Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Cleveland Browns Persons of Interest: Offensive Players

For the first time that I can remember, the Cleveland Browns do not have glaring needs on one side of the ball and would literally be selecting for depth or for players that aren't an immediate need but could fill a need as soon as the 2022 season.

The two players that I could see the Browns considering on day two of the draft and would suit my hopes for a smaller, quick playmaker at wide receiver.

I really like Purdue's Rondale Moore as a playmaking slot receiver that has the ability to run jet sweeps, shovel passes, and the type of catch-and-go pass catcher that the Browns currently lack.

Moore is only 5'9, but it's not a scrawny 5'9 that makes you wonder how long he'll hold up under NFL pounding as he is a physical player that won't be pushed around.

Moore can also return kicks as well

I also like Ole Miss's Elijah Moore, who is also 5'9, but not quite as strong as his previously mentioned namesake.

Elijah Moore is remembered for the ridiculous "urinating dog" celebration that cost Ole Miss (and coach Matt Luke his job) a win over rival Mississippi State but matured a bit in 2020.

Elijah Moore may be able to play outside or the slot and has the type of versatility that the Browns don't have enough of and with the possibility of either or both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham not on the roster for 2022, the Browns could take a receiver on day two to learn from Landry before taking a starting spot in 2022...

Should the Browns decide to tab a receiver on the third day of the draft, a few that I like for selections similar to last draft's gamble on Donovan Peoples-Jones are  Trevon Grimes of Florida, who at 6'4 could develop into a possession receiver with red-zone skills, Sage Surratt of Wake Forest, a bigger slot target than either Moore and late in the draft Brennan Eagles of Texas.

Cleveland doesn't appear to need a tight end with Austin Hooper, 2020 draftee Harrison Bryant, and David Njoku on the roster with Stephen Carlson, but Njoku is a free agent after 2021 so Cleveland could prepare for life without him or even if they trade him before the season.

This isn't a top class, but I like athletic Brevin Jordan of Miami, Florida although he is a likely day two pick and durable Hunter Long of Boston College, who Dane Brugler compares to Austin Hooper.

The Browns (like most NFL teams) are always looking for depth along the offensive line.

The Browns took Nick Harris in the fifth round in 2020 and look at him as the long-term replacement for J.C. Tretter, so it's unlikely that they take a center in this draft.

Should the Browns look for one on day three, I like Michal Menet of Penn State or Drew Dalman of Stanford as possibilities.

Cleveland likely wouldn't need a guard with Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller in the lineup, but depth is always looked for on the offensive line.

The two guards I really like aren't likely to be available in the fourth round, but I've seen stranger things happen than players falling to round four, and Wyatt Davis of Ohio State or Jackson Carman of Clemson (especially Carman) might be available early in round four.

The Browns are solid at tackle with Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin, but Chris Hubbard is the top backup and he suffered a knee injury late in the season, so a depth addition for the line is most likely at tackle.

6'8 Tommy Doyle of Miami, Ohio has the type of size and strength to develop into a starter, but his raw ability can be given time to be molded with starters ahead of him of the level of Wills and Conklin.

Marshall's Josh Ball has the size (6'7 308)  and ability to be a day one selection, but Ball was forced to leave Florida State after domestic violence accusations in 2017.

Ball would be risky, but worth considering if his background shows that he learned from his mistake.

The Browns are unlikely to take a running back with Nick Chubb's likely contract extension and Kareem Hunt, who is signed under a very reasonable cap number.

I love Clemson's Travis Etienne, who the Browns don't need at his spot in the draft, and Ohio State's Trey Sermon dazzled in the late-season, but still is unlikely to last deep into day three.

Oklahoma State's Chiba Hubbard was a productive college runner that could be the "best player available" should he fall into the sixth or seventh round.

I also like 5'6 Jaret Patterson of Buffalo, who doesn't look the part but could be a solid situational back.

I always have promoted taking a quarterback every other year to develop or even to trade down the road if everything fell into place for a backup.

When quarterbacks are available on day three, they have questions or flaws that placed them in the third day's selections.

If I'm taking one late, I really like Sam Ehlinger of Texas, who is lauded for his leadership and toughness.

Ehlinger's arm is decent enough, but he hasn't always been the most accurate.

Still, I'd take him in round six or seven and bet he's a guy that will at least be a backup in the league for years.

If I was gambling on physical tools, Felipe Franks of Arkansas is worth considering.

At 6'5, Franks has the tools but will need to show that he can play in offenses that aren't the Briles scheme.

If the Browns don't draft either quarterback, I'd consider either as priority free agents.

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