Now that the dust settled following their blockbuster, landscape-altering mega trade for superstar wideout Odell Beckham Jr, the Cleveland Browns begin the process of turning their attention to the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft down in Nashville.
Their trade for the aforementioned Beckham Jr. that sent their first round and third round picks in 2019 along with former first round pick S Jabrill Peppers along with sending former free agent signing G Kevin Zeitler—also to the New York Giants for DE/LB Olivier Vernon would be followed up by the free agent signings of Pro Bowl DT Shledon Richardson, TE Demetrius Harris, OL Eric Kush and LB Adarius Taylor roughly a month after signing the troubled and talented former Willoughby South High standout and Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt—who was just suspended eight games—for his physical altercation with a woman in a Cleveland hotel back in February of 2018.
Going into the 2019 NFL Draft, the Browns’ needs were at OT, ILB, WR, CB, S. After the following trades, Cleveland’s updated needs are CB, S—and possibly WR, despite Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley and Antonio Callaway already on the roster, and Cleveland recently signing former Houston Texans wideout Jaelen Strong.
Having missed out on S Earl Thomas, who signed a four-year $55 million deal with the AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens and are reportedly in pursuit of recently released Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry, Clearly, the Browns are trying to fill the void left by Peppers at safety.
In my opinion, I feel that the Browns need either a safety to pair alongside Demarious Randall or a CB to put opposite second-year Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward, more than WR or OLB, as they also have a real gem in second-year edge rusher Gerard Avery out of Memphis, who may be able to step in for the traded-away Jamie Collins.
Below are who I feel are the top five likely second round targets that the Browns should consider:
- Johnathan Abram, S Miss St.
- Parris Campbell, WR Ohio State
- Byron Murphy, CB Washington
- Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
- Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
As you can see, four out of five are S or CB with the lone exception being former Saint Vincent-Saint Mary 6’0 205-pound standout and Akron native, Parris Campbell. Who I feel thanks to his speed—as he ran a 4.35 in Indianapolis—size and ability may be the only WR worth taking in the second round, aside from perhaps Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown, Hakeem Butler out of Iowa State and N.K. Harry out of Arizona State.
While it is St. Patrick’s Day today, unless past drafts, Browns fans no longer need to fear the Ides of March, and with general manager John Dorsey running the draft, for the first time in a generation, a once-anxious and cautiously guarded fan base can sit back and know that they have a front office that knows what it’s doing and will make the right decision.