If the season ended today, the Browns would hold the first and 10th picks in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft (the latter pick was acquired from the Eagles in the teams' trade before the 2016 draft). What should they do with their top two picks? Obviously, we'll need to wait and see which underclassmen declare for the draft before assigning names to fix their problems. However, we can discuss what positions they should target with those two first-round selections.
I spoke with several personnel executives around the league to get their thoughts on what they would do if they were in charge of the Browns. Everyone stressed the same point -- the Browns need to sit tight and select two blue-chip players with limited risk. No more trading down. They have a decent amount of serviceable starters, but this roster lacks difference-making talent.
Should they use one of those top two picks on a quarterback? Those I spoke with said they shouldn't go in that direction. Not in this draft class. Too much risk. Obviously, they still have a glaring need at the position, but there's too much risk with this group of passers. Wait and take one in the second round or work out a trade for a talented veteran, like Jimmy Garoppolo.
What would I do? This draft class is loaded with defensive talent. I think the Browns would do well for themselves if they came away with the draft's premier edge rusher as well as the premier safety. That is a very doable task considering where they could be picking. Adding those two players to a young nucleus of guys like Danny Shelton, Christian Kirksey and Emmanuel Ogbah could really jumpstart that side of the ball.
The Browns won't be able to solve all of their problems in this one draft, but they can get the process started by nailing these two first-round selections. Don't get cute. Don't trade back and accumulate a bunch of "solid" players. It's time to add some sizzle to this roster and it starts with these two incredibly important decisions.