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The Cleveland Browns have an enormous workload on their plate this off-season if they want to avoid another disaster season. They have a long way to go to bounce back from a 1-15 embarrassment and it starts with the free agency market. They are well under the cap and plenty of holes to fill. I would just throw money at offensive linemen like G Kevin Zeitler or C Joe Hawley just to have someone dependable plug a hole. With that being said let’s jump ahead to the 2017 draft.
Round 1, Pick 1: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
On day three of the NFL Combine, Garrett put rest to any questions (if there were any) about that number one spot. His performance should have cemented him in stone as the first overall pick. The prospect is simply a freak of nature. If you told me that a 6’5″ 270-pound man could run a 4.64 40-yard dash, I would call you crazy. His displayed amazing short burst speed that will be advantageous as a pass rusher. Garrett gives Cleveland a threat against the pass they have long desired. Who was the last legit edge rusher that wore a Browns jersey? Seriously? Google it, I’ll wait. Point being, this kid needs to be in Cleveland next year. Garrett will compliment sophomores Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah tremendously. The Cleveland Browns could be creating a serious defensive line.
Round 1, Pick 12: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Initially, I had Mike Williams taken off the board under the impression that Tyrod Taylor gets released and signed by the Browns. Why not add a top wideout? Especially considering Terrelle Pryor is very close to walking out the door. If the Browns are dumb enough to let their best receiver from 2016 leave, then let’s hope they draft a replacement and a true number one.
So I’ll replace one Clemson prospect for another. If the Browns don’t address this issue in free agency then I suspect they’ll use the 12th pick to find their franchise quarterback. I believe this kid is special and watching the BCS Championship solidified this belief. He led an amazing comeback victory against a pro-style Alabama defense. At the combine, Watson was impressive during the interview process and looked fantastic working under center, an aspect he didn’t do much in college. However, something he did experience at Clemson was being under pressure. Time and time again, Watson rose up to the occasion and performed well. There will be a ton of pressure here in Cleveland, but I think this kid is up for the challenge.
Round 2, Pick 33: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
At first, I assumed Cleveland would select Teez Tabor with the 12th pick, but a disappointing combine decreased his stock. I don’t expect Tabor to fall into the second round, though. Don’t get it twisted, White is no chump. He’s a four-year player from LSU, a school that’s considered a stepping stone to the NFL. White has the athleticism, ball skills and technique to be a legit NFL corner. He has the experience as an island corner and looked solid at the combine. This is a deep class for defensive backs, so White should be available for the taking.
Round 2, Pick 52: Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
Obi is a four-year starter with elite size that is used to box out receivers. He had a great combine with a 4.40 40-yard dash, 11’9″ broad jump and a 44″ vertical. He exceeded expectations with his fluid movement and footwork. Not to mention, the kid is a tackling machine, piling up 349 tackles in his college career, 118 of them came last year. Melifonwu definitely increased his draft stock and I’m hoping he is still available. Obi would give the Browns a reliable defender.
Round 3, Pick 65: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
In a previous article, I mentioned Hodges going to Dallas with the 92nd overall pick. However, trades and free agent signings have shaken up the draft boards. Hodges increased his draft stock at the combine, showing great character and football IQ during the interviews. He ran a 4.57 40-yard dash and has a 39″ vertical. Hodges is 22 years old and has an incredible amount of raw talent and if he is willing to learn, he can fix his technical inconsistencies. Here’s the deal, Gary Barnidge, 31, is just one year removed from a 1,000 yard, nine touchdown Pro Bowl season, but dealt with inconsistent quarterback play for 2016. Bucky Hodges is a viable replacement for Barnidge when the time is right.
Follow the author: @CST_Max_Gold