Andrew Berry was off to work quickly in free agency bringing in multiple players that will help the team toward the goal of a Super Bowl. Cleveland is tabbed as a contender by most, but there are multiple in the AFC.
Following the early part of free agency the Browns still have some work to do before it is time to suit up again. The team still could sign a couple free agents, but much of the focus is on the approaching NFL Draft.
Cleveland has a couple of positions that standout as areas to upgrade or become deeper at during the draft.
With a league that loves to pass the ball you really can not have enough defensive backs. Cleveland could use some help specifically at the boundary corner position. Troy Hill was brought in to play inside and Greedy Williams will return from injury. Essentially give the Browns two players to add to the mix that they didn’t have last season. The trick is, you can’t rely on the health of Williams’ shoulder until you see him go through training camp and even further.
Adding a player to the mix that can step in and give the team meaningful snaps would provide insurance and potentially even a position battle. If the right guy is there the Browns could make this move at pick number 26 in the first round. Terrance Mitchell was depended on last year with Williams out, but he opted to sign elsewhere.
Cleveland has an All-Pro caliber player on one side of the defensive line, but would love to add to the other side. Myles Garrett is going to make any player opposite of him immediately better just because of the attention he draws. Takk McKinley was signed and will give the team a nice pass rush at multiple points in the game. Unless he reaches his ceiling he is not the long term fix for that position.
After not signing Trey Hendrickson, JJ Watt or any of the other top pass rushers-the Browns still have options. There are multiple free agents out there still, but going with the draft should be the plan. Cleveland will be able to grab a player that can play immediately in a fixed role, potentially an even larger role depending on the prospect. If the Browns can get who they want in the first round and that pick is a defensive end, that player very well could challenge McKinley for snaps immediately.
An attractive approach is bringing in a rookie, molding them into what you want long term and having them split the reps with McKinley. This way you’re keeping a fresh presence off of the edge.
In a year or so the Browns wide receiver room could look way different. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are heavily paid and haven’t quite warranted it while in Cleveland. They have a chance to show they are deserving on the third go-around. Rashard Higgins is here for at least one more year, but he is deserving of a decent pay day and could be gone.
Donovan Peoples-Jones showed some really nice things as a rookie, including explosive plays downfield. It will be interesting to see what kind of leap he makes in his second year.
Baker Mayfield needs a player that has the trait of a burner downfield. Stretching the field would help this offense and multiple individuals in specific the tight ends. There is enough talent in the wide receiver room for this year, but Cleveland could be looking in the future by selecting a wideout early.
Drafting a prospect that can be your third or fourth wide receiver for a year with a higher ceiling would be an ideal move. In the end a player that could rise to be one of your top targets. The draft brings multiple options in the first three rounds that could potentially fit this mold.
Cleveland has taken free agency with a tight grip and improved the team. The draft comes as another boulevard on the way to continuing the upward trend of becoming a complete team.