Can The Browns Strike Gold on The First Two Days Of The Draft?

Story posted February 29, 2012 in Sports, NFL Draft by Bryan McSorley

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Pat Shurmur needs more offensive weapons for his second year as Browns head coach

Going into 2011, the Cleveland Browns thought that they had the answer at quarterback in Colt McCoy. In 2010, McCoy had a solid rookie season, and there were plenty of reasons for Cleveland to believe he would continue to improve.

Unfortunately, the opposite happened. McCoy regressed, and the Browns found themselves at the bottom of the NFL standings, holding yet another top five pick in the NFL Draft. It is this draft, however, that may hold the answers to how Cleveland will rebuild.

The outlook around McCoy is not much better. Peyton Hillis, who came into 2011 with high expectations, had a disappointing, injury-plagued year that he led many to guess that he will not re-sign with the Browns. Wide receiver Greg Little had an average rookie season in 2011, and still managed to be the best on the roster.

The Browns hold 3 of the first 37 picks (4th, 22nd, 37th) in the 2012 NFL Draft. That gives them the potential to add three new starting-caliber players to their roster. There are options at running back, wide receiver and quarterback in the first round, all of which would help address issues on the offensive side of the ball. If the Browns want to hold their own in the competitive AFC North, the best way may be to address these needs with their top picks in the draft. There are several scenarios that could play out in the coming weeks:

Scenario 1: Robert Griffin III

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Robert Griffin III could be the answer the Browns have been searching for at QB since 1999

Most believe that Cleveland dreams of the ability to select Griffin with the fourth overall pick, but all indications point to St. Louis trading the second pick to a team that wants Griffin. Though, there are reports from the combine that the Browns are not completely sold on trading up for Griffin III. However, for now we think the Browns front office is most likely just bluffing. The Browns would most likely need to give up both their fourth and 22nd pick in order to move up, and then look to add a weapon for Griffin with their second round pick. This could come in the form of a wide receiver like Rutger’s Mohamed Sanu or South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery, or possibly a tight end like Clemson's Dwayne Allen or Stanford's Coby Fleener.

Scenario 2: Trent Richardson

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If the Browns do not sign Peyton Hillis, then Richardson could be the choice for their new running back

If Griffin is selected second by another team, the Browns will look at other offensive options with the fourth pick. Richardson is one of the most talented players in the draft and could solidify a running game that could use help. If they take Richardson at four, they may look for a wide receiver with their 22nd pick. Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd, Rueben Randle and Alshon Jeffery could all potentially fit into Cleveland's plans there.

Scenario 3: Justin Blackmon

Cleveland selects Blackmon either as a sign of faith in McCoy or because they failed to trade up for Griffin. If they take Blackmon, it gives McCoy his first true weapon in a Browns uniform. This would then lead Cleveland to possibly take a linebacker like Zach Brown out of North Carolina with the 22nd pick.

Regardless of what scenario plays out, Cleveland has many areas of need to fill. Selecting right in this year's draft, however, would lay a strong foundation moving forward. With three top picks, the potential to make a big impact is definitely there.

It is clear that wide receiver and running back are positions of need on offense. The quarterback position is less clear, and Colt McCoy's uncertainty is definitely causing Mike Holmgren and company to ask some important questions. If the answer to those questions ends up being Robert Griffin III, the Browns will have a new face for their franchise in 2012.

Bryan McSorley is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email