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Good year for Cleveland Browns to need a wide receiver

Posted Mar 6, 2014

Senior Editor Vic Carucci has put together his list of needs, from nine to one, for the Browns to address through free agency and the draft. At No. 3, wide receiver.

By most accounts, the timing couldn’t better for the Cleveland Browns to need a wide receiver … or, perhaps, even two.

This year’s NFL draft appears to be as loaded with highly talented players at the position as any in recent memory.

For instance, one of the more highly anticipated Pro Days took place at Clemson Thursday because of a certain wide receiver regarded as one of the very best to emerge from the college ranks: Sammy Watkins.

Numerous Browns fans and other team observers have clamored for the team to select him with the fourth overall pick, the first of its two choices in the first round.

That is rarified air for any player, and some might argue that it is too high a spot for a wide receiver.

Click image to gallery

Click image to gallery

But there is an understandable excitement over the prospect of pairing Watkins with Josh Gordon, who established himself as one of the best receivers in the game last season.

There also is understandable concern that, after Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron, the Browns have nothing else in the way of difference-making pass-catchers. Additionally, there is the understandable fear that Gordon, who was suspended for the first two games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, is at risk to end up with an even longer suspension.

Still, the Browns have other ways they could go with the fourth pick. Quarterback is a distinct possibility, as is a pass-rushing outside linebacker, as is an offensive tackle.

If they decide not to take Watkins or any other receiver with their top choice, they could, at least based on the perception that the position is exceptionally deep, get a game-changing wideout with their second first-rounder, No. 26 overall.

The Browns might even be able to wait until the second round to address wide receiver.

Among the other highly rated receivers in the draft are Mike Evans of Texas A&M, Marqise Lee of USC, Odell Beckham of LSU, Brandin Cooks of Oregon State, Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt, Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State, Allen Robinson of Penn State, and Davante Adams of Fresno State.

The 6-foot-5, 231-pound Evans chose not to work out at Texas A&M’s Pro Day Wednesday, allowing the blazing 4.53-second 40-yard dash he ran at the NFL Scouting Combine stand as the highlight of his pre-draft auditioning.

>>This Road to the Draft segment is driven by Liberty Ford.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.