Todd Gurley and DeVante Parker? Browns' draft may not be that exciting


CLEVELAND -- Mel Kiper Jr. has got the right idea. A team with a playmaking deficiency and two first-round picks should load up on offense. Kiper slots the Cleveland Browns with smooth Louisville receiver DeVante Parker and Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who looks born to play his position, at 12 and 19.

Talk about an eruption at Cleveland sports bars.

This is an exciting position to take, and one that colleague Pat McManamon promotes. Pairing Gurley, once healthy from his torn anterior cruciate ligament, with Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West and the Browns might run the ball more than any other NFL team. This is a good formula for the cold, windy AFC North Sundays.

But after considering the Browns' approach to things, it seems doubtful they will go after two playmakers in the first round. Getting at least one should be a goal, but the team could use the other slot for getting a good linemen or good pass-rusher, which can be a challenge outside of the first round.

Browns general manager Ray Farmer knows this. Farmer also hasn't shown he's willing to place a premium on playmaking.

That's why, unless Farmer surprises, I see the Browns going more conservative in the first round than Kiper suggests.

Think offensive and defensive line. Think 600 pounds for your first-round money. This very well could happen.

I know, I know. That's about as exciting as the Browns' offense.

Going for a running back and a wide receiver doesn't mesh with Farmer's philosophy, at least based on what he's shown and said. He passed on several good wide receivers in last year's draft while Josh Gordon was still a question mark.

"Nobody's off the table," Farmer said last month at the NFL owners meetings. "We'll add the best players."

The Browns need pass-rushing help, and at least one top-shelf edge rusher -- Shane Ray, Dante Fowler, Bud Dupree, Randy Gregory, Vic Beasley -- might be available at 12. So might Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton. Heck, so might Marcus Mariota.

The receiver class is considered deep once again. If the Browns chose to wait -- and I like Parker enough to take him high -- they can get impact playmakers on Day 2. Maybe the offensive linemen would fall to them at No. 43 overall, but that seems doubtful.

Running back is a different conversation because it's Gurley and Melvin Gordon and everyone else. Gurley is special. As I mentioned above, he looks like he was born to play the position. However, it seems the Browns' thinking is more aligned with the recent wave of avoiding backs in the first, despite the team's obvious need to run the ball 30 times a game. They appear ready to see the Crowell-West show through.

Gurley would be a stellar option at 43, but it seems unlikely he'd fall that far.

One option I think the Browns will seriously consider at 19 is Florida State center Cam Erving, who can play several spots on the line.