Cleveland Browns 2014 NFL Draft Scenarios to Ponder

Aug 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski watches on the sideline against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Dealing Trent Richardson may not have killed the 2013 season for the Cleveland Browns, but it certainly feels like it.  On the other hand, they now have two picks in the first round of what is expected to be a deep and talented 2014 NFL draft.  What are some scenarios that could play out for them?

Scenario #1 – Trade up for Teddy Bridgewater

Make no mistake.  Giving up on a top five running back who still has loads of potential signals that the Cleveland Browns front office has no confidence in their current offensive roster.  That includes quarterback Brandon Weeden who is 30-years old and not the kind of player head coach Rob Chudzinski prefers under center.  By dealing Richardson it gives them 10 total picks in the 2014 NFL draft but most importantly an extra first round choice.  Such currency allows a team to become aggressive on the trade market when the clock starts.  The best reason for Cleveland to move up is for a quarterback, and the best name expected on the board next may is Teddy Bridgewater.  The Louisville product has scouts very excited.  He has all the ideal physical attributes from size to mobility and arm strength along with the poise and mental toughness of a pro.  His convincing Sugar Bowl win over Florida proved that.  He is franchise quarterback material, something Cleveland hasn’t had for years.  By deal their two first round picks and possible a couple more it would enable them to jump near the top of the draft to get Bridgewater.

Scenario #2 – Take Jadeveon Clowney early and move up for Johnny Manziel

This idea is less aggressive but has more potential upside.  While trading up for Bridgewater is a big but calculated risk, it’s still just one player.  The Browns are expected to have a top five pick at least given the state of their roster, which should put them in prime position to select the other can’t-miss prospect in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.  While some question his durability due to the need for off-season surgery on his foot following the 2013 season, there is no question his physical talent is rare.  He has the potential to become a terror for the next decade in the NFL, regardless of the defense he plays in.  Cleveland could take him and then use their collection of later pick in the third and fourth round to possibly move up from the first round pick they got from Indianapolis.  One name often connected to them is Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel.  For all his personality quirks and controversies, he’s a dynamite athlete who plays big in big games.  His mobility is something Chudzinski would want in the Browns offense.  The only question is can his arm strength make it in the pros?  It’s definitely worth the risk to find out.

Scenario #3 – Trade out of top five to auction Clowney and take Anthony Barr

One strategy many general managers like to use is moving down in the first round to collect more picks.  If the Cleveland Browns do end up with a top five or even a top three pick it could put them in prime position to take offers from other teams who might have an eye for a player at the top.  For example, they could hold Jadeveon Clowney hostage.  While having no qualms about drafting him, the Browns may find other teams in or near the top ten that want him even more and are willing to offer a hefty collection of picks to make it happen.  Then the Browns could move down and take UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr.  In this scenario it makes total sense because though Clowney has the higher upside, Barr is very talented in his own right and would be a perfect fit for the Browns’ 3-4 defense under Ray Horton.  The team still gets a pass rusher to put opposite Barkevious Mingo and now have even more picks to entertain the idea of trading up later.

Topics: 2014 Nfl Draft, Cleveland Browns, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater

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  • William Plaster

    If the drafts in the past are indication of the Browns’ selection, they will bungle 2014 just like all the others. I do not have any confidence in the Browns. I have been a fan for 60 years.

    • Erik Lambert

      I think you can afford to at least trust Michael Lombardi. He was with the team back in the mid 90s when Belichick was the head coach. They built that team from the ground up into a playoff contender. Lombardi knows the formula and how to execute it. The key is not just getting the extra draft picks, he’ll have to pick good players. We’ll see.

      • William Plaster

        It isn’t a matter of trust with me, but when you have been spoon-fed information stating how great the team will be with the addition of the next round of players only to be disappointed with next round of draft picks.Belichick was a prime example of how business operates with the Browns. What could have been had Bill stayed in /cleveland? We will never know, but I am willing to bet the team wouldn’t be as much of a laughing stock as it is now. It appears that one constant is always present; player evaluation and development. I find it unexplainable that after 14 years, someone hasn’t determined what the problem is with the Browns. How many other teams have progressed while the Browns appear to regress year after year? I really believe that many players just do not want to play for the Browns. Without a team chemistry, no team will be great. Call me cynical, but if that is the case the Browns are responsible.

        • Erik Lambert

          Well I think the Browns have one side of the ball figured out. They have Ray Horton as defensive coordinator and some solid talent across the board from Mingo to Haden, Kruger and Bowers. What they need is plain and simple. Until they get a quarterback, the rest of the problems don’t matter.

          • William Plaster

            I concur 100%.

        • krivka

          Using your logic, “THE BROWNS” history of crappy drafts have nothing to do with the front office. it is some mysterious Browns karma. The mysterious BROWNS DRAFTER. If that is the case, how about the draft for Otto Graham, Jim Brown, Kosar, Sipe, Dixon, Warfield, Minnifield, Groza. If the BROWNS DRAFTER gets slammed for the bad they are also responsible for the good.

          • William Plaster

            I was referring to the nouveau Browns, not the era when the team had players that represented professional football and played for the love of the game, not to see how much money they could obtain from the club. I watched every one of the players you listed and didn’t have any complaints. Maybe my understanding of the Browns history covers a longer time frame than yours.

  • Guest

    Erik Lambert, this article makes it very clear to me that you know nothing about the Cleveland Browns roster nor have been paying any attention to this past offseason for them. For as much criticism as the Browns are getting right now, their defensive front 7 is stacked already. They lead the league in rush defense under Ray Horton’s defensive scheme and they have 4 starting caliber OLBs who all split time on the outside. The DLine is huge, with Desmond Bryant, Phil Taylor and Rubin having the ability to all force more than one OLineman to get any kind of push in the running game as well as the pass rush, leaving plenty of lanes for their fresh-legged OLBs to put constant pressure on the QB. Ray Horton has everything he needs and more already, and you’re talking about using the pick that they traded away the face of the franchise for on another DLineman or LB? Please. In my opinion the Browns should have taken Chance Warmack with the 6th pick of the draft to give depth to our injury prone guards. If that had happened, Trent is still a Brown. Granted, Bark is a beast and I’m not upset with having him, but yet should have focused on positional need rather than overloading a position that was already their biggest strength. This would’ve given them the opportunity to get some solid blocks for Trent to make plays AND give the receivers and Weeden a little more time to complete the vertical style routes and passes they seem to never have time to even coErik Lambert, this article makes it very clear to me that you know nothing about the Cleveland Browns roster nor have been paying any attention to this past offseason for them. For as much criticism as the Browns are getting right now, their defensive front 7 is stacked already. They lead the league in rush defense under Ray Horton’s defensive scheme and they have 4 starting caliber OLBs who all split time on the outside. The DLine is huge, with Desmond Bryant, Phil Taylor and Rubin having the ability to all force more than one OLineman to get any kind of push in the running game as well as the pass rush, leaving plenty of lanes for their fresh-legged OLBs to put constant pressure on the QB. Ray Horton has everything he needs and more already, and you’re talking about using the pick that they traded away the face of the franchise for on another DLineman or LB? Please. In my opinion the Browns should have taken Chance Warmack with the 6th pick of the draft to give depth to our injury prone guards. If that had happened, Trent is still a Brown. Granted, Bark is a beast and I’m not upset with having him, but yet should have focused on positional need rather than overloading a position that was already their biggest strength. This would’ve given them the opportunity to get some solid blocks for Trent to make plays AND give the receivers and Weeden more time to complete the vertical style routes and passes they seem to never have time to even come out of their first break

  • Liam Steinberg

    Erik Lambert, this article makes it very clear to me that you know nothing about the Cleveland Browns roster nor have been paying any attention to this past offseason for them. For as much criticism as the Browns are getting right now, their defensive front 7 is stacked already. They lead the league in rush defense under Ray Horton’s defensive scheme and they have 4 starting caliber OLBs who all split time on the outside. The DLine is huge, with Desmond Bryant, Phil Taylor and Rubin having the ability to all force more than one OLineman to get any kind of push in the running game as well as the pass rush, leaving plenty of lanes for their fresh-legged OLBs to put constant pressure on the QB. Ray Horton has everything he needs and more already, and you’re talking about using the pick that they traded away the face of the franchise for on another DLineman or LB? Please. In my opinion the Browns should have taken Chance Warmack with the 6th pick of the draft to give depth to our injury prone guards. If that had happened, Trent is still a Brown. Granted, Bark is a beast and I’m not upset with having him, but yet should have focused on positional need rather than overloading a position that was already their biggest strength. This would’ve given them the opportunity to get some solid blocks for Trent to make plays AND give the receivers and Weeden a little more time to complete the vertical style routes and passes they seem to never have time to even come out of their first break

  • krivka

    Definitely NOT worth the risk to find out if Manziel has an NFL grade arm. This chance will not come again for this team. There are much more reasonable QB picks. MCCarron, Boyd, Hundley even Mariota MAY enter the fray. Unless the Browns EARN the number 1 pick by having the worst record in football, they should not trade away an entire draft for Bridgewater, even though buy all accounts he is the best QB in the draft SO FAR THIS YEAR. There are too many holes to fill.