BEREA, Ohio– As the draft concluded, the Browns added players from both sides of the ball with at least three or four in the mix to start right away. They also acquired three extra draft choices in 2015. They added the Bills’ first-round choice in 2015, along with the Bills’ 2015 fourth-round choice and the Ravens’ 2015 sixth-round choice.
If Mike Pettine holds to his word, Brian Hoyer will likely open the season as the starting quarterback. He said there would be competition in training camp, but there will be intense pressure from the fans and media to see what Manziel can do at the NFL level.
Offensive lineman Joel Bitonio will likely start at right guard, if not tackle. As high as Bitonio was drafted, he will start at one of the positions on the line.
Round 3, Pick No. 71 – Christian Kirksey, LB, Iowa
Kirksey is expected to compete with Craig Robertson for the starting inside linebacker position alongside Karlos Dansby. Inside linebacker is a position the Browns need depth at and the coaching staff likes Kirksey.
Round 3, Pick No. 94 – Terrance West, RB, Towson
By trading up to get West, the Browns showed they think West can at least split time with Ben Tate in the Browns running game. West has been a workhorse back in college carrying the ball 413 times last season.
Round 4, Pick No. 127 – Pierre Desir, DB, Lindenwood
From talking to two of the Browns top-level scouts, Desir is a player they are very high on. Barring injury, he likely wouldn’t be a starter, but should be in the mix to be one of the top four cornerbacks by the time the season begins.
Obviously, the Browns made a major splash on the opening day of the draft. They’ve added potential playmakers on both sides of the ball in Gilbert and Kirksey, defensively, and Manziel and West on offense.However, by passing the top receivers available in the draft, including Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, the Browns took a calculated risk that they had enough depth at receiver.
Then news broke of an impending suspension of Josh Gordon and the news that Nate Burleson had re-fractured his arm before the Browns started drafting in the second round after five wide receivers were drafted in the first round. Seven receivers were drafted in the second round after the Browns selected Bitonia. Barring a trade, the Browns didn’t draft receiver in the draft, which was a perceived area of need before the news of Gordon and Burleson broke.