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An early look at the 2013 NFL Draft

The 2013 Draft will likely not be known as a draft that yielded great skill position players, however, it very well could produce the key cogs in the trenches for many teams picking early. There is no Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, A.J. Green, or Julio Jones-like franchise player, so the next coach of the Browns will not have the luxury to try to find “their guy” at quarterback in this draft or a game breaker wide receiver. Brandon Weeden has left more questions than answers with his play, and, yet again, the Browns find themselves at an all too familiar juncture, do we have a QB we can win with? Let’s first look at a few needs for the Browns: cornerback, offensive guard, and quarterback.

Cornerback – The Browns have Joe Haden, an aging Sheldon Brown, and then everyone else. The AFC North is not as smash mouth as it once was with cerebral QBs in Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton. To succeed in this league you must have at least two lockdown corners, and this is certainly a position that can use more depth.

Player to Watch: Dee Milliner – Alabama

He’s a solid corner, not super flashy, but he absolutely gets the job done. In many ways, he seems like the perfect complement to Joe Haden. Also, he comes from Nick Saban’s hands and, as we know, Saban likes to personally coach his secondary.

Offensive Guard – With the worrisome news of Jason Pinkston, this may be an area of need and, as mentioned earlier this draft, the line dominates. In addition, John Greco proved to be a below average replacement and Ryan Miller proved to be a train wreck (see final minutes of Steelers game).

Player To Watch: Chance Warmack – Alabama

This draft yields a guard in Chance Warmack who is that rare, once-in-a-decade type of guard who warrants a top 10 pick. It may seem like a luxury pick for the Browns, but when you think about him being paired with All-Pro LT Joe Thomas, Pro-Bowl C Alex Mack, and very impressive rookie Mitchell Swartz, this becomes the best O-line in the NFL, and makes Trent Richardson a very happy man.

Quarterback – This will be a hotly debated position in terms of what this team needs. In my opinion, Brandon Weeden will not be the answer for the Browns. His age is just too hard to look past; I doubt this new regime will feel comforted to know their “young” QB is just one year younger than Ben Roethlisberger, who already has two Super Bowls to his name.

Player To Watch: Geno Smith – West Virginia

Say what you want about Geno Smith, the guy is absolutely cerebral as a QB. He cooled off from a historic start to his senior season, but, in the end, it is important to look at his overall body of work. He’s an elite athlete in the pocket. He’s no RG III, but he does consistently prove to extend the play. He threw for 42 touchdowns with only six interceptions, but statistics do not tell the whole story. He did not respond well in bad weather, quite a deal-breaker in the AFC North. With all that said, he has room to grow and, if the new regime sees him as “their” guy, then don’t be surprised to see them try to package a trade to move up and select him.

Final Word: The Browns certainly have a lot of options in this draft. Don’t rule out a trade, either up or down. No player’s grade out to the level of their predecessors in the past few drafts, however the quality in this draft will come from picks 6-20, as there is really no significant drop in talent. It will be interesting to see how the Browns approach this draft and how they decide to approach free agency. They have one of the best cap situations in the NFL, and with new ownership, there’s a new vibe with to this team.

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