This time last year, the Cleveland Browns knew that top wide receiver Josh Gordon was going to be suspended and were wheelers and dealers on NFL Draft day, trading first down, and then up, in the first round. In a loaded wide receiver class, however, the Browns instead passed prospects up in favor of cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel.
This year, the Browns are again facing the likelihood of a Gordon suspension -- but they also hold two first-round picks, and there is plenty of receiver talent available. Chris Pokorny of Dawgs By Nature is prepared to address the situation, finally, on behalf of the Browns in our 2015 NFL mock draft.
12. Browns: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Pokorny: When the casual fan looks at the Cleveland Browns wide receiver situation, they probably perceive it as one of the worst in the NFL. However, when you factor in all of the Browns' receivers, they are spending the eighth-most money against the cap at the wide receiver position in the NFL this year.
General manager Ray Farmer has stressed how he wants to have a versatile group of receivers. The Browns really like Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel, but both of them are undersized. Brian Hartline was signed to a three-year deal, but he's a complementary piece, not a No. 1 receiver. Dwayne Bowe was signed to a two-year deal, and while he used to be a No. 1-caliber receiver, it's been awhile since he's held that status. If Josh Gordon can avoid another suspension, Cleveland will hold the rights to him for another year or two. Although the Browns addressed the receiver position in free agency, it's more of a patchwork fix than a longterm solution. The team can't place an ounce of faith in Gordon, so it may as well act like he's not in the equation anymore. Bowe is getting toward the tail end of his career, so Cleveland needs to find a young receiver who can be the No. 1 guy for years to come.
Enter the 6'3, 209-pound DeVante Parker. It was painful to see the Browns miss out on one of the talented receivers from a year ago, but taking Parker would make amends for their mistake. He seems to be the receiver who Farmer prefers the most, so of the top three players at the position, it would be convenient if he fell right into Cleveland's lap.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: Even though they need to add a pass rusher and defensive lineman high in the draft, Parker is the type of player the Browns need. He’s a dependable pass catcher who would help finish off the team’s wide receiver group. If this scenario plays out, the Browns will be depending on defensive players being around at picks 19 and 43. Fortunately, that plays into the strengths of this year’s draft.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 6. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
- 10. Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
- 13. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
- 15. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
- 17. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
- 1-12: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
- 1-19: (coming March 31)
- 2-43: (coming April 10)
SB Nation presents: 2015 NFL Draft needs for the Browns and their division rivals