Browns Have Many Needs; One True Hope

As the draft draws nearer, the story remains essentially the same. The Browns could use a lot of help from the draft, but it's clear who they want: OT Robert Gallery. TheInsiders provide a high-level look at the draft as we prepare for an exciting week...

There is consensus on one thing in the Cleveland Browns front office: The best thing the Browns could do in this draft is acquire Iowa left tackle Robert Gallery.

The offensive line has been the Browns' most glaring need this offseason, and the team has signed one player to improve it: San Diego guard Kelvin Garmon.

Left tackle remains a huge hole.

Ross Verba is coming off a ruptured biceps tendon and could play there, but the team would prefer a younger, more long-lasting solution to one of the key positions on the field.

Enter Gallery, who is considered the surest thing in this draft.

To acquire him, though, the Browns would have to trade up from the seventh spot. To do that, they would have to give up this year's first-round pick and perhaps next year's as well.

It figures to be worth it given Gallery could fill a need for the next 10 years.

But Butch Davis might not want to pay that price.

If the Browns can't pull that deal off, they may maneuver to get University of Miami tight end Kellen Winslow, a guy Davis sees as a huge playmaker. The other top choice is Miami safety Sean Taylor.

If they stay at seven and the top three choices are gone, the Browns might even surprise by taking a quarterback -- Miami University's Ben Roethlisberger.

The Browns are serious enough about Roethlisberger and North Carolina State's Philip Rivers that they took the owner's private jet to give both a private workout on April 12.

The new quarterback would develop for a year or two behind Jeff Garcia.

Later round team needs include wide receiver, which a year ago was considered a team strength. But the release of Kevin Johnson and upcoming trade of Dennis Northcutt leave the Browns with two veteran wideouts.

Offensive line depth also must be addressed, and a player like Miami's Vernon Carey might be tough to pass up in round two.

TEAM NEEDS:

LT -- The Browns have not had a solid, dependable left tackle since they returned to the field in 1999. A left tackle would solidify the offensive line and give the offense a large morale boost heading into the 2004 season.

TE -- The Browns have a few tight ends, but none of them are impact, big-play, down-the-field guys. Butch Davis thinks that a guy like Kellen Winslow is that kind of player. And Davis thinks he could transform the offense.

QB -- Not for the short-term. Jeff Garcia is the answer there for at least two years. But the team needs someone behind Garcia to develop for the future, and it promises it will take one QB in this draft.

S -- Tackling at the position was abysmal in 2003.

CB -- While the Browns have decent corners in Daylon McCutcheon and Anthony Henry, a big-time, shutdown corner would greatly improve Dave Campo's cover-two defense.



The OBR Top Stories