Now that the major free agent signings have been finalized, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be looking at the top three needs for each team heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. Today, the Cleveland Browns are the focus. The Browns have both the first and 12th overall picks in the first round. This year, coach Hue Jackson and pseudo-general manager Sashi Brown will look to kick their team’s rebuild into high gear. With 11 total picks in 2017, the Browns should vastly improve if they hit on their picks this year. Here’s what needs to be addressed during the Cleveland Browns 2017 NFL Draft.
Cleveland Browns 2017 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs
Is the Browns front seven already getting stronger? Yes, definitely. But could it get even better in the draft this year? Absolutely. While Gregg Williams often runs a 4-3 defensive front seven, the middle of the line is already pretty good. Danny Shelton is greatly improving and Jamie Meder could be setting up for a breakout year in 2017. So that’s the middle of the line. But what about the ends? Although Emmanuel Ogbah had a promising rookie year, the Browns need someone to put on the other end of the line.
Myles Garrett just so happens to be a defensive end. The consensus top pick in the draft, scouts often describe Garrett as a “can’t-miss” prospect. Additionally, the Browns have both the draft’s highest pick and a need at defensive end. It’s almost too perfect. Since the end of the 2016 season, Garrett has been a shoe-in for the Cleveland Browns. There is no reason for him not to receive a call from Hue Jackson on the night of April 27th. The Cleveland Browns front seven is already getting stronger and Myles Garrett could complete the group.
In this world, only three things can be certain. Death, taxes, and the Cleveland Browns needing a quarterback. Unfortunately for the Browns, this year’s quarterback class has no clear-cut frontrunner. However, Hue Jackson and the Browns must be willing to take a chance if they want a quarterback this year. Even if the player they take this year is a project (a la Patrick Mahomes), the Browns can afford to roll with Cody Kessler for now. Perhaps if they really like what Kessler does this year, they can eliminate the need at quarterback altogether. One more thing is almost certain; eventually, one of these quarterbacks is going to work for the Browns. Hopefully for Browns fans, that quarterback comes sooner rather than later.
While the Cleveland Browns have worked on their front seven immensely, the back end of their defense needs some serious help. Truthfully, Cleveland’s defensive secondary is one of, if not the worst in the league. Aside from Joe Haden, who is nearly constantly injured, the Browns have no good defenders in the secondary. Although the jury is still out on Briean Boddy-Calhoun, among others, the future does not look bright. During the 2017 NFL Draft, the Browns need to bring some new blood to their secondary, especially the safety position.
Looking at the Browns options at safety, this class is loaded. If the Browns want to look to the position in the first round, Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker are there. Outside of that, Budda Baker seems to be the popular pick. Along with Baker and UConn’s Obi Melifonwu, Cleveland’s safety squad could be getting an overhaul in the 2017 NFL Draft. Even in the later rounds, the Browns could find the starters they need to make their secondary respectable again.