The Cleveland Browns have the No.1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and while that may seem like a blessing to most teams, for the Browns it could be a curse. Cleveland has not had the best luck lately when it comes to drafting talent. The last time they had the option at No.1 (‘99,00) the Browns decided to go QB and DE. Not a bad choice but it didn’t pan out.
Enter the 2017 Draft and the Browns are staring down the barrel of mediocrity again. However, looking at their roster then to their record, you would think they are a terrible bunch. 1-16 is not to be taken lightly but neither is their streak of bad luck either. To be honest, drafting Johnny Manziel was not a bad move and neither was the selection of RB Trent Richardson. Every team goes through this as the NFL Draft is a crap shoot. You either hit or you miss.
As the Browns get ready to make the first selection April 27th the rumors have already begun that they have narrowed it down to two players. QB Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina or Myles Garrett of Texas A&M.
Herein lies the dilemma the Browns are facing–who to take? Should the Browns brass reach and take Trubisky with the 1st pick and build an offense that can contend with the likes of the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots? Or, should they go with Garrett and follow the defensive success that the Baltimore Ravens did with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed?
As great as the Raiders were last year they lacked a dominant defense. However, the Browns may already have their signal-caller of the future in Cody Kessler. Last season was not a down year for Kessler (1380/6/1/65%), he just lacked weapons. However, for the Browns to ignore what another season could mean for him and the team would be downright foolish. Drafting Trubisky may be a good choice but it’s also a risky one.
His arm is NFL ready and he can read a defense well but when isn’t that said about a QB? We hear the same accolades EVERY Draft regarding 2-3 different players at that position. The main issue for Trubisky is one that’s not covered as much. Trubisky is basically a one-year wonder. 2016 was his first full season as the starter and while the numbers were great he may need more time. The Browns are not playing against the Florida State Seminoles or the Clemson Tigers. There are NFL vets that will come gunning for the rookie in a division that houses three hard-hitting defenses in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengal, and the Ravens.
On the flipside of the coin you have Garrett who has one job– destroy the O-Line and the QB. This is an area where the Browns desperately need his services. In 2016 the Browns finished 30th with only 26 sacks as a team. How are they to take the next step when their front 7 cannot pressure the QB into mistakes? The Browns are in a division with annual playoff QBs and need a pass rusher who can put a little fear into their hearts.
There are talks that Garrett took plays off and he has never played over 70 percent of the defensive snaps while in college. That is of some concern, however, when you’re tagged as the next Julius Peppers there’s no team, especially the Browns that can afford to pass on a player with Garrett’s skills.
It’s no secret that an explosive offense it powerful but when has a team won solely on the offensive side? Games are won with defense and the Browns may need to take heed to that. Stack that defense in the first round and build your offense in the later rounds. It’s a winning formula and it’s time the Browns readjusted their thinking.