Latest from Berea: What the Browns are Doing
The NFL offseason is in full swing, as free agency kicked off last week. Guys are signing with new teams and franchises and swapping picks in the NFL Draft. Let’s review a few things that pertain to the orange and brown.
Following the four trades that occurred last weekend, the Browns signed seven (you read that right) free agents. Some are expected to be starters, while other will simply provide depth and experience on the roster. Looking at the seven guys, Chris Smith, Terrance Mitchell, and Donald Stephenson are not going to make headlines during contests – perhaps they can overachieve here though. Darren Fells will be doing the dirty work along the offensive line; the blocking tight end might help the unit move past the Joe Thomas era. The Browns will more than likely be tipping their hand when he is in games versus David Njoku, but it won’t matter if the offense can perform (regardless of who is in there).
As of now, T.J. Carrie, Chris Hubbard, and Carlos Hyde are slated as game one starters for the Cleveland Browns. Obviously things can change following the draft, but I see all three as solid selections for the team. Carrie and Hyde appear to be upgrades from their predecessors and improvement is vital for this franchise. Hubbard will likely be the starting right tackle, pushing Shon Coleman to take over on the left side. There will definitely be a drop-off from the past eleven seasons at that position, but you can bet that the players, coaching staff, and management will try to minimize it.
Big Trade Early
The New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts traded picks yesterday; in surrendering three second round picks in the future, the Jets moved up to secure the number three selection. It goes without saying that this type of move signals a choice for a quarterback early in the draft. To reset, the Browns are likely to take a quarterback with the first overall selection and now the Jets are all but guaranteed to do the same thing two spots later. That leaves all eyes on the New York Giants with the second pick – they could take Saquon Barkley (the top running back), the second quarterback of the draft, or trade back with a handful of teams who will likely take a signal caller.
Regardless of what occurs, the Browns will be in a pretty good position with the fourth selection (provided they do not trade away the choice). I am tired of seeing the team forgo talent in order to get future draft picks, which don’t always pan out. Therefore, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Denzel Ward, and Bradley Chubb are my early three frontrunners for the Browns’ second draft selection. The only trade down that I could get behind is one for a spot or two – where they can still have the aforementioned trio to choose from. I would be hesitant to trade the fourth pick to the Bills. I understand the value of multiple draft picks but I agree with John Dorsey’s assessment that the team needs “real football players”.
Conclusion: The excitement for the 2018 Cleveland Browns continues to increase as they are completely overhauling a roster that went winless a season ago. Also, the trade for the third pick makes puts the Browns’ choices more in the spotlight.