up solid numbers in Oklahoma but I think specifically the 6.8 yards per carry average caught the team’s attention. Jimmy Haslam has even defended the possibility of drafting Mixon. Hopefully they don’t run into another Johnny Manziel situation. Coach Jackson doesn’t want to wake up in the morning to those headlines.

Plan B: S Desmond King

MarcusWilliams

Me: S Marcus Williams, Utah

With the first second round pick I upgraded the safety position. I add the other safety with the next pick. Williams is a high energy player, a great tackler for his size, and he has a good eye for the ball. Picking him and Obi would solidify that weak coverage in the back field. Haden, Taylor, and Boddy-Calhoun would rotate the cornerback positions. This would make things a little easier for Gregg Williams.

Plan B: S Josh Jones

 

3rd Round, Pick 65

MarcusMaye

Browns: S Marcus Maye, Florida

Browns go into the 3rd round without addressing their defensive back problem. They make a move with the 65th pick to help improve it. Maye was known for his speed and ablitiy to deflect passes. Don’t ask me why, but when I was watching film on this guy he just looked like someone the Browns would draft. He wasn’t really flashy but he got the job done. That tends to be the type of players the Browns like in mid-rounds. If the Browns do get Maye, its still a pick that would end up starting week one.

Plan B: Best safety on the board

EthanPocic

Me: C Ethan Pocic, LSU

Watching the Browns center struggles almost made me stroke last season. Cameron Erving belongs at right tackle, and I’ve said that since he was drafted. Austin Reiter is a good player to keep around for depth reasons. He had one good game at center and then tore his ACL. I’ve read too many negative reviews on Marcus Martin. J.C. Tretter was a great signing but he also had a serious injury with Green Bay last season. You need a backup plan in football. You never know when injuries will happen. Pocic makes too much sense with this pick. He excelled in pass protection but still needs work on his run blocking. His biggest strength is reading defenses and directing the offensive line. Coaches in LSU raved about his ability to play the center position. He could develop into Cleveland’s starting center someday.

Plan B: C/G Pat Elflein

 

Bold trade prediction: Browns trade QB Brock Osweiler to the Jets for the 107th pick overall.

Round 3, Pick 107

Clemson vs Louisvills

Browns: TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson

If my prediction is right, Browns get Mitch Trubisky at 12 and Jets end up filling holes with their other picks. I can see the Jets eventually picking Deshaun Watson or Deshone Kizer in the draft. But you have to think with Todd Bowles on the hot seat, does he really want to go into a season with a rookie quarterback and Josh McCown?! What if they don’t get Kizer or Watson?! Browns may strike a deal here. They tell the Jets they’ll pay the majority of Osweiler’s contract in exchange for the last pick in the 3rd round. This would make Hogan, Kessler, and Trubisky the quarterback competition, and give the Browns back to back picks in the 3rd and 4th round. Jets get their quarterback and Browns get their pick. Everyone is happy . . . well, maybe. The NFL today is slowly stepping away from receiving tight ends and using more wide receivers. For fantasy football owners, like me, it can be disappointing. I grew up with tight ends being a dependable receiver when the quarterback is out of options, or sometimes they were the better option. Hue Jackson’s offense still believes in the receiving tight end. You may remember Tyler Eifert’s pro bowl season with the Bengals in 2015. That was partially due to Jackson’s offensive schemes. Last year, the seven some quarterbacks the Browns used couldn’t get the ball to the tight ends. Gary Barnidge is a great player for the locker room but is at the tail end of his career. Leggett has some the best receiving hands in this tight end class. He also had an habit of dropping some easy passes. However, I will add he was clutch during Clemson’s championship run and playoff game against Ohio State. Browns have made it clear they’re interested in Leggett and make him a Brown with this pick.

Plan B: Best receiving or defensive line prospect

 

Round 4, Pick 108

TanzelSmart

Browns: DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane

Cleveland was terrible at pressuring the quarterback last year. Danny Shelton could only do so much. Only Nassib and Ogbah seemed consistent on that defensive line. Now that they’ll be using 4-3 schemes in their defense, they’ll need another defensive tackle. Smart specialized in pressuring the quarterback. He wasn’t really known for run stopping or sacking opponents. He consistently hurried the opposition and ruffed up offensive linemen. Now could the Browns possibly get this guy with a later pick? I won’t lie to you, yeah they probably could. I have them taking him here because it sounds like a Browns thing to do. Let’s hope that Smart is a smart pick here in the 4th round.

Plan B: Best defensive linemen or defensive back

AntonioGarcia

Me: OT Antonio Garcia, Troy

Garcia has a lot of potential, but still some question marks as well. The guy didn’t give up a single sack and only gave up one quarterback hit his entire senior season. Sounds good on paper but scouts really question some of his mechanics. His pass protection needs plenty of work. I really dig his toughness though. They complained he put too many guys on the ground but in the NFL you need that attitude sometimes. If I’m the Browns, I make him compete with Erving and Coleman for the starting right tackle spot. This guy could be a diamond in the ruff as far as the 4th round goes.

Plan B: Best offensive lineman available

As far as the rest of the draft, I would go out and get a running back, add to the defensive line, and may add one more receiver in a later round. Like Jimmy Johnson told the front office, you won’t get all your pieces in the second offseason but by the third year you better be a contender. I trust in Hue Jackson. Not so much Haslam. GO BROWNS!!!

Cleveland Browns 4 Round Mock Draft 2016: What I would do vs. What I think they will do

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Press Conference

 

Training camp kicks off July 2015. Fans show up to Berea, excited and anxious to see what the new football season will bring for the Cleveland Browns. The team is coming off a surprising 7-9 season and players are looking forward to a new, improved team. Fans are standing at the sidelines, wearing the new Browns uniforms that were released in April. All eyes are on first rounders, Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving, with hope that they can contribute to the team right away. The team was entering their second season under the Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer regime. On paper, the team had a solid offensive line squad and defensive unit. Fans continued to debate if this would be the year Johnny Manziel took over the starting role for good, ending a long streak of starting quarterbacks in Cleveland.

Let’s fast forward to the final game of the season.

It’s January 3rd. The Browns just concluded a season that fans were begging would end. The team ended with a 3-13 record, but that wasn’t saying enough. Tension was building between the locker room and front office. An assistant coach was fired after accused of assault of a friend in his own home. Injuries plagued the team, including top receiver Andrew Hawkins and defensive captain Joe Haden. Fans watched one of the worst Monday Night Football conclusions in a home loss to Baltimore. And then there was Johnny Manziel. The quarterback would be caught partying, beating women, lying to coaches, and showing up to practice drunk. No, this is not some sick Cohen brothers screen play. This is the Cleveland Browns. Finally, owner Jimmy Haslam had enough. About three hours after their home loss to Pittsburgh, Coach Mike Pettine and General Ray Farmer were canned. Making fans mutter words they’ve said for the past six years: Here we go . . . again. However, this was different. You might even say strange. The Browns are going a direction that no one has gone before in NFL history.

It was round three for Jimmy Haslam. The Banner and Chudzinski experiment only lasted one season. The forced Farmer and Pettine marriage produced even more problems. Minutes after the firings were announced, the new direction was already taking place. Sashi Brown was promoted to Vice President of football operations. Haslam dubbed him the man in charge. No one knew who he was or where he came from. But now the future of the team is in his hands. It gets weirder. The front office decides to go all out on analytics. Something that no team has ever done before in the NFL. They hire Paul Depodesta, who was well known as the Money Ball guy for the Oakland Athletics. The search for a new head coach was short lived. They did something strange. They hired a well known, good coach in former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson. Usually the Browns go with an unknown name who never had head coaching experience before. The players approved the decision. Free agency came and fans were interested to see what direction the team would go. When the new front office said they were doing things different, they meant it. The first week of free agency came and gone, no big moves were made. Instead, many players signed some where else including Pro Bowler, Alex Mack. The team continued to cut players including Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner, Dwayne Bowe, and of course, Johnny Manziel. The biggest addition the Browns made was signing quarterback Robert Griffin III. The former Redskin was looking for a team that would give him a second chance. With all the bad history the Browns have had with quarterbacks since 1999, it was interesting that he choice to sign. It gets closer to draft time and the Tennessee Titans shock the sports media world with the decision to trade the number one overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams. All eyes were on the Browns, and they responded. With interest in trading down also, the Browns made a blockbuster trade to send the second overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns got multiple picks and stayed in the top ten. With 12 picks in the 2016 draft, they have no choice but to get as many picks right as they can. The trade did guarantee that the two top quarterbacks in this draft would be off the board. Poor draft history has put them in the position they are in now. So here it is! I give you four rounds in which I make the picks and I tell you who I think the analytics guys will really pick. Will the Browns turn it around or will we have to just keep reminding ourselves LeBron James is our true savior?

Key Additions: QB Robert Griffin III, LB Demario Davis, and S Rahim Moore.

Key Losses: C Alex Mack, LB Craig Robertson, LB Karlos Dansby, S Donte Whitner, T Mitchell Schwartz, WR Travis Benjamin, S Tashaun Gipson, and QB Johnny Manziel

Round 1, 8th pick (from Eagles)

Me: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

Treadwell

If Ezekiel Elliot is available at this pick, I may fall into temptation. I can’t deny someone with a similar skill set than Marshawn Lynch. However, the NFL Draft is crazy. I believe someone will snatch him up somewhere between the 3rd to 7th pick overall pick. Maybe even Dallas at 4. So who would I go with if Zeke is gone? The player I’ve been talking about since the second week of college football. Treadwell is the real deal. The past few drafts, the Browns have turned down so many talented receivers. NO MORE! If the front office is going to do something different than they must prove it! The receivers on the roster right now are Andrew Hawkins, Brian Hartline, Desmond Jennings, and Terrell Pryor. I wouldn’t worry about Josh Gordon. Even if he’s reinstated, he’ll probably get traded. Treadwell is a similar player to Gordon. Good speed, excellent hands, and consistently broke tackles during his college career. His stocked dropped after a severe knee injury in 2014 and poor combine. But I don’t rely on the combine for anything. I am sick and tired of a moderate receiving core. The quarterbacks need help! Whoever he is! With this pick, I have given them some serious help. Something they’re not used to having.

Browns: OLB Myles Jack, UCLA

Jack

When the Browns are on the clock, I don’t expect a receiver to be on their mind. I bet an offensive linemen will be the only players they’ll consider for the offense with this pick. The team needs help everywhere at this point. Cleveland will go with Jack because of his playmaking ability and their desperate need for some youth at the linebacker position. New guy, Demario Davis, is the only middle linebacker on the team right now. Outside linebackers consist of Paul Kruger, Scott Solomon, and Barkevious Mingo. Kruger isn’t getting younger. Solomon is coming off a serious injury. Mingo didn’t get cut because of Ray Horton’s special plans for him. I will give Mingo credit, he did bulk up 20 pounds since Horton returned. Myles Jack is a safe and solid pick here. Don’t be surprised to hear Deforest Buckner’s name called if he’s available. I don’t personally believe Joey Bosa will be around at 8. If he was, along with Elliot, I wouldn’t want to be the one to make that decision.  Browns go defense in the 1st round either way.

Other options: WR Josh Docston, T Jack Conklin, DL Deforest Buckner, and RB Ezekiel Elliot (if he’s there).

 

Round 2, 32nd pick

Me: WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

Boyd

What?! Another receiver?! Didn’t you hear me the first time?! I’m tired of it!!! Time to load up with two talented receivers. I had a tough time deciding between Boyd and my Buckeye’s Micheal Thomas. After much debate with myself, I picked Boyd. He consistently made the tough catch, especially in the end zone. Blessed with solid speed and a 6’2 frame. Plus he beat Larry Fitzgerald’s school record of receptions and yards. Yeah, he’s a big deal. Put him on the opposite of Treadwell, along with Hawkins and Hartline in the slots, the Browns will give defenses problems for once.

Browns: QB Cardale Jones, Ohio State

Jones2

WHAT?! NO! Seth, you can’t be serious?! Oh, but I am. It doesn’t matter who’s in the front office or under the headset. The Browns are the Browns. The dust will settle and they’ll kick off day two of the draft with a shocker. Cleveland will want to lock up the hometown kid in the 2nd round and start the new project at the quarterback position. I can see it now. Cleveland fans making Cardale the number one sold jersey in the NFL for the rest of the offseason. It was the plan from the get go. After getting a good look at Wentz, they go for the guy who led the Buckeyes to their championship run and victory. Coach Jackson would have a lot of work to do with this one.

Other options: S Keanu Neal, WR Corey Coleman, DE Kevin Dodd, WR Micheal Thomas, and C Ryan Kelly

 

Round 3, 65th pick

Me: G Joshua Garnett, Stanford

Garnett

Now I address the offensive line. Returning players consist of Cameron Erving, Joel Bitonio, John Greco, and of course, Joe Thomas. But with Mack and Schwartz leaving the team, it has left some serious holes that need to be filled. Garnett is a force to be reckoned with. Defenders could never catch him off balanced and seemed to never get passed him. I’m not sure how much longer Greco will be with team. Better put Garnett on the opposite side of Bitonio.

Browns: C Nick Martin, Notre Dame

Martin2

Browns weren’t able to contain Alex Mack this offseason. I think they like Erving everywhere else but center on that line. They fill that hole here with their first third round pick. They’ll need someone who can help guide the o-line in a similar fashion Mack did. That being said, Martin maybe selected by the Browns.

Other options: S Jeremy Cash, S Jalen Mills, OLB Kyle Fackrell, and LB Joshua Perry.

 

Round 3, 77th pick (from Eagles)

Me: MLB Joshua Perry, Ohio State

Perry

The past few seasons, the team has struggled to consistently tackle properly. Very few players on the team consistently brought opponents down. Damario Davis will need a sidekick in that 3-4  defense. Ohio State’s Josh Perry had fantastic vision and was a phenomenal wrap up tackler. I know the Browns never draft Buckeyes, but it’s time to change that. Perry fits perfectly with what the Browns want to do on the defensive side of the ball.

Browns: WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers

Carroo

The Browns will finally address their wide receiver need in the 3rd round. Analyts will probably tell you Sterling Shepard would be the better fit here, losing Travis Benjamin and all. But the analytics will say Carroo is a better fit for the Browns. See what I did there? Carroo wouldn’t necessarily be a bad pick here. He is a tough player who had a knack for breaking tackles. Watching him play, I see some similarities to Golden Tate. But at the same time I can see him being another Greg Little. It’s tough to say what type of player he’ll exactly be, but I can see him in orange and brown.

Other options: WR Braxton Miller, WR Sterling Shepard, LB Deion Jones, OLB Kamalei Correa, and OLB Shilique Calhoun

 

Round 4, 99th pick

Me: T Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech

Clark2

The offensive line was inconsistent last season. The run game suffered the most. Unfortunate for the Browns, Mitchell Schwartz left the team after a Pro Bowl type season. The one game Von Miller didn’t record a tackle was in Cleveland because of Schwartz. Clark is worth taking here at 99. Cameron Erving is an option at right tackle, but Coach Jackson could like him better at guard. The o-line needs some serious depth right now.

Browns: ILB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri

Brothers2

Browns have yet to replace Craig Robertson. Brothers was a playmaker for Missouri on defense and special teams. There is a case to be made for Beniquez Brown with this pick. Brown has the up beat attitude Hue Jackson wants to put in the locker room. However, I got a gut feeling the analytics say other wise. Browns may target Brothers here at 99.

 

Round 4, 100th pick

Me: C Evan Boehm, Missouri

Boehm

Browns have back to back picks to kick off the 4th round. If I had my way, they would load up on offensive line depth since that hurt them badly last year. Getting good o-line depth during the season is tough. That’s why they need to load up in the draft. I think Boehm is a steal here at 100. He was originally a guard that switched positions entering his sophomore year. I can see him starting as the new center.

Browns: WR Charone Peake, Clemson

Peake2

No matter how bad the Browns have drafted the past decade, they always pick one fan favorite out. Last year it was Duke Johnson. The Browns know they need more receivers. With the 100th pick overall, I can see them going with Peake. Overall, he has good hands but is more known for his speed and agility. He could catch a two yard pass and make it into an eleven yard play, dodging a couple defenders in the process. Peake would help fans forget about Travis Benjamin.

Other options for 99 and 100: WR Chris More, WR Pharoh Cooper, WR Kenny Lawler, LB BJ Goodson, DE/LB Alex McCalister, DE/LB Joe Schobert, C Jack Allen, and LB Beniquez Brown.

 

Round 4, 138th pick (from Eagles)

Me: S Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah

Killebrew

This would be a home run for the Browns. They cut Donte Whitner and didn’t resign Tashaun Gipson. They did add Rahim Moore, which I am a big fan of, but he’s not guaranteed a roster spot past the preseason. Killebrew is a diamond in the rough. He is a hard hitting, ball hawk with Pro Bowl potential. Known for jarring the ball loose and reading quarterbacks like a pro. I wouldn’t rule out picking him at 100 just to lock him up. Killebrew would fill a huge need for the Browns.

Browns: RB Daniel Lasco, California

Lasco

Browns got it right drafting Duke Johnson last year. However, Isiah Crowell struggled at times and got a slow start. Cleveland will look to add offensive weapons during the draft to help out whoever is under center. That’s why Lasco makes sense here. His playing style reminds me of Jeremy Hill. Sorry for any Corwell fans, but if they make this pick he could be on his way out. Johnson and Lasco could be a one-two punch Jackson would want on the field.

 

BONUS: Round 6, 172nd pick

Me: DT Cody Grice, Akron

CODY!

Here in the sixth round, I make the biggest steal of the draft. A game changer that Browns fans will never forget. This defensive linemen can also play running back. He is a leader. He will hype up the locker room game in and game out. During his career, he’ll earn the nickname Little Sapp. The first game he gets noticed will be the first match up against Pittsburgh. Grice will bring down Roethlisberger three times that game. The quarterback will get hit so hard he’ll debate retirement. Fans will hope to see Grice hold up the Lombardi trophy in Cleveland. If so, he could be the second Akronite to help Cleveland win a national championship. The King still needs to do his part though.

 

Conclusion

The Browns have A LOT of work to do. Too many holes to fill and one draft isn’t going to do it. They could have the best draft in NFL history and still not have a full team. I am not 100% sure how the analytics will improve the team. It sounds good and all, but it also sounds risky. I do love the choice of hiring Hue Jackson. He could be the coach Cleveland has been asking for in quite sometime. If I were to encourage the Browns to do one thing in this draft, it would be skip selecting a quarterback. They have two first round picks for next year. Use one of them to pick your franchise quarterback. Robert Griffin will most likely become the starter over Josh McCown. Expect the dark horse candidate, Connor Shaw, to make the team. Just surround those guys with help so they have a legit chance. This will be an interesting draft for Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns Four Round Mock Draft 2015: What I would do and What they may do

Cleveland-Browns-new-logo

Introduction: November 6, 2014. Brian Hoyer and his teammates are celebrating their 24-3 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on national television. Hoyer dreamed of moments like this since he was a youngster growing up in Cleveland. The Browns improve to 6-3, putting them in first place in the division. It was the first time since 2007 that they won more than five games. Mike Pettine, his players, and all the fans felt like they were on top of the world that night. Then reality set in. They’re still the Cleveland Browns. The team finished the rest of the season with a 1-6 record and ended on a five game losing streak. Hoyer only throws two touchdowns the rest of the season, along with nine interceptions. He leads a comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, but follows it with back to back losses. Troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon returns and doesn’t make an impact. After a one point defeat against the Indianapolis Colts, Coach Pettine decided to make a change. Browns fans would finally get to see their savior make his starting debut. The league was curious to see if Johnny Manziel could save his team’s season. They played the Bengals again. The result was the exact opposite as last time. Johnny Football was slaughtered and the Browns didn’t even score a single point. Injuries continued, resulting in Connor Shaw starting under center the last game of the season. The following day, Browns fans received good news. No news. The silence was music to their ears. For two straight years they’ve had to deal with firings and changes that brought an unstable environment within the front office. For once, the ownership took the next step forward. Then the organization was hit with a storm of issues. Josh Gordon fails his third drug test, resulting in a one season suspension. Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan demands his release from the team. He later reveals to the media he didn’t appreciate text messages coming from the press box during the games. The NFL investigates the team following that statement. General Manager Ray Farmer admits the text messages came from him. As a result, he is fined and suspended four games. The ‘text-gate’ put a bad image on the team. While all that was going on, Johnny Manziel enters a rehab facility in Pennsylvania. Farmer’s actions make Hoyer skeptical about returning to his favorite team. A week before the unrestricted free agency period started, the Browns signed quarterback Josh McCown. After the acquisition, it was clear Hoyer would not be returning to the team. The pride and joy is gone. The number one receiver is gone. The savior needs professional help. Free agency period comes and go’s. Farmer does a good job picking up players to fill certain holes without blowing up the salary cap. Injured players continue to progress and heal. The team releases new logos and uniforms to help pump up the fans for the team’s future. Those things are nice but won’t help us get to the playoffs. So what does this team need? What can move the Cleveland Browns in a championship direction? A grade A draft. There are two first round picks and ten total picks to help improve the team. Farmer has one draft under his belt. He now needs to capitalize on this one. I think he’s more prepared than last time. Hell, even Urban Meyer raved about his work ethic. I also like to provide my own opinions. So here is my special Cleveland Browns four round mock draft.

Key Additions: QB Josh McCown, WR Brian Hartline, WR Dwayne Bowe, TE Rob Housler, DT Randy Starks, and CB Tramon Williams

Key Departures: WR Miles Austin, TE Jordan Cameron, QB Brian Hoyer, DT Ahtyba Rubin, OLB Jabaal Sheard, and CB Buster Skrine

Round 1 Pick 12

What I want: Trade down if possible, WR Breshad Perriman, University of Central Florida
Perriman
Reading mock drafts I have seen the names Marcus Mariota, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Amari Cooper, and Danny Shelton come up as possibilities. That sounds fine and dandy, but I think all of them are off the board when the Browns pick. Trading down is not a bad idea when your trying to load up on talent. That being said, I would like to see them do it again. I believe we still have a shot at Perriman trading down, but if not, just take him here. Why Perriman? Do you remember a certain underrated wider receiver in the last draft by the name of Odell Beckham Jr.? That’s the type of player his is and he could make the same impact on the Browns. A 6’3 frame with Josh Gordon like speed and Larry Fitzgerald hands. He catches everything. Passes thrown high, low, behind, and also makes the one hand grab when necessary. Bowe and Hartline were good pick ups, but you need a true number one receiver threat. Perriman is a steal.

What the Browns may do: Trade down, OL La’el Collins, Louisiana University
Collins
I think the Browns will go all in for trading down again this year. I don’t know exactly who, but I’m almost 100% sure it happens. Trade partners could include 49ers, Chiefs, Lions, Cardinals, Texans, and Eagles. When it does happen and the Browns have to pick, I think they go Collins here. Offensive line was awesome when Alex Mack was healthy, but still some questions with Mitchell Schwarz and John Greco. Last year, Farmer made a fantastic pick with Joel Bitonio, who just missed making the Pro Bowl roster. Collins is a strong guard who would fit with their drop-back scheme. Good protection for whoever is under center. It’s not a flashy pick but sometimes the boring pick can make a big difference. I wouldn’t be mad if the Browns went this route instead.

Other options: OL Ereck Flowers, OLB Alvin Dupree, and WR Jaelan Strong

Round 1 Pick 19 (from Buffalo Bills)

What I want: OL Cameron Erving, Florida State University Erving
This would be a home run for the Browns. Erving played left tackle most of his college career. He also excelled at guard and center. We could utilize him in many different ways. Perfect insurance for offensive line injuries or, God forbid, Alex Mack leaves next year. Coaches raved about his leadership skills when changing positions and helping FSU to focus on winning. He is expected to still be available here so I say snag him.

What the Browns may do: RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin Gordon
WHAT?! A RUNNING BACK?! ARE YOU SURE?! No, I’m not. But if your a Browns fan, you know they adopted CBS’s Big Brother motto, expect the unexpected, when it comes to the draft. Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West did a solid job last season, but they were pretty much non-existent the last six games. The best seasons you get out of a running back are their first few seasons. That’s why I don’t think they went out and got a veteran back like last year. Gordon is very much like Jamaal Charles. Extremely fast, good hands, fantastic juke moves, and great vision. I originally had Indiana back Tevin Coleman here, but no sign of the Browns seriously considering him at this point. Adding Gordon will be Farmer’s way of trying to add more weapons for whoever is quarterback. Wouldn’t be a bad pick in my eyes, but the new Browns franchise has had bad luck with first round running backs. Remember William Green and Trent Richardson? I would like to forget too.

Other options: RB Tevin Coleman, WR Philip Dorsett, and DE/OLB Owamagbe Odighizua

Round 2 Pick 43

What I want: LB Denzel Perryman, University of Miami Perryman
You don’t get a player of his caliber in the second round a lot. A mega athlete and a play maker on the defensive side. Strong, fast, and aggressive. Quarterbacks and halfbacks hated him. Perryman played in a 3-4 defense at inside and outside linebacker. Browns linebacker squad is solid, but if you can get better you make it happen. Dansby isn’t young and Mingo has limitations. Perryman has been compared to Ray Lewis and D’Qwell Jackson. It’s time to bring more pressure to opposing offenses and draft him here.

What the Browns may do: WR Devin Smith, Ohio State Smith
You look at the past few Super Bowl winners and realize they just have receivers that can catch the ball. The Seahawks and Patriots didn’t have an A.J. Green or a Dez Bryant. They just had a group of guys that caught the ball and advanced the drive down field. I think that’s what will be going on in Farmer’s head when the Browns are on the clock. He did scout first round receivers, but adding Bowe and Hartline will encourage him to look at other talent in the first instead of going for a possible stellar receiver. In the second round, I think he fills that receiving hole. The front office loves Smith. Even though Buckeyes aren’t favored among the Browns in recent drafts, one comes to Cleveland here. Speed similar to Andrew Hawkins with excellent possession hands. I would personally prefer Dorial Green-Beckham here, but I won’t deny an OSU alumni.

Other options: TE Maxx Williams, DT Carl Davis, and WR Dorial Green-Beckham

Round 3 Pick 77

What I want: RB Duke Johnson, University of Miami
Johnson
I think its time to add some more depth to the running back position. I am a big fan of Crowell and think he has what it takes to be a starter. West was a solid pick up last year and made up for any mistakes he made. However, we once again didn’t have a one thousand yard rusher last season. Johnson is a tough runner with great vision and sick juke moves. When defensive lines did stop him, he always pushed for another yard or two. His receiving hands bailed out his quarterback’s terrible throws many times. Johnson is a good weapon to have on any squad and worth taking in the third round.

What the Browns may do: DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson
Jarrett
Browns had a hard time stopping the run last year. Injuries to the defensive line were crucial but even before that there needed to be some serious improvements. Jarrett was the middle man in Clemson’s 3-4 defense. Fast for his size and brought serious pressure to the quarterback. His best asset is plugging up holes and bringing running backs to the ground. Pettine will want to draft some depth for his defensive line. They make the move here. I can see him being a difference maker in every game.

Other options: TE Devin Funchess, DT Micheal Bennett, OLB Markus Golden, TE Clive Walford, and QB Garrett Grayson

Round 4 Pick 111

What I want: DT Henry Anderson, Stanford
Anderson
I’m all for adding more to the defensive line. Anderson played defensive end and tackle for Stanford’s 3-4 defense. His size and speed reminds a little bit of Chris Clemons from the Seattle Seahawks. He brought some serious pressure to the run and pass game. Picking him in the fourth round is a diamond in the ruff.

What the Browns may do: OLB Trey Flowers, Arkansas
Flowers
Browns let Jabaal Sheard go and Mingo is only good at pressuring the pass game. Flowers would be a great fit for Pettine’s defense. Speed similar to Mingo but with excellent play recognition and containment. There were plays last year where an opposing running back took off for a possible sixty yard touchdown but only ended up with six yards, because Flowers came out of no where and slammed him to the turf. Arkansas played a 3-4 defense similar to the Browns and mixed up Flowers assignments. He could blitz and play zones with no problem. Sounds like a player the Browns could have used last year.

Round 4 Pick 15 (from Buffalo Bills)

What I want: S Gerod Holliman, Louisville
holliman
Last year, both Browns safeties, Donte Whitner and Taushaun Gipson, made the Pro Bowl roster last year. Whitner will continue to play his heart out for his hometown, but he only has so many good seasons left in him. Gipson’s injury caused him to miss his Pro Bowl opportunity and on top of that he’s still not signed for next year. No doubt in my mind the Browns give him a long term contract in the near future. However, the team has no depth in that position right now. Holliman was the definition of a ball-hawk for the Cardinals last year. His vision, play recognition, and hands are at pro level already. The only issue he has is his tackling. He had a difficult time consistently bringing players down and stopping the play. Under Pettine, he would improve and be more prepared before week one against the Jets. I wouldn’t be against picking up Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt with this pick instead. He’s a hard hitter similar to former Brown T.J. Ward.

What the Browns may do: C Max Garcia, University of Florida
Garcia
Farmer didn’t pick up any offensive linemen in free agency this spring. I think he did that on purpose to load up on the young guns in the draft. Last year when Alex Mack went down, the team wasn’t the same. The Browns had only one good running game without him and quarterbacks felt more pressure. Garcia is a solid pick here and a pick I think they make. Putting him on the second string squad gives Pettine some peace of mind just in case Mack gets hurt again. If my predictions are correct, the Browns will have two new offensive linemen after four rounds giving them the depth they needed last year.

Other options for both fourth round picks: TE Nick O’Leary, S Cody Perwitt, and QB Bryce Petty

Conclusion: This is a do or die draft for Ray Farmer. He stepped out of line and made the questionable pick in Johnny Manziel last year. He has done well with free agency and undrafted free agency so far. The text-gate situation would have had him fired on any other team. Because of the Browns instability the past five years and the improvements last year, his job was safe. If you’re familiar with the Browns situation, you know there never has been a true starting quarterback. So why don’t I have any quarterbacks taken in this mock draft? A few reasons. One, I think Farmer realizes drafting a quarterback high in this draft doesn’t make sense after drafting Mr. Football in the first round last year. He needs to show he’s committed to the decision. Second, this draft is stacked with very talented players in every position except quarterback. I almost want to put money down that Winston and Mariota end up with similar careers as the top 2007 draft quarterback prospects had. Remember them? Jamarcus Russell the Raiders answer to their prayers and Brown’s Brady Quinn, who would hold the Lombardi Trophy one day. Not worth the risk. I won’t rule out the Browns drafting a quarterback late in the draft, but I don’t see them making the big move this year (I really hope they don’t). Next year’s class provides a lot more potential including Cleveland’s own Cardale Jones. If the Browns can get this draft right, we could be looking at the makings of a good team for the next few years. GO BROWNS!!!!!