The Cleveland Browns enter the 2015 NFL Draft with multiple first-round picks, Nos. 12 and 19 to be exact. They also have quite a few needs that could be addressed very early in the draft. One area they are highly considering upgrading is on the right side of the offensive line, specifically right tackle.
Right tackle is currently being occupied by former second-round pick, Mitchell Schwartz. The former Cal Bear has not lived up to his expectations since being drafted, and is most likely better suited as a guard much like his brother, Geoff Schwartz. He lacks the all important quick first step, which allows pass rushers to get around him far too often.
With that being said, General Manager Ray Farmer and the Cleveland Browns do not need to take a right tackle in the first round of this draft. With bigger needs for playmakers at wide receiver and on the defensive line, the Browns would be best suited to address those needs early. Instead, opting to add depth on the offensive line later on.
For starters, it should also be remembered the Browns did add depth to the offensive line with the addition of Michael Bowie, who started 8 games for the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. According to Pro Football Focus, Bowie excelled as a run blocker in the 2013 season–registering a cumulative run blocking rating of 9.1. That rating put him at No. 12 among all offensive tackles in the NFL that season, eight spots ahead of the Browns very own Joe Thomas.
If Farmer decides to go with a tackle early it would be understood. The tackle taken in the first round would be expected to come in and start immediately with a great impact. He also would most likely be the guy to shift over to left tackle when Thomas decides to retire.
The Browns will need to address the offensive line this offseason, and whether it is free agency or the draft, the absolute panic button does not need to be hit. Last season, Schwartz was hidden quite well when center Alex Mack was healthy. After his injury, the right side of the line was exposed.
This explains why they need to add depth, but do not need to push it and overspend or draft too early. Wide receiver and an interior defensive lineman should be the first priority in free agency or the draft.
If Farmer can land a starter in free agency at receiver or on the defensive line, it will really open up some flexibility early in the draft. The Browns would then be able to afford to open up the books in the plan of attack in the draft, specifically in regard to what they want to do at the tackle position. Until that is done though, the Browns should stick to their guns and not waste a first-round pick on a right tackle.