Anything goes when it comes to the NFL draft and 2014 guarantees excitement. Nothing is etched in stone, so anyone can be the number one pick. It can be a defensive end, a quarterback, or even an offensive lineman. Also, Houston could possibly trade their pick, offering another team the first overall pick.
Speaking of trades, the Cleveland Browns could trade their second round pick (35th overall) to move up, giving us a third first round pick. I saw a scenario where Seattle (32nd pick) could trade back three spots and acquire one of our fourth rounders. By falling out of the first round, the move alleviates $350,000 per season, money Seattle could use to extend Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman. There is also a great chance the Seahawks still drafts their guy three spots later.
With this possibility in mind, it isn’t mandatory for Cleveland to pick a quarterback with the 4th or 26th pick and beat Houston (33rd) in the search for a new face to lead the franchise. This is assuming the Texans select Jadeveon Clowney first overall. With the possibilities being endless, let the fun begin.
As I have expressed in the past, my desire is to choose Sammy Watkins or Johnny Manziel. Nothing would thrill more than viewing either player in a Browns jersey, but I don’t believe Cleveland will witness the day.
Houston takes Clowney to create a frightening defensive line with J.J. Watt. I believe St. Louis takes Watkins to give Sam Bradford another weapon. Jacksonville needs a quarterback, running back, and a tackle, so they could go lineman, but Manziel is secretly their guy. So what does Cleveland do at four and for the rest of the draft?
Well, tons of options exist now. We can take Khalil Mack despite needing an inside not an outside linebacker. The Browns could take the best cornerback, but four is too high for a defensive back in this draft. No offensive lineman has been selected yet so I would take an offensive tackle despite needing a guard. Cleveland needs all the help we can attain and either Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews would be an immediate upgrade.
Not to mention, by the time the Browns pick again in the first round, 14 teams with offensive line needs will have made a decision. With such a need at the position, along with predicting Manziel and Watkins off the board, Robinson or Matthews at four is perfect. Our next pick comes at number 26.
As much as the Browns need to find a cornerback to pair with Joe Haden, Cleveland must draft their quarterback here. Don’t expect Blake Bortles to slide down this far, but with six other teams needing a quarterback, hopefully, either Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr will be on the board when we call their name. But what if Tennessee selects Bridgewater and Arizona chooses Carr, then what?
Hypothetically speaking, if our guy is off the board at 26, secure your cornerback, one of the top five will still be available. It could be Jason Verrett (TCU), Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech), or Bradley Roby (OSU). Then again, the Browns could think offensively and advance with a wide receiver. It’s funny on account of nine teams draft before 26 who need a cornerback or wide out with only four teams (Giants, Steelers, Jets and Chargers) possessing voids in both positions. This should benefit Cleveland, leaving behind a better pool of prospects. Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) or Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU) may still be available. If Cleveland settles on defense, Kyle Fuller, or go offense, Beckham Jr.
Applying an earlier scenario in which Cleveland trades with Seattle back into the first round, giving up our 35th and a fourth round pick. With the 32nd and final first round pick of the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select A.J. McCarron, quarterback, Alabama. The 23 year old started for three years assembling a 36-4 record (.900 win percentage) while earning two National Championships.
So there you have it folks, the conclusion of the first round. It was an interesting one, despite not occurring yet. If this is how the first round resulted, I would be completely satisfied, hypothetically speaking of course.
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