Before the draft, we looked at the needs of the Cleveland Browns. (Eventually, those needs included “a really good lawyer.”) Now that the draft is over, it’s time to look at how they did.
What they needed: Cornerback, quarterback, receiver, linebacker, safety, tight end, kicker.
Who they got:
Round 1: Barkevious Mingo, LB, LSU.
Round 3: Lee McFadden, CB, San Diego State.
Round 6: Jamoris Slaughter, S, Notre Dame.
Round 7: Armonty Bryant, DE, East Central (OK); Garrett Gilkey, OT, Chadron State.
Where they hit: Mingo can be called a luxury pick, given that the Browns didn’t have a pressing need at outside linebacker. But the ability to get to the quarterback no longer is a luxury in the NFL; it’s a necessity. With free-agent acquisition Paul Kruger, the Browns suddenly have the ability to apply the Chudzinski Crunch to the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton. McFadden gives them a potential starter across from Joe Haden, and Slaughter fills an obvious need at safety.
Where they missed: With their second-round pick used last July on receiver Josh Gordon, the Browns traded their fourth-round pick for a third-round pick in 2014, and then their fifth-round pick for a fourth-round pick in 2014. For a team that needs to get better now, deferring a pair of picks to next year won’t help that effort, regardless of who they eventually get.
Impact rookies: Mingo could become an instant star, especially if opposing offenses opt not to game-plan around him until he proves his ability at the NFL level. McFadden could get a lot of interceptions, if quarterbacks avoid Haden and test the rookie. And if the rookie passes.
Long-term prospects: The Browns already had a decent amount of talent, and the decision to not draft a quarterback means that Brandon Weeden will indeed get another year to show that he’s the long-term answer. The lack of any new tight ends, given coach Rob Chudzinski’s affinity for those who play the position, is a good sign for the five guys already under contract.