The Big Question: Have the Browns assembled a scary front seven?
Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner intimated post-draft that coach Rob Chudzinski was hired partly because of his philosophy of attacking the opponent. This year's Browns are being molded to go after teams on offense with a vertical passing game and, on defense, with a new cast of pass rushers hired to disrupt the enemy.
Cleveland's haul from the 2013 NFL Draft generated some curiosity, but there's little mystery behind what the Browns did at No. 6 overall. Selecting LSU's Barkevious Mingo to line up opposite from free-agent addition Paul Kruger gives Cleveland an intriguing pair of edge rushers in defensive coordinator Ray Horton's 3-4 scheme. Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco have had their way with Cleveland for years in the AFC North, but the Browns under Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi have put together an intimidating front seven.
"On defense, we felt it was clear to identify what talent was out there, what talent we had, match it up with the philosophy we've been talking about and make some moves that will make the team better," said Banner, who also shopped fourth- and fifth-round picks for a third- and fourth-rounder in 2014.
- This draft served as a vote of confidence for second-year passer Brandon Weeden. Despite quarterbacks tumbling down the board, the Browns ignored every last one. At this stage, Cleveland is positioned to ride into the season with Weeden under center. There's obviously a fair amount of in-house faith that he'll improve in coordinator Norv Turner's pass-happy scheme.
- For my money, I include 2012 supplemental pick Josh Gordon and slot man Davone Bess as part of this haul. Bess -- acquired from the Dolphins in a shuffling of late-round picks -- has ranked second in the NFL in third-down receptions over the past five seasons. He's a far better gamble than your average fifth-rounder, while Gordon materialized into a juicy deep threat last season.
- Cleveland won little praise for adding defensive end Armonty Bryant and offensive tackle Garrett Gilkey in Round 7. They're Div. II prospects, but I can't take my eyes off their game tape: Bryant's dislike for quarterbacks and Gilkey's obsession with mauling human life forms obviously caught Cleveland's attention.