Using the 2017 NFL Draft to fix the Cleveland Browns

Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson watches warmups before a game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

As the Cleveland Browns continue to limp through a win-less season, the fan base can find some hope with the talent available in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Cleveland Browns are going to have a very busy offseason as they work to rebuild the roster. They’ll likely make some moves via free agency, but their main focus needs to be hitting a home run with each of their 2017 NFL Draft picks.

Cleveland has two picks in the first 2 rounds of this year’s draft. Their 1st round selections both could come inside the top 10. It’s also very likely that their own pick will be the No. 1 pick in the entire draft.

The pressure is on for the Browns front office and decision makers to make the right choices. They can’t have another draft like they did in 2014 where both of their 1st round picks, Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert are no longer with the team.

How they navigate this draft could spur a quick turnaround or keep this franchise stuck at the bottom of the league for year’s to come. This slideshow breaks down several ways the Browns can use these picks to get things on the right track.

Obviously, non of these will include bringing Johnny Manziel back in the mix.

Nov 12, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Myles Garrett (15) attempts to sack Mississippi Rebels quarterback Shea Patterson (20) during the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Option #1

Select Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick.

Use the 1st round pick acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles to select Reuben Foster

Use their first 2nd round pick on a cornerback—Tre’Davious White, LSU

Use their second 2nd round pick (via Tennessee) on an offensive lineman—Dion Dawkins, Temple

This strategy doesn’t have the Cleveland Browns adding a quarterback to the roster. In fact, they would use 3 of their early draft picks to upgrade the defense. It’s a strategy that mainly looks more a long-term rebuilding process.

However, Myles Garrett is the best player in this draft and ready to make an immediate impact. The combination of Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah would give Cleveland two high-end pass rushers working off the edge.

Reuben Foster is a leader and someone who’ll make plays all over the field. He’d immediately become the tone setter on defense.

Tre’Davious White is a 1st round talent who could slip a little on draft day due to the high number of cornerback prospects worthy of a 1st round pick. White  has the size, athleticism and tenacity to develop into a shutdown corner.

Cleveland could continue to explore the trade market for Joe Haden and allow White to compete for a starting job alongside Jamar Taylor.

Dion Dawkins is a talented offensive tackle prospect who needs to work through some technique issues. However, he has the potential to start from day 1 at right tackle and eventually take over for Joe Thomas when he’s ready to call it a career.

Sep 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) makes a pass while being defended by Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso (47) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Option #2

Use the No. 1 overall pick to select Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett.

Package the 1st round pick acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles and 2nd round pick acquired from the Tennessee Titans to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots.

Use their own 2nd round pick to select Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges.

The Browns need to do the right thing and use the No. 1 overall pick to select the best player available. Myles Garrett is that player and someone capable of becoming a dominating presence off the edge. He’d give the defense someone opposing offensive coordinators need to game plan against.

It appears that the New England Patriots will at the very least listen to offers for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The reason they must explore this option is because his rookie contract is about to end and force the team’s hand. The Patriots can’t really be thinking of moving on from Tom Brady in two years.

Cleveland would get themselves a talented quarterback with experience in the NFL. He’s a safer option than the quarterbacks eligible in this year’s draft. Garoppolo would also represent a better opportunity for a quick turnaround.

If the Browns decide to make an aggressive play for Garoppolo they need to ensure he’s surrounded with more than enough weapons. This means keeping Terrelle Pryor and potentially adding an explosive athlete at the tight end position.

Bucky Hodges is an physical freak who excels at making big plays in the passing game. Opposing defenses would have a tough time handling the combined athleticism of Hodges, Pryor and Corey Coleman.

Oct 22, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (93) hits Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight (8) during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Option #3

Use the No. 1 overall pick to select Alabama’s Jonathan Allen.

Use the 1st round pick acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles to select LSU’ Leonard Fournette

Use their own 2nd round pick to select Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.

Use the 2nd round pick acquired from the Tennessee Titans to select Auburn’s Braden Smith

This option has the Cleveland Browns selecting Jonathan Allen rather than Myles Garrett. It’s not completely out of the question as Allen features the upside to dominate the line of scrimmage. He’s a more rounded player than Garrett, but doesn’t have the same type of sack potential.

Leonard Fournette would give Cleveland a dynamic running back capable of carrying the load. His addition would also help take pressure off whoever is working under center. Fournette has significantly more talent and upside than Cleveland’s current running backs—Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson.

Cleveland would get their potential quarterback of the future with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. His stock has really faded this year, but he still has the raw talent needed to succeed in the NFL. Hue Jackson is the perfect coach to work with such a talented individual.

Auburn’s Braden Smith is an athletic guard prospect who does a great job opening up running lanes. If the Browns grab Fournette in the 1st round they should work to improve the offensive line.

Nov 5, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) runs as Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson (54) and linebacker Reuben Foster (10) pursue during the third quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 10-0. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Option #4

Trade the No. 1 overall pick.

Use the pick acquired in the above trade to draft LSU’s Leonard Fournette.

Package the 1st round pick acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles and 2nd round pick acquired from the Tennessee Titans to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots.

Use their own 2nd Round pick to draft Temple’s Dion Dawkins

This option fits into the Cleveland Browns new analytic approach. They’d use the No. 1 pick to acquire more draft capital and then put together a package to land Jimmy Garoppolo. This scenario gives the Browns their quarterback of the future and a stud running back.

Trading the No.1 overall pick won’t be easy in this draft because of the lack of a sure-fire franchise quarterback. However, there will be a handful of teams that feel Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett is a game-changing defender.

His ability to generate pressure off the edge would be a welcomed addition for teams like the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers. All of those teams have a realistic shot of winding up with a top-10 pick.

The Dion Dawkins pick would give the Browns an upgrade at right tackle and as well as a potential long-term replacement for Joe Thomas.

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