The Sixth Pick Is an Easy One for the Browns

By Chris Fedor

With the Combine in the books and the NFL Draft just about two months away, it’s becoming more and more clear to me what the Browns should do with their sixth overall pick.

The team has a number of needs this offseason and they have many holes to fill. With the switch from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3, the front seven is a major area of need that will need to be addressed. It would also be nice to add another cornerback to team up with Joe Haden in the secondary. That’s just the start.

Despite all their needs, there is no bigger hole to try and fill than the Grand Canyon at wide receiver. With the Browns transitioning to a West Coast Offense, bringing in a playmaker to put fear in the defense is paramount to the success of the offense and to the success of Colt McCoy. There is not a single playmaker on the offensive side of the ball for the Browns right now. Mohamed Massaquoi is not a number one receiver in the NFL, Josh Cribbs still has yet to learn how to play the position effectively, and Brian Robiskie, well the jury is still out on Robo.

The number one question that still hangs over the franchise is whether or not Colt McCoy can be the quarterback of the future. It’s not about whether or not they can transition to the 4-3 quick enough to make progress in their own division. It’s about the quarterback. It has always been about the quarterback. The only way the Browns are going to take steps forward in answering the quarterback question is by giving him a legitimate number one wide receiver and the only way the Browns are going to get that guy is by taking either A.J. Green or Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick.

I know what many of you are thinking right now. “The Browns need to improve the front seven.” You’re absolutely right about that. Or some of you may be thinking “you can’t take a wide receiver with a top ten pick or even a first round pick.” And you’re right again. It’s very risky to take a receiver that high, unless they’re special. Both A.J. Green and Julio Jones are special and are worthy of the sixth overall pick.

If you think about some of the top receivers in the NFL, who comes to mind? Larry Fitzgerald? Andre Johnson? Calvin Johnson? Roddy White? Reggie Wayne? Randy Moss? Brandon Marshall? Greg Jennings? DeSean Jackson? If that’s the case then just three of those guys were drafted outside of the first round and one of them, DeSean Jackson, had first round talent but slid to the second round because of immaturity and size concerns.

In the case of A.J. Green, he’s not just the best wide receiver in this year’s group, but he’s the best overall player in the draft as well. The kid is immensely talented and has everything you look for in a number one wide receiver. He has excellent size and length for the position, has tremendous leaping ability and consistently wins one on one matchups with defenders, his hands are exceptional, he has SEC speed, and despite his size, he is very fluid as a route runner and that’s something that sets him apart from some of the other receivers in this year’s draft. Green is the total package and I talked to a scout that believes he is the best wide receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson in 2007.

Then there’s Julio Jones. I didn’t need to see him steal the spotlight at the combine to believe he was worthy of the sixth overall pick in the draft. What he did at the combine just confirmed what I already believed to be true weeks ago. Julio Jones has always been worthy of the sixth overall pick. He’s that good and he’s just as worthy as A.J. Green, Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson, Robert Quinn, or anybody else to be selected sixth overall.

I’ve heard all the criticisms about Julio Jones and it just doesn’t add up.

He would be a reach at number six. He puts too many balls on the turf. He’s not as fast as he times in the forty. He doesn’t run very good routes. He’s injury prone.

Give me a break. Go back and watch his games at Alabama and try convincing yourself that he’s not a top ten pick in this year’s draft. Good luck with that. Julio Jones is an absolute beast and he has been since the first time he ever stepped on the field in Tuscaloosa.

He’s tough, he’s physical, he’s a better route runner than he gets credit for, and while some had questions about his speed, he answered those this past weekend despite running on a broken foot. While he has been known to put the ball on the turf more than people would like, it’s not like he drops an inordinate amount of passes. Let’s not make him out to be Quincy Morgan here. Julio Jones is the complete package and he’s ready to step on the field right away and be a difference maker in the league.

If you’re concerned about his injuries at Alabama or even his foot injury right now, don’t be. Jones showed during his time at Alabama that he had no issue playing through pain. Despite dealing with some injuries throughout his time at Alabama, Julio Jones was always on the field and was a force in the Crimson Tide passing game.

If Green is gone by the time the Browns are on the clock, they should run to the podium to turn in the card because they are not getting a guy like Julio Jones in the second round, the third round, or any other time in the draft. I like Jonathan Baldwin, Titus Young, Leonard Hankerson, and even Torrey Smith, all of who could be had later in the draft, but the gap between all of those guys in comparison with Green and Jones is a big one. There’s a reason why Julio and A.J. are the only two wide receivers with a first round grade and it’s because they are the only two worthy of being drafted that high.

The Browns need to find out about Colt McCoy and none of the defensive players help answer that question. A.J. Green and Julio Jones do.

You might ask what about the defense? By my calculations there are 20 different defensive players that could have a first round grade by the team the draft rolls around. It’s a lot more likely that of one of those 20 defensive players with a first round grade are still available by the time the Browns draft at the beginning of the second round. Marvin Austin could be there in the second round, Cam Heyward could be there in the second round, Justin Houston could be there in the second round, Jimmy Smith could be there, or even a guy like Brandon Harris could be there, but A.J. Green and Julio Jones won’t be. There’s zero chance of that happening. If the Browns want to address defense, they should do it in the second round because they won’t get a game changing wide receiver with the 37th pick. Both will be long gone by that time.




  1. I don’t disagree the Browns desperately need a wide receiver, and I like both Green and Jones. The guy I want is Peterson. To put him in a secondary with Word and Haden will be as good as the come for years to come. So what is your take on Baldwin? He could possibly be there with that second round pick.

  2. First thing Fedor ever said that made sense. I agree with this entire column. We have to go with Green or Jones. #1 priority is to find out if Colt is the guy, have to give him weapons. Fedor is still a total douche though.

  3. You are right that the draft is deep in defensive talent. The way to play that is to try your best to trade down for extra picks. It worked a couple years ago in getting Mack plus extras. Good teams get extra picks and make them pay off. Perpetually losing teams trade up to get “that guy” they just have to get. There are no sure things in the NFL draft and the salary cap makes it an even worse deal to pick early.
    I disagree with the notion that we have to draft a WR.

  4. p peterson is #1 on my board…it also makes sense strategically…..speed on defense to nullify speed on opponents ofense. Besides teams that draft according to need as the browns have historically done get nowhere…always get best available regardless of need

  5. If you are disagreeing with the fact that the Browns need a top rate play maker at wide receiver, you certainly weren’t watching the same offense that I was during the season.

    • You can find that playmaker, #1 reciever through freeagency….

  6. I want Peterson as well. This won’t be fixed in a year. Shoot for a guy like Hankerson in Round 2. Green I could live with but not Jones at # 6 if Peterson is available.

  7. Peterson vs Jones – High Impact and lower risk at # 6

  8. Its always better to draft a premier D lineman than a cornerback. They can always throw away from a CB but you have to worry about the pass rush

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