Cleveland Browns: 2012 NFL Draft Needs

Contributed by: Bill Enright and Billy E
Last Updated: Apr 25, 2012 6:03 PM


Cleveland Browns
NFL fans better get use to the idea of hearing “The Cleveland Browns select____” because this franchise has 13 picks in this year’s draft, including two in the 1st round. After last year’s 4-12 record, it seems the Browns could desperately use all the help they can get (1.4, 1.22, 2.5, 3.4, 4.5, 5.4, 5.25, 6.34, 6.35, 7.4, 7.38, 7.40)

Offense
 
Running Back: The Browns will have the opportunity to grab this year’s top rated Running Back, Trent Richardson, with their 4th overall pick. The departure of Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty’s perennial injuries make RB a major need for the Browns. If they don’t grab Richardson in the 1st, they might grab another talented prospect with the 22nd overall pick (courtesy of the Falcons trade for Julio Jones) or the 5th pick in the 2nd round. Excuse the baseball term, but if they do select Richardson, they’d be hitting a home run.
Possible Targets: Trent Richardson, Alabama (4th overall), Doug Martin, Boise State, (22nd overall or 2nd round), Lamar Miller, Miami (2nd Round).

Wide Receiver: Josh Cribbs is more of a special teams threat than he is a receiving option. Last year’s rookie selection, Greg Little, showed promise, but if the Browns want to win with Colt McCoy they’ll have to do a better job of surrounding him with better playmakers. If they go with Richardson with their 4th overall pick and then a Wide Receiver with the 22nd pick or their 5th overall pick in the 2nd Round, Cleveland would be doing WONDERS for this often sputtering Offense. Or maybe they switch it up and take Justin Blackmon with the 4th overall pick and then go RB in the late 1st or early 2nd. Oh the possibilities. Either way, the Browns better come out with some Offensive Firepower in the 1st Round otherwise they’ll be looking at another dismal season.
Possible Targets: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (4th overall), Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (22nd overall), Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech (22nd overall), Kendall Wright, Baylor (22nd overall), Reuben Randle, LSU (2nd round), Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (2nd Round).

Defense
 
Cornerback: Joe Haden has quickly developed into an outstanding cornerback for Cleveland, but the team needs to find him a worthy complement in the No. 2 role with Sheldon Brown 33 and a free agent in 2013. Re-signed Dimitri Patterson and are in good shape in the nickel spot, and 2011 fifth-rounder Buster Skrine showed enough late in his rookie campaign to give the Browns optimism he can evolve into a key backup.
Possible Targets: Morris Claiborne, LSU (early-round); Josh Robinson, UCF (mid-round); Cliff Harris, Oregon (late-round)

Defensive End: Cleveland beefed up their bookends byadding Juqua Parker and Frostee Rucker in free agency, but could use another fiery pass rusher to complement 2011 rookie standout Jabaal Sheard, especially after the club generated a measly 32 sacks.
Possible Targets: Vinny Curry, Marshall (early-round); Bruce Irvin, West Virginia (mid-round); Derrick Shelby, Utah (late-round)

Free Safety: Lost Mike Adams to Denver in free agency after leading the team with three interceptions in 2011, and Usama Young leaves a lot to be desired as the current in-house candidate to start at free safety. Cleveland should target a prospect with excellent range and upside as a playmaker.
Possible Targets: George Iloka, Boise St. (early-round); Markelle Martin, Oklahoma St. (mid-round); Brandon Hardin, Oregon St. (late-round)  

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