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Browns Mailbag: Do Browns have more signings up their sleeve?

Posted Mar 16, 2017

Senior Writer Andrew Gribble answers your questions every week

The past couple of Thursdays have kept us a little too busy for us to open up the mailbag.

There’s so much basketball trying to distract us enough to make it a third week in a row, but there’s no ignoring the flood of questions in the wake of some major moves made by the Browns.

We’re tackling five of them.

Do you see the Browns making any additions on defense before the draft? All moves thus far have been to the offense, and with the possibility of a very young defense on the horizon, we could use a veteran to help lead them. -- Eric U., Milford, Connecticut

The headline-grabbing moves of free agency are largely reserved for the first day -- really, it starts with the legal tampering period two days earlier -- but it truly does power forward in the days and weeks afterward. The Browns have not announced any signings since that first day, when they nabbed wide receiver Kenny Britt, center JC Tretter and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler but that doesn’t mean they’re done. There are certainly some areas to address on defense -- safety and outside linebacker/pass rusher come to the forefront -- and there are a number of available players who play those positions. At this point, it’s all about the right fit at the right price. Whatever the Browns do in the coming month likely won’t have much effect on how they attack the draft, which is loaded with high-end defensive talent. As for the team’s leadership on defense, I think there are a handful of veterans at each position group who can shoulder the leadership load. Veteran defensive lineman Desmond Bryant is back after missing all of 2016, linebackers Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins Sr. are entering their respective primes and defensive backs Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor have plenty of respect among the team’s young players in the secondary.

Are either Desmond or Kenny King on the radar for the second round? -- Mark R., Star Valley, Arizona

Both players could be available when the Browns kick off Day 2 of the draft with the 33rd overall pick, but Kenny King’s stock has been skyrocketing ever since his showstopping performance at the Combine. The Washington cornerback ran a great 40-yard dash and was tops among cornerbacks in three other events to impress those who previously believed he wouldn’t sniff the first round. Now, he’s been slated in a number of mock drafts sometime after the 20th pick. His teammate, Sidney Jones, going down with a serious injury at Washington’s Pro Day likely elevated King one spot higher in teams’ rankings of cornerbacks. As for Desmond King, a safety from Iowa, he’s someone who projects to be available at 33 and potentially 52, the Browns’ second of two second-round picks. A former cornerback, King got some work at safety at the Senior Bowl and projects as a free safety in the NFL. It’s a position the Browns are expected to address in the draft, and they very well could address it before the second round.

Though the Browns have Britt and Coleman, with the loss of Pryor, do you think they need to add a WR in the draft? Maybe between the second round through fifth? -- Martel B., Cleveland Heights

There are a handful of veteran wide receivers on the market, a group that includes former Baltimore wide receiver Kamar Aiken and former Giant Victor Cruz, and there are plenty of opportunities to address the position in the draft. You mentioned the second round, but I’m not ready to completely eliminate the first round. At No. 12, the Browns could very well have the opportunity to take the top wide receiver in the draft for a second consecutive year, a decision that would likely be between Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Clemson’s Mike Williams. In the second round, whether it be at 33 or 52, players such as East Carolina’s Zay Jones, Penn State’s Chris Godwin and Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp could be options.

Do you think the Browns should trade back from 12 if Soloman Thomas or Jonathan Allen don't fall to the 12th pick? Also do you think the Browns should wait to get Sam Darnold next year? -- Austin S., Concord, North Carolina

I’d be stunned if either of those players are available at the No. 6 spot in the draft, let alone No. 12. As for looking ahead to the next year’s draft when it comes to the quarterback position, Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said this when he was asked a similar question before last year’s draft.

“I think it is dangerous to try to forecast where position groups will be,” Brown said. “Frankly, it is hard enough to do with the single year, much less trying to calculate where the sophomores and juniors are that will be up in the next couple of years. Guys do come out of nowhere.”

Why aren’t the Browns saying much about Crowell? We want him extended. -- Brice T., Carrollton

The Browns placed a second-round tender on Crowell, who was undrafted in 2014. Brown addressed the situation at the Combine and said he hoped to work out a long-term deal with Crowell in the future.

“Crow’s under contract obviously through the RFA tag and we’ll work to see if we can find a longer term deal for him,” Brown said. “Right now, as he plays through this offseason through the tag we’ll wait and see how that plays out.”


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