SDB community mock draft – #4 Cleveland

The Browns need a playmaker... like Trent Richardson

Yesterday in SDB’s community mock, it was decided Matt Kalil would be chosen by the Minnesota Vikings with the #3 overall pick. The USC offensive tackle received 93% of the votes, with second placed Justin Blackmon a long way back at just a meagre 3%. It means the first three picks are in and this is how it looks so far:

#1 Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)

#2 Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III (QB, Baylor)

#3 Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil (OT, USC)

On to pick #4 and the Cleveland Browns…

This is where things get interesting. The Browns seemingly have four legitimate options. They could draft a playmaker at running back in Trent Richardson – arguably the best player remaining on the board and a potential superstar for a city that needs one badly. Although many teams are starting to avoid drafting for the position early, Richardson is that rare player who could defy the trend. Mike Holmgren built an offense around a timing passing game and a stud running back/offensive line in Seattle and drafting Richardson could move the Browns closer to emulating that. Richardson appears to be made for the AFC North.

However, this is a deep draft for running backs and the Browns have two more picks at the bottom of the first and the top of the second. There’s also a strong need at receiver and Justin Blackmon would be a big benefit to whoever ends up being the starting quarterback next year. Some have touted the possibility of reuniting Blackmon with his Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden as Cleveland searches for an actual offense. Is Blackmon worth the #4 pick though? That’s the big issue. Especially when there’s depth at receiver and likely to be other options at #22.

Holmgren and his staff showed their appreciation for the cornerback position when they drafted Joe Haden with the #7 pick in 2010. He’s had a solid start to his career in Cleveland, but the Browns are in the market for another corner. Morris Claiborne’s name has been put forward by some projectionists as a possibility at #4. Given the team’s needs on offense I think it’s unlikely, but if the Browns aren’t sold on Richardson or Blackmon and can’t move down, perhaps the LSU cornerback becomes a realistic option?

The big debate surrounding Cleveland this off-season has been the dilemma at quarterback. The Browns couldn’t get a deal done with St. Louis for Robert Griffin III and they avoided free agent options like Matt Flynn. GM Tom Heckert insists Colt McCoy has the team’s backing, but it appeared to be a token vote of confidence given all the speculation following the team. The appointment of Brad Childress as offensive coordinator was intriguing – considering his experience with the Andy Reid offense and mobile quarterbacks. Perhaps they consider Ryan Tannehill at #4? It’d be a major reach in my opinion, but is it realistic?



  1. Stuart

    Would Cleveland/Seattle possibly do a trade where Cleveland get’s Seattles #12 and Seattle get’s Clevelands 1.22 and 2.4? If it was my call, done deal. My vote on this was for Claiborne. He is “elite” and what a tandem it would be with Harden and Claiborne. This draft is deep with RB’s, Martin 2.4 get WR at 1.22. Who on earth would vote for Tannehill at 4???

  2. Vin

    I voted for Richardson. Blackmon would be a close second. McCoy needs more weapons and either of those help. The loss of Hillis swayed me towards Richardson. Claiborne wouldnt surprise me, as there is depth at both the RB & WR positions that Cleveland could address later in the draft.

  3. BJA

    Im with the Trent Richardson too due to large part them not having a running back at the moment, and you know you can put T-Rich in day one and he’ll be above average if not great.

    Stuart- that trade seems to fit or at least pretty close on the value chart and before i started writing this to you i thought no way but now i think if Floyd is still on the board at 12 and they pick Trent at 4 or vice versa with them getting Blackmon and Trent being there at 12, it seems completely plausible they would make a trade that technically sways our way but value wise could be huge for them. they could set there offense up almost instantly.

  4. BJA

    And just to mention it, I am a huge Colt McCoy fan and i think the browns are plenty happy with him because they definitely couldve brokered a better deal than the Skins to get RG III. Or maybe they dont care for RG III because Holmgren doesnt care much for having an athletic QB, he wants an accurate one, not that RG III isnt accurate but Colt isnt that bad, and hes shown what hes got in the NFL and going into his 3rd year could be growing still. I was secretly hoping that they would think they could upgrade their so that Colt would be on the market and we would scoop him up, to me he is exactly what Pete is looking for.

  5. BJA

    Sorry I used the wrong “their”, shouldve been “think they could upgrade there”…

  6. SHawn

    6 votes for Tannehill already? I guess it’s true what they say. If I were them I would pick Richardson in a heartbeat. But Holmgren thinks he can put together a patchwork offense and make it work. Both Childress and Shurmer are offensive minded coaches who I think will see a greater value in selecting a shutdown corner to pair with Haden. Claiborne will be the pick.

  7. Mel

    I picked Blackmon because, in all honesty, that’s what the Browns need. Richardson may be great, but at the end of the day, he’s a running back. I don’t doubt his talent, but RB’s play the game’s most violent position and I cannot see spending a top 5 pick on someone who can get injured that easily.

    This first round for the Browns should be about surrounding McCoy with weapons. If he can’t perform with adequate talent, well now you’ve got some pieces in place for the next guy. Blackmon at 4 and Fleener or some oline help at 22 would be their best bet. Pick up a Weeden, Cousins or Osweiler in the 3rd or 4th if you must, but give the guy something to work with before throwing him under the bus

  8. Jonathan

    I keep hearing that Blackmon, while likely the best WR in the draft this year, is still not an elite talent. For that reason I voted for Claiborne here, thinking that the Browns can draft a WR (Floyd? Hill?) and a RB (Martin) at the bottom of first/top of the second. I think that gives them their best talent total from their top 3 picks.

    They could also look to move down a pick or two, if Tampa or St Louis is desperate for a particular guy.

  9. Bryan

    I picked Tannehill. Here is my reasoning. The Browns desperately need to find an answer at QB. Tannehill is a potential franchise QB. With the draft lottery that the Browns have hit, they need to take a risk somewhere and this is an option that allows them to teach Tannehill for a year behind McCoy.

    Tannehill’s value in a West Coast offense like Cleveland cannot be overstated. Tannehill has a quick release and utilizes his progressions well. He also displays good accuracy on the short field that is essential in a West Coast offense. The things Tannehill needs time to develop are his ability to read the defense and create adjustments. Drafting him and leaving him on the bench for much of the year allows the team to develop Tannehill with an eye to the future while pushing McCoy to play better in the present.

    One thing to consider is that the Browns have the 4th and 22nd selections of the first round. That allows the chance to take some risk in their first pick at #4 overall.

  10. Steve in Spain

    I voted Tannehill. Reaches happen. But I don’t think it’s so monumental a reach, not a Christian Ponder-type reach. Tannehill’s a solid first-rounder and the main thing holding him down as a prospect is his inexperience.

    The need for a legitimate starting QB weighs heavily on this franchise. Cleveland would love to upgrade at this position – we know they wanted RG3 -, and while there’s a lot of intriguing developmental backups in this class, Tannehill projects better as a starter.

    Of course, I do think they’ll try to trade down a couple spots to get Tannehill, but we aren’t projecting trades here and I doubt they’ll find a partner willing to pay the price to move up. So here they take Tannehill at #4.

  11. Stuart

    Tannehill is the wrong choice, heres why. If Cleveland picks Tannehill at #4 now and he sits behind McCoy for the entire season, what do they do next year when they draft in the top 7 or so and all the QB’s are available from the 2013 pool? They still dont know what they have in Tannehill and could miss out on a better QB.

    If I was Cleveland I would draft Osweiler at the top of round 3. Let him “redshirt” for the year. Nobody knows but Osweiler potentionally could be superior to Tannehill in a few years. I like Tannehill but not at #4. If Cleveland really likes him, take him at #22 or better still in the 2nd round.

  12. PatrickH

    I vote for Claiborne. There are quality RB and WR at late 1st and early 2nd round. Tannehill will be a reach at 4.

  13. YDB

    The Browns need weapons, and the drop off from Richardson to another RB (at pick 22) is more significant than the drop off from Blackmon to another WR. Plus, considering McCoy’s ARM strength, an elite RB prospect should provide more for the offense than a damn good WR prospect.

  14. D

    Top WR at no. 4 sounds about right.

  15. Steve in Spain

    But Stuart, there’s a good chance that, if the Browns end up with another top 7 pick next year, this front office won’t get a chance to pick their QBOTF from the 2013class, cuz they’ll all be unemployed!

  16. Dave B

    They have no RB’s/WR’s on this team. If they are backing Colt, then they need to surround him with talent. Richardson has been said to be the best RB to come out since AP. Well, use that solid O-line the browns have and draft a potential All-Pro like T.Rich. Nothing helps young QB’s like a solid run game.

  17. Dave B

    That being said I hope he falls to the Hawks. Lynch/Richardson would be so scary its not even funny. Almost as scary as the pants on our new unis.

  18. pepperpig

    Nothing is as scary as them new pants

  19. Nolan Thomas

    I went with Richardson, could be talked into Blackmon though. Rookie WR rarely have impact early and Richardson can/should be a star from day 1.

  20. Nolan Thomas

    I also think a trade wit stl makes sense because if they really can’t decided between Blackmon, Richardson, claiborne they can add a pick or two and let the rams and bucks make the decision for them.

  21. Bryan

    Dave B – Richardson is a good arguement, but the team has so many needs and the draft is so deep at RB and WR that I don’t think they need to get the best one available as high as #4. I could however make a case for Tannehill at #4 and Fleener at #22, then taking a WR in the 2nd.

  22. pqlqi


    Why would Cleveland pick QB with the 4th pick? I think it makes most sense for Cleveland to be drafting whichever of Tannehill or Osweiler is left at 22, to sit on the bench behind McCoy for the season and have Holmgren coach them up. Haven’t seen this possibility in many mocks, but what do you think? They can still get elite WR/RB combo at 1/4 and 2/4.

  23. Rob

    pqlqi – I don’t think Cleveland should draft Tannehill. However, I think they should seriously consider the second tier options at #22 and in round two. Personally, I would draft Brock Osweiler but that’s just me. A lot of people have Tannehill at #4 so that’s why I included him in the poll, but I agree with you – I can’t see it.

  24. Bryan

    pqlqi – Cleveland’s 2nd round pick is #5 not 4, not that it will actually matter all that much.

  25. Micah

    My gut says BPA is Trent Richardson. But I think that they don’t go that way. They can pluck up Doug Martin at 22 and get a QB or another need at the beginning of the 2nd. I went Blackmon, though I see it as an overdraft. Their best move is to trade out of the position for someone hungry for Blackmon. Maybe they do a trade with the Rams, after all. Rams are flush with picks now. Will they be patient?

  26. Ben2

    Richardson – Rob made a good point about him being an NFC back for inclement weather…also their FO needs to start producing some Wins and , while the shelf life of a RB is shorter, a beast like Richardson will have an immediate impact.

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