Team Needs: Cleveland Browns
NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 10 Needs
1. WR - 4.5
2. QB - 3.5
3. RB - 3.5
4. CB - 3.0
5. DE - 3.0
6. OG - 3.0
7. LB - 3.0
8. K - 3.0
9. P - 2.5
10. DT - 2.0
Quarterback - The leash around Colt McCoy's neck is being yanked tighter and tighter, and given the Browns high draft pick and additional ammo facilitated by the Falcons draft day trade a year ago, they are in prime position to move up and get one of the premier passers in this year's draft. And it seems to be very much written on the wall that they will target a quarterback high in this year's draft to push McCoy if not outright replace him. NEED: 3.5
Running Back - Reports are that the Browns are split on whether or not they should bring Peyton Hillis back into the fold. But even if they do, it's likely that they will at least try and add a good young back in the draft to be an insurance policy. Montario Hardesty has done next to nothing in his opportunity this past year, and they will look to solidify their ground attack in order to take pressure off whoever their quarterback is. NEED: 3.5
Fullback - They will continue to grow and develop Marecic here, showing their commitment to a steady ground attack. NEED: 0.0
Wide Receiver - Their attempts to develop a No. 1 target via the draft have ended in failure. Greg Little has flashed promise, but he along with Massaquoi and Josh Cribbs should at best be the No. 2 through 4 receivers one a depth chart. Given their struggles via the draft, they could target one of the top veterans on the market. But it's possible that if they do opt to give McCoy another shot, to try and use their top pick on Justin Blackmon if need be. NEED: 4.5
Tight End - Evan Moore is a nice role player, and they are planning on bringing Ben Watson back as their starter despite a concussion limiting him down the stretch. They did draft Jordan Cameron a year ago, so they have bodies and likely won't need to add more. NEED: 1.0
Offensive Tackle - Joe Thomas is the league's best left tackle, and Tony Pashos is an adequate right tackle. Despite his durability concerns, it seems like they are poised to give Pashos another year. But they might draft a developmental player if they don't move Jason Pinkston out to this position. NEED: 1.5
Offensive Guard - Pinkston struggled as a replacement for Eric Steinbach, and while Shawn Lauvao wasn't great on the other side, they seem content with his progress so far. Steinbach will be expected to take a pay cut or take a hike, and if so this position will become a priority to address in the off-season. NEED: 3.0
Center - Along with Thomas, Alex Mack is one of their key anchors for the future. If there is any concern, it might be depth, but that would only require a cheap veteran signing in free agency. NEED: 0.5
Defensive Tackle - The Browns seem keen to continue developing Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin in the middle. If there is concern, it comes in the form of bolstering the rotation and depth. NEED: 2.0
Defensive End - Jabaal Sheard had a solid rookie year with 8.5 sacks. But Jayme Mitchell was subpar at the other spot, so much so that he was benched late in the year in favor of ex-Falcons practice squad player Emmanuel Stephens. The Browns will definitely look to upgrade that spot. If they can't find a free agent to do so, they will definitely opt for one of the earlier picks to find someone that can be a starter immediately. NEED: 3.0
Linebacker - It seems that the Browns are intent on keeping D'Qwell Jackson in the middle, and Chris Gocong is solid on the weakside. Scott Fujita is a serviceable starter at the other spot, but he'll be 33 by the time the draft rolls around and they should be looking for his replacement given it's also the final year of his deal. NEED: 3.0
Cornerback - Joe Haden was solid this past year, but Sheldon Brown showed his age at the other spot. Dimitri Patterson proved himself a capable nickel corner, so if he's re-signed the key will be to upgrade the outside No. 2 spot. They could potentially find that early in the draft given the relative depth at the position if they don't sign a young free agent they like. NEED: 3.0
Safety - Brown could be cut, or move to free safety where he could compete with Mike Adams. Brown will be 33 and Adams 31 next year, so it would make sense for them to also target a young developmental option. But the presence of Usama Young (27) on the bench means it's not a need. He can play either spot, and he along with strong safety T.J. Ward could be the starting pair of the future. NEED: 1.0
Kicker - The Browns could try and bring back Phil Dawson, but it might not be a high priority given his age and their lack of desire to commit long-term to the 38-year old. NEED: 3.0
Punter - The Browns signed Brad Maynard as a stopgap given the struggles of Richmond McGee early in the year after Reggie Hodges tore his Achilles. Maynard likely won't be re-signed, and given the severity of Hodges injury, it's likely that the Browns will look at other options at least for the sake of competition. NEED: 2.5
Return Specialist - While Josh Cribbs has one of the best reputations as a return threat, it's possible they bring in someone to push him given that he's entering the final year of his contract and has yet to make major strides as a receiver. NEED: 1.5
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