What a year it’s been since we ran a similar series early in 2018. The Browns had so many holes to fill and such a miserable track record at that point. My how thing shave changed in The Land. It has obviously taken more than a year to assemble the roster that the Browns currently boast, yet a majority of the players were added within the past calendar year. The list of dire needs for team is dramatically shorter now. As Browns GM John Dorsey approaches free agency and April’s draft, he has a plan to put the best roster possible on the field. Here is my run at what a perfect off-season would look like for John Dorsey and the Browns.
The Browns got a head start on free agency by signing free agent RB Kareem Hunt. His off-field issues are better suited for another time and place, but Hunt undoubtedly gives the Browns one of the best backfields in all of football. He’s a talent upgrade for the Browns when he finds his way to the field with Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson. Hunt over Dontrell Hilliard is huge with no offense to Hilliard.
John Dorsey needs to keep his own players first. That means bringing back Greg Robinson to compete at LT and Breshad Perriman and Rashard Higgins to compete for playing time at receiver.
The Browns must shore up the defense in free agency in order to pull off perfection. The number one target has to be Grady Jarrett. He’s the best DT who may be available. The Falcons may tag Jarrett, if not, the Browns have to use some of their cap to sign the 25-year-old. Sheldon Richardson would be a solid consolation prize who would allow the plan to remain in place. If the Browns sign an older player like Haloti Ngata, it will affect the draft strategy discussed below.
The Browns could wind up a perfect run through free agency by signing ILB C.J. Mosley away from the Ravens. Once again, Mosley may elect to sign with the Ravens. We can hope that is not the case. The Browns will most assuredly cut Jaime Collins, freeing up approximately $10 million in cap space. Mosley is projected to earn in the neighborhood of $11 million per season on a multi-year deal. Joe Schobert has the athleticism to play outside, making the Browns linebacking corps much improved.
A few small deals could be made to bring in players to compete at corner, receiver and defensive line. The Browns could do all of this without endangering their ability to sign their stars in the future.
The reason you fill your biggest needs through free agency is that it eliminates the temptation to reach for need in the draft. The Browns biggest needs right now are on the defensive side of the ball. If they can strengthen key positions prior to the draft, Dorsey can essential work straight off his board during the draft. This will land the team the best talent available.
I won’t launch into a full 7-round mock here. The keys to this draft in completing a perfect off-season will be seeing a stud player fall to 17. It could be any number of guys. Personally, I like the idea of TE T.J. Hockenson. I’d also be good with several other guys like Ed Oliver, Clelin Farrell or Trayvon Mullen. Sure, they won’t all be available, but someone will fall to 17, especially if we see three or four quarterbacks go in the top 16.
Ideally the remainder of the draft will see the Browns trading up and picking a max of six or seven players. They simply don’t need eleven rookies on the roster in 2019. I think there will be a balance between offense and defense in the draft as the best talent is taken off the board by John Dorsey.
Perfection will not be as demanding as it was in 2018. With a few key free agent pieces and another solid draft, the Browns will be prepared to take the next step in their advancement toward the resurgence we’ve awaited for so long.