Fixing the Cleveland Browns
By TAYLOR ROSEN
College Contributor Network
It's February, 2015 and the Cleveland Browns still don't have an answer at the quarterback position. In what is mainly a passing league, that's more than just a problem. Last May, the Browns put all their stock into a young 21-year-old kid who impressed a lot of people during his collegiate playing days. Those days seem to be a distant memory at this point. As of now, the decision to draft Johnny Manziel seems to be the latest proof of the front office problems that have existed in Cleveland for too long.
Just last week, Browns GM Ray Farmer took accountability for his actions, and admitted he was the one behind what is now being called "Textgate." The Browns have found themselves in this situation one too many times. If you look at every successful team in the NFL, and all professional sports, the success starts from the top. You can't be a successful organization when the organization isn't being run properly. The Browns have to figure out what Ray Farmer brings to the table because they don't have anymore time to waste. The fan base is dying for a consistent winner, the Browns have had two winning seasons since returning to the NFL in 1999.
Right now the talk of the city (besides the Cavs) is what should the Browns do with the 12th and 19th picks in the upcoming NFL draft. The Browns have many options on the table because they have two first-round picks. The early chatter was the Browns have interest in trading picks 12 and 19 to the New York Jets for the sixth overall pick. The Browns would make this trade in hopes that Marcus Mariota falls to them at six.
I personally was a fan of this option until I heard the possibility of the Browns landing a different quarterback, one who already has NFL experience. According to Peter King, the Browns have their eyes set on St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford is coming off yet another season-ending knee injury. He injured the knee in a pre-season game last summer at First Energy Stadium against the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have a chance to add a formidable NFL starter, and would only have to give up a draft pick, or two, in order to do so. Some may say this is pointless, but I couldn't disagree more. I know Bradford has had more than just trouble staying on the field in St. Louis, but that's the past. He'd be coming to a Browns team that will have a solidified and rejuvenated offensive line when Alex Mack returns from injury. The Browns have two elusive second-year running backs to pair with Bradford, and the only true weakness of the offensive as of now is the receiver and tight end positions.
By now, everybody knows that Browns receiver Josh Gordon was suspended, again. Gordon will miss the entire 2015-16 season this time around for failing an alcohol test. With the way last season ended many don't expect former Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron to be returning to the Browns either. So the Browns have major problems at both of those positions, as well as at quarterback.
Trading for Bradford solves the biggest problem of all because it would give them a guy who has shown he is more than just capable when healthy. The Browns could acquire Bradford, use the 12th and 19th picks to add weapons for Bradford, and use the rest of their picks and free agency to add more depth on both sides of the ball. This draft has many young talented prospects at the receiver position: Kevin White out of West Virgina, Amari Cooper from Alabama, Sammie Coates out of Auburn, DeVante Parker from Lousiville, and Devin Smith from Ohio State are all great options for the Browns at picks 12 and 19.
The Browns should put Bradford at the top of their wish list, and if they're able to land him they should immediately look to give him weapons. A combination of White, and Coates or Cooper and Smith would give the Browns and Bradford just that. The Browns should then use their later picks and free agency to add the few pieces they need on defense. Besides stopping the run, the Browns defense played extremely well last year, and so I don't believe the point of emphasis should be on the defense this offseason. If the Browns can land Bradford, supply him with some weapons, and fill in the rest of the holes over time, they should be in the playoff hunt again next season, but this time it won't be unexpected.
Taylor Rosen is a junior at Kent State University. He spent time with The Stater covering Kent State football and basketball. Taylor is from Cleveland, and has Cleveland sports under a microscope. Follow him on Twitter: @T_Rosen11