By: Andy Davies
The Cleveland Browns go into the 2021 NFL Draft in rare territory. They do not have an early draft pick. They have had thirteen top ten draft picks in the 21st century, with only one of those being a result of a trade. Cleveland had an impressive 2020 season where they were eliminated in the Divisional Round, almost completing a comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs. This means that they currently occupy the 26th pick. Who will the Browns pick?
Players such as offensive tackle Penei Sewell appear too unattainable for Cleveland. Who are the three dream draft targets for the Browns?
Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith (Wide Receivers) Acquiring these two would require the Browns to trade up. Cleveland has the ideal player to use in any potential trade. Either of these wide receivers has the potential of being available when the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins pick at fifth and sixth respectively.
Both these teams need wide receivers and would love someone such as Odell Beckham on their team. The former New York Giants receiver has failed to live up to expectation in Cleveland, never being able to form a relationship with quarterback Baker Mayfield. It was also evident how much better the Browns have played without OBJ. He will sadly never work out in Cleveland and needs a fresh start at a new team. Beckham will instantly upgrade either the Bengals or Dolphins offenses. He will be a great player to help the young careers of quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.
Chase recorded 20 touchdowns and 1,780 receiving yards in 2019 and Smith scored 23 touchdowns in 2020 along with 1,856 yards. Either player would be a good addition to the Browns organization.
Micah Parsons (Linebacker)
This is also a player Cleveland will need to trade up for. He is the best linebacker available and is arguably the best defensive player amongst the 2021 draft class. Parsons is an attractive option for the Dallas Cowboys at number ten as they will be highly likely to take mostly defensive players in this year’s draft. Cleveland will need to offer something good to trade up to this pick. This roster isn’t too far away from being a complete team. They won’t want to give up anyone in their excellent offensive line and don’t have any defensive options to give up to Dallas, hence the need for Parsons. Cleveland could swap their first-round pick for Dallas’ tenth overall pick unless Dallas wants to add to their stacked offense and feel OBJ is too good of a player to pass up on. Cleveland could offer a second or third-round pick if they do not want to give up Odell.
Kwity Paye (Defensive End)
This is a player that the Browns would once again need to trade up for but there isn’t quite as much hype around Paye compared to Parsons, Chase and Smith. Draft picks can be used in an attempt to get Paye, who is a defensive lineman that has a great ability to get to the quarterback. The Browns could look at potentially offering their first and a second from this year or a second from next year in exchange for the first rounder from the team who has the pick they trade up for. The speed and size of Paye and is attractive for any team. This would be a great pick for Cleveland to try and get as he would form a formidable defensive line partnership with Myles Garrett, one of the best in his position across the entire NFL.