NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 7 Needs
1. WR - 5.0
2. DE - 4.0
3. LB - 3.5
4. OT - 3.0
5. RB - 2.5
6. DT - 2.0
7. CB - 2.0
Position by Position Breakdown
Quarterback - McCoy will enter the off-season as the starter. Wallace is a free agent, but they should at least bring him back because he performed well in spots this past year as the starter. But they should dump Delhomme. They will probably try and bring in a third young arm late in the draft to develop alongside McCoy as an insurance policy. But it also wouldn't be surprising if they enter the mix for some of the veteran off-season talks in free agency and trades. But McCoy played well enough to think they won't sell out to get one of those veterans. NEED: 2.0
Running Back - Hillis had a breakout season, but he spent quite a bit of time on the trainer's table. And with marginal production from Jerome Harrison, one can expect that the Browns will look for a speed back to complement Hillis and add some much needed depth. Montario Hardesty will be in the mix, but since he's coming off two consecutive ACL tears in the same knee, they aren't going to hold their collective breath. NEED: 2.5
Fullback - Vickers is a solid lead blocker and a nice piece to build around for the future.
Wide Receiver - Massaquoi had some moments enough to think he'll be expected to remain a starter as their top wideout. Chansi Stuckey actually caught more passes but is best suited as a third option off the bench. Cribbs is a versatile complement as well. Robiskie had some moments down the stretch, but the team isn't going to wait for him to develop at this point. They will try to add a go-to threat that can be a dynamic weapon. With their high pick, they will have an opportunity to get one of the premier wideouts in this year's draft. NEED: 5.0
Tight End - Watson came on strong for the year, being a good pickup for them last off-season. Royal is a nice blocker, and Moore is a capable receiver to develop. They might look at adding another late round body that can block and push Royal. NEED: 1.0
Offensive Tackle - Thomas is solid on the left side, regardless of his issues vs. Abraham. The right side is the concern, although they are OK here if Tony Pashos can return. But he's now missed 21 games in the past two seasons so he's not that reliable. John St. Clair is a serviceable stopgap, but they wouldn't have signed Pashos if they were that high on him. So they could definitely be in the market in trying to add a right tackle in the draft to develop as a starter. NEED: 3.0
Offensive Guard - Steinbach is solid, but not great. Lauvao is the guy they want to develop at the other spot, although he didn't do much as a rookie. It's doubtful both Womack and Yates will be back, since both are free agents. Yates is probably the likelier of the two, although he's coming off a biceps injury. So the Browns would be smart to draft another guy in the middle or late rounds. At the last that pickup can be groomed behind Steinbach, but also be in the mix at right guard. NEED: 2.0
Center - Mack is solid and will soon be a Pro Bowler. He's arguably the best in their division. They could try and develop some depth, but they don't need to draft any. NEED: 0.5
Defensive Tackle - Rubin has overtaken Rogers as the man in the middle, and he should be getting an extension very soon. So the major question here is whether they still want to continue to pay Rogers, when he's a rotational player and with the big dropoff in production he's had each year. If that is the case, then they will definitely add another nose tackle for depth, but they can probably get that player in free agency or using a late round pick. NEED: 2.0
Defensive End - Robaire Smith is a free agent and likely done in Cleveland. That will leave a vacancy at that position with Derreck Robinson and Brian Schaefering being better options off the bench than being counted upon to be starters. This need is even higher since Kenyon Coleman is entering the final year of his contract, so don't be surprised if the Browns use two picks on this position. But they could also opt to draft a guy to groom behind Coleman, and sign Smith's replacement. NEED: 4.0
Linebacker - D'Qwell Jackson might not be back since he missed the year with a chest injury and is a free agent. They won't bend over backwards to bring him back since Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong are a capable pair inside. But if they lose Jackson, expect them to draft someone to develop down the road inside. Their primary need may be on the outside. Marcus Benard is a productive pass rusher (7.5 sacks) and might replace Matt Roth who is a free agent that probably could find greener pastures outside Cleveland. If so, they will definitely be in the market to add another pass rusher on the outside. NEED: 3.5
Cornerback - They will have to make a decision whether to bring back Eric Wright, who is a free agent. He's worth keeping, but with the emergence of Joe Haden, he's not worth them bending over backwards to keep him. But Sheldon Brown isn't getting any younger, and would be smart not to have to rely on him. So the Browns could be in the market for another corner, although they would probably prefer to add a veteran with some years left rather than using another high pick here. NEED: 2.0
Safety - Few were high on Elam going into the year, but he and rookie T.J. Ward had solid seasons. Elam is a free agent, but they should be able to bring him back. Their issue here is going to be depth, something they might want to prefer to address via free agency than the draft. NEED: 2.0
Kicker - Dawson remains his usual consistent self, but he'll be a free agent and turning 36 later this month. They should bring him back, but they might start looking at young options to push him. NEED: 1.0
Punter - Hodges has been a journeyman since being drafted in 2005, never playing for the same team for two years in a row until now. The Browns rewarded him with a two-year extension, so their need at this position is nil. NEED: 0.0
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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