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Team Needs: QB, DE, DB
Projected Top 3 Picks:
First Round — Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M, Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
Second Round — Obi Melifonwu, S Connecticut
The Browns come into the 2017 NFL draft with numerous holes to fill on each side of the ball. On the bright side of things, they have the highest number of picks (along with the Bengals) with 11 selections to be made. In terms of Fantasy, Cleveland provided little punch for owners to rely on in 2016, as evident in the team statistical rankings. Losing Terrelle Pryor in free agency will be a blow to the offense, and replacing him with Kenny Britt could be questionable at best. The team’s needs at quarterback were not best served by the acquisition of journeyman Brock Osweiler. Even if he stays with the Browns, I really don’t see him as the answer in 2017. Looking forward to the draft, this team will have many options to address to improve not only the team but the Fantasy prospects for owners to consider.
Projecting out the first three selections by the Browns, I have them immediately going after needs. Myles Garrett is the consensus top player in this draft and a DE that can pay dividends in this defense by getting to the quarterback and perhaps forcing a few turnovers for the Browns. Deshaun Watson will push for the quarterback job in camp, and could easily beat out Osweiler to start Week 1. If that is the case, expect some growing pains for this offense in the early stages of the season, but all things should turn around by the midway point. Watson could be a sneaky QB2 option down the stretch with his running ability. This coaching staff feels that they have a very strong offensive line, along with a great balanced run game between Crowell and Duke Johnson. Look for the Browns to focus on the defensive side of the ball and improve the depth of talent that they currently lack. Will they be making the sexy picks that will leave the fans happy? Probably not, but what they will do is go after the best available players. With this draft being very heavy in secondary talent, the Browns will perhaps be making those selections early and often.
Once the draft is all said and done, will we see a statistical leap in production from this team? I highly doubt that we will. Even with Osweiler brought in, this team is without a true quarterback. And in a QB-happy league, not having a trustworthy starter puts you behind the eight ball in both the NFL and Fantasy. Hue Jackson will look to make this team a very run-heavy offense, not asking much from the QB to minimize mistakes and keep the team in games. Will the 2017 Cleveland Browns be an exciting team to watch and own pieces of in Fantasy? Not likely, but they will provide more stability at running back with Crowell potentially in store for quite a nice season. Although Corey Coleman has some sleeper potential, the passing attack will be one to steer clear of once we reach drafting season. Most smart drafters should be looking elsewhere to build their Fantasy depth for the 2017 season. Overall, the Browns will add plenty of pieces in the upcoming draft, but most of them will not provide any Fantasy punch.
Passing Offense — 204.0 YPG (28th)
Rushing Offense — 107.0 YPG (19th)
Points Per Game — 16.5 PPG (31st)
Top Fantasy Performers:
QB — Cody Kessler, 72 points
RB — Isaiah Crowell, 153 points
WR — Terrelle Pryor, 127 points