CHICAGO – The Cleveland Browns came into the draft with four major needs: a run stopper, wide receiver, quarterback and backup center.
The team took advantage of having two first round picks to bring a change of scenery that brought a fresh new look that added to the revolutionary new jerseys. The renaissance period is about to begin.
The Browns were gashed by the running attack last year, which was a major reason for many losses in the second half of the season. Cleveland was 32nd in the NFL in run defense. The season-ending injuries to center Alex Mack and quarterback Brian Hoyer turned out to be the crippling blows that prevented the Browns from making the post-season for the first time since 2002.
Cleveland exceeded expectations by winning seven games and narrowly missing the playoffs. The playoff-hungry Browns were on the verge of starvation entering the 2015 NFL draft, as they were among a handful of teams linked to former Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Other players the Browns considered were Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. Thankfully, the Browns did not pay the Titans’ heavy ransom of surrendering both of their first round picks and a 2016 pick to trade up to move up to No.2
It turned out to be for the best as the Browns would have given up the chance to acquire multiple pieces to build a team with a lot of depth of multiple positions.
Shelton was selected 12th overall and the Browns added center Cameron Erving as an insurance policy should Mack be injured again. It also ensures that the Browns have a long-term center if Mack leaves the Browns via free agency.
Round 1, Pick 12: Danny Shelton, Defensive Tackle: Washington
• 2014 First Team All-American
• 93 tackles, 9 sacks in 2014
• 24 career tackles for loss
Round 1, Pick 19: Cameron Erving, Center: Florida State
• 2 time all ACC selection 2013 and 2014
• 2 time Jacobs blocking award winner for top offensive lineman in NCAA.
The Browns came into the draft with two tough questions. How did we lose so many games in the second half of the season? What do we do to prevent this from happening again so we can make the playoffs? These questions were answered tonight. What will the Browns do next?
Will they address their need for a wide receiver and quarterback in the next two days? Stay tuned Dawg Pound!