Only two more 2016 NFL Draft-related mailbags to go before the speculation comes to an end.
Let's make this one count.
Would Jalen Ramsey be our most likely pick at 2 if we don't decide to go QB? He seems like a sure thing and our secondary needs help. -- Jacob L., Toledo
We've touched on this kind of question in the past in various ways, and it's been a hot topic of debate on every kind of sports medium over the past few months, but it's worth revisiting now that the Rams have changed everything at the top of the draft.
The assumption for months was that Tennessee would kick the 2016 draft off with a non-quarterback. The momentum seemed to be trending in the direction of either Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil or Ramsey, the talented defensive back from Florida State. The Titans swarmed their respective Pro Days but the notion they'd be in the market for either player went out the window when the Rams traded them a boatload of picks to nab the No. 1 pick. Now the Rams are on the clock and, barring an absolute stunner, they're going to take a quarterback. That, in turn, pushes every non-quarterback back a spot when it comes to draft-day projections and gives the Browns the opportunity to take the best non-quarterback in the entire draft if they want.
The Browns, of course, aren't displaying their draft board in a public fashion, and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown indicated last week there's some interest in the team's spot at No. 2, which would render this entire exercise moot. From our seat, here are the five best non-quarterbacks ranked not by their ability, but by the position they play and how it correlates with the needs on Cleveland's roster.
Ramsey - Do-it-all defensive back can play either safety or cornerback. Both of the Browns' starting safeties from last season, Tashaun Gipson and Donte Whitner, are no longer with the team. Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden is recovering from offseason ankle surgery and Tramon Williams is entering his 11th season.
Tunsil - Though Cleveland has a nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle in Joe Thomas, and Tunsil is considered the absolute prototype for the position, there's a need at right tackle, and Tunsil could certainly help fill it. The Browns are down two starting offensive linemen from last season, and Tunsil is considered, by far, the best at the position in this draft.
DE/LB Joey Bosa (Ohio State) - We put multiple positions on Bosa because it's unclear how he'd be used in a 3-4 after playing at defensive end in a 4-3 with the Buckeyes. He went through some linebacker drills at the Combine but some analysts have said he could make the move to a five-technique in a 3-4. The Browns return the same group of pass rushers from last year's team but are seeking improvement in an area that's been strongly emphasized by new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
DL DeForest Buckner (Oregon) - After a monster senior season, Buckner very well could be the best five-technique defensive lineman in this year's draft. The Browns released veteran Randy Starks during the offseason and are looking to improve in this area after applying inconsistent pressure to quarterbacks and struggling against the run.
LB Myles Jack (UCLA) - A two-way player for the Bruins, Jack is a dynamic athlete who has spent most of his draft preparation trying to prove to teams he's healthy after injuring his knee during his final season. The Browns appear to have their starters lined up at inside linebacker with Christian Kirksey and Demario Davis but the unit could use some more depth.
The Browns returned to the practice fields Tuesday to open voluntary veteran minicamp.
Who is going to be our starting offensive linemen? -- Charles P., Dayton
The aforementioned holes left by Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz on the offensive line will be an ongoing storyline throughout the offseason. Some clarity came Wednesday when second-year offensive lineman Cameron Erving confirmed he was focusing on center. Right guard John Greco can also play the position if necessary. The left side appears stable with Thomas and Joel Bitonio. At right tackle, newly acquired Alvin Bailey and Austin Pasztor could be in a battle for the position along with any players acquired in the draft. And don't forget about Michael Bowie, who has starting experience but missed the past two seasons with injuries.
Don't you think it would be a good thing for the Browns to pick an elite running back with their second pick and trade for a top-tier pass rusher like Muhammad Wilkerson? -- Paul M., Tijuana
Running back is one of Cleveland's deeper positions heading into 2016 with young players Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson leading the way. Terrell Watson, who played with Hue Jackson in Cincinnati last season, joined the Browns shortly after Jackson's hire. Taking a running back at No. 2 would buck recent history and go against the trend of players at the position falling farther and farther down draft boards. A running back hasn't been selected in the top two in 10 years (Reggie Bush).
Dudes if you trade out of No. 2 because your QB you wanted isn't there and you are planning on drafting Connor Cook in Round 2, news flash, he isn't gonna be there cause the pony boy Broncos are gonna snag him. So you better take into account to get him somewhere in the first round or he will be gone. -- Steve D., Tampa
A bold, strong proclamation but certainly plausible, especially now that a quarterback is likely being selected with the No. 1 pick. It may come down to picking between Paxton Lynch and Cook for the Broncos.