May 3, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Review & Season Outlook: Cleveland Browns

#33 Trent Richardson, RB, Browns

*Click on a team's logo to go to their draft recap and season outlook page. A few will be posted each day in alphabetical order.

Cleveland Browns
Division: AFC North | Last Season Record: 5-11

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: Believe it or not, the Browns entered the Draft without a ton of needs. Nonetheless, they still had a few needs to be addressed.

The new regime is not sold on Brandon Weeden. Maybe they pull the trigger on Geno Smith? At some point, they would be smart to add another quarterback in the draft.

Finding a starting corner to pair with Joe Haden should be high on their priority list. Dee Milliner would make sense in round one. Since they don't have a second round pick, they would have to wait until the third round to address this.

The guard position should also be addressed. Maybe Chance Warmack in the first round, or perhaps they land a guard in th middle rounds. They also need to come away with a starting safety, as well as either another receiver or another tight end.

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

Round 1

6. Barkevious Mingo*, OLB
Experience: Junior | School: Louisiana State
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 237 lbs.

Analysis: They got their guy without having to trade up, so good job by the Browns. I'm always for adding a pass rusher, but I have to knock them a little bit for taking Mingo. They already have Kruger and Sheard as their top two pass rushers, and I'm not a huge fan of drafting a third if you have other needs to address. Also, I have Mingo as a mid-late first round prospect, but he could be a Bruce Irvin type of player in year one.

Grade: B-

Round 3

68. Leon McFadden, CB
Experience: Senior | School: San Diego State
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 193 lbs.

Analysis: Leon McFadden gives them a much needed upgrade at corner. He doesn't have great size, but he is a sound corner who can start on the outside. Good value.

Grade: B+

Round 6

175. Jamoris Slaughter, FS
Experience: Senior | School: Notre Dame
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 210 lbs.

Analysis: This was their second pick of day three, so at this point you're just looking for depth. Jamoris Slaughter was a slight reach, but he could challenge Eric Hagg for the starting free safety job. Or not.

Grade: C+

Round 7

217. Armonty Bryant, DE/OLB
Experience: Senior | School: East Central
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 263 lbs.

Analysis: Armonty Bryant is talented, but risky. In the 7th round, the Browns should definitely take a chance. The problem with this pick is that they already have depth at pass rusher, and probably should have gone somewhere else with this pick.

Grade: B-

227. Garrett Gilkey, OG
Experience: Senior | School: Chadron State
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 318 lbs.

Analysis: Gilkey is a good value pick in the 7th round. He provides immediate depth, and could possibly develop into a starting guard for the Browns.

Grade: B

2013 NFL Draft Overall Review:

Analysis: Having only 5 draft picks is always hard when you're a team who needs them. The Browns got a potential star in Barkevious Mingo, but probably should have addressed a bigger need.

Leon McFadden should be a day one starter, but can he solidify the cornerback spot opposite Joe Haden? Other than those picks, The Browns were not able to address the quarterback position, and they were unable to add another pass catcher.

Overall Grade: C+

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Chris Faulk*, OT
Experience: Junior | School: Louisiana State
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 331 lbs.

Analysis: Before suffering a season-ending knee injury early in the season, Chris Faulk was viewed as a potential first round pick. He projects as a right tackle in the NFL. Keep an eye on Faulk. It would not surprise me if he emerged as a starter at right tackle, while Mitchell Schwartz moves inside to guard.

Other Free Agent Signings

Aaron Adams, OT, Eastern Kentucky
Perez Ashford, WR, Northern Illinois
Josh Aubrey, CB, Stephen F. Austin
Braxston Cave, OL, Notre Dame
Jamaine Cook, RB, Youngstown State
Caylin Hauptmann, G, Florida International
Garrett Hoskins, FB, Eastern Michigan
Dave Kruger, DE, Utah
Ryan McWethy, S, Wisconsin-Platteville
Mike Niam, LB, Wofford
Cordell Roberson, WR, Stephen F. Austin
Travis Tannahill, TE, Kansas State
Ricky Tunstall, S, Delaware
Martin Wallace, OT, Temple

2013 Season Outlook:

Analysis: The Browns were not as bad last season as their record indicated. They were in a lot of games late, but only ended up winning 5 all year.

Brandon Weeden will be the starter again this season, but it is uncertain if he can prove to be a solid starting quarterback for the next few seasons. Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz are two of the best left tackles and right tackles in the league respectively. Alex Mack is also a top 5 center. Both guard positions are a concern, as Brandon Weeden struggles with pressure up the middle.

Trent Richardson should be the focal point of the offense again this season, and could be a 1,200+ yard rusher. Dion Lewis was a nice addition this off-season, and gives the Browns more depth at running back. Josh Gordon looks like a star, and if Greg Little can be more consistent, this offense could be much better.

Moving to a 3-4 defense under Ray Horton, the Browns have all the pieces. The have a strong 3-man front with Phil Taylor at nose tackle and Ahtyba Rubin and Desmond Bryant at defensive end. Not only do they have three very good starters, but they have excellent depth with Billy Winn and John Hughes.

Paul Kruger was the big free agent signing, and he will team with third-year pass rusher Jabaal Sheard and rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Quentin Groves will also have a nice role as a rotational pass rusher. Someone will have to step up at the inside linebacker spot next to D'Qwell Jackson. Perhaps James-Michael Johnson?

The secondary is cause for concern. Joe Haden and T.J. Ward are Pro Bowl caliber players at their position, but they don't have a lot of talent back there other than those two guys.

2013 Season Projection:

Analysis: Cleveland is currently picking 9th overall in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft. They chose 6th in this year's draft. The Browns have a new regime in place, but it will be a while until they are a playoff team. Their front 7 on defense is strong, but may give up a lot of big plays in the secondary. They don't have many dynamic play makers on offense, and Brandon Weeden doesn't look like the answer at quarterback. Expect the Browns to be competitive, but don't expect a winning season;

Projected Record: 5-11 (Worst Case) | 7-9 (Best Case)

Projected Finish: 4th in the AFC North; Result: Miss the Playoffs