Quarterback: The Manziel Effect
I'm still not convinced, I think there will be some trading right off the bat that will instantly destroy the majority of these mock drafts that don't account for that. But if he does come here the attention will be huge and the Browns genuinely enjoy unprecedented national attention.
I expect the Manziel jersey to explode wherever he lands so from a PR standpoint he has tremendous upside. Sadly I'm not so convinced that he will make the same impact on the football field, it will at least be exciting watching it unfold.
Wide Receiver: The Watkins Effect
I don't think some people realize how hard it is to break into the NFL as a WR. I've heard many people proclaim that they would like Clemson's Sammy Watkins to be the Browns top pick. I have no issue with that, other than the fact many also refer to a Watkins pick as a "Win Now" option for the team. This simply is not the case, only Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin came into the league and dominated right off the bat in recent memory.
History has shown most receivers don't hit their potential until about halfway through their 2nd full season. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't be okay with seeing Watkins in a Browns jersey. Normally if a WR was chosen in the top 10 that would be an indication that he would be thrust into a a #1 receiver role. In Cleveland, Sammy Watkins would be a #2 receiver and be able to have an instant impact on the players around him.
While I also don't think this will be the direction we will go, it is worth mentioning that this is one of the most favorable drafts for the WR position in recent memory. Some have mentioned Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans as another dark horse candidate for the #4 pick. My guess is we will join in a feeding frenzy for WRs in the 2nd round, nabbing a guy like Penn State's Allen Robinson. I think the whole point of bringing in a Nate Burleson was to mentor a young, developing receiver. But I wouldn't be sad if either Watkins or Evans became a Brown next week.
Defense: The Writing is On the Wall
Fans love when team draft offensive skill positions because those are the splashy picks. But my guess for the direction the Browns actually do go is on the defensive side of the ball. It is my belief that Buffalo LB Khalil Mack may actually be the #1 player on the Browns draft board. Mack looked like a man among boys in the MAC conference, and put great things on tape against any major conference talent that he faced.
Khalil Mack isn't the only defensive beast that looks to get drafted early. If something bizarre happens at the top of the draft it wouldn't be impossible for South Carolina's DE Jadeveon Clowney to land in the Browns laps. Clowney is considered one of the finest defensive prospects in years. Recent concerns about his work ethic could cause an unexpected drop in his stock to the #4 spot, especially if Mack is taken unexpectedly.
Offensive Line: The Sure Thing
One thing to keep in mind for the Browns is that Ray Farmer is leading his first draft as an NFL GM. This #4 pick is going to be the one that will define him. In the draft the most reliable picks are those of offensive lineman. This year has two names at the top of the list.
If Farmer wants to go the safe route he can choose to select Auburn OT Greg Robinson. Robinson is widely known as a great run blocker and tremendous physical specimen. Many people don't think Robinson will survive to #4, so if Farmer wanted to stay on the safe side he could select Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews. Matthews is the son of hall of famer Bruce Matthews and nephew to our old friend Clay Matthews.
Either selection instantly gives the Browns one of the top offensive line units in the entire NFL. Robinson is touted as a better athlete, Matthews is credited with being the better pass blocker. Take your pick.
Anyway we go it will be interesting to see it unfold.
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