The Cleveland Browns were extremely active with draft trades, but ultimately they settled on Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman at No. 15 overall.
The Browns had traded out of the No. 2 overall position back to No, 8, and then again back to No. 15, picking up additional draft picks.
The organization suffered one of the worst off-season losses of key players in recent memory. The talent purge included cutting troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel, another failed drug test by suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon and the exodus of wideout Travis Benjamin, center Alex Mack and offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz among others.
Under a new regime that includes one-time Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, the team was able to secure the talents of ex-Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin had instant success as a mobile quarterback in the NFL, but injuries and a falling out with Washington made him a viable option for the Browns.
The holes are many for a team that needs a rebuild from the ground up.
In three seasons at Baylor, Corey Coleman cracked 3,000 yards receiving and scored 33 touchdowns, with 20 of those coming last season. He did miss the team’s Russell Athletic Bowl win over North Carolina while sidelined by a sports hernia injury.
At 5’11” and 194 pounds, Coleman exhibits near-blinding speed and draws double coverage on deep routes.
While Coleman is a first-rate wide receiver, the Browns’ decision to go skill position in the first round was a poor one from a rebuilding standpoint.
One line of thinking in football is that teams should be constructed from the inside out. Starting this draft by upgrading the offensive line would have been job one for some general managers.
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Granted, the Browns were wise to trade out of the No. 2 spot to No. 8 in order to add draft picks. But had they stood pat there, top rated offensive linemen such as Jack Conklin and Laremy Tunsil were still on the board.
Other talents available while Cleveland selected at No. 15 overall included offensive lineman Taylor Decker and center Ryan Kelly. Any one of these players would have made good football sense.
The upside remains that Cleveland got an outstanding pass catcher who won the 2015 Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver and who posted 20 catches of 30 or more yards last season, according to FoxSports.com. He’s a vertical wizard. Hopefully, Cleveland will enjoy some magic.
DAY 2 PREDICTION: Offensive Line, Running Back
Top rated center Ryan Kelly went off the board in round one. Notre Dame’s Nick Martin appears to be the next best player at the position. At 6’4” and 300 pounds, he won’t fill the shoes left by Alex Mack, but he plays with a mean streak and whistle-to-whistle toughness.
Five offensive tackles were selected on Day One. Fortunately, Indiana’s Jason Spriggs, one of the more athletic linemen in this crop, will be available on Day Two.
The NFL seems to have devalued the running back position, even though good ground games and solid defense still win championships.
Only Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott was selected Thursday night. So, the likes of Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry and Devontae Booker will be available as Day Two opens.
The Browns have a boatload of picks after their wheeling and dealing. Now, let’s see if they can come out of this weekend with a foundation of young talent.