A position-by-position look at where the Browns still need help

Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.

Although the NFL transaction season technically just began on Wednesday, the bulk of Browns GM John Dorsey’s work may be done – until the April 25-27 draft.

Dorsey could have a few more signings in store in the second wave of free agency. But it’s hard to imagine any will create the splash of Dorsey’s blockbuster trade with the New York Giants.

That doesn’t mean Dorsey doesn’t have some work to do before the remade team convenes with coach Freddie Kitchens for the start of the offseason program on April 1.

Here’s a look at the Browns’ position groups for now:


Starter: Baker Mayfield

Others: Drew Stanton

Veterans available: Blake Bortles, Mike Glennon, Trevor Siemian, Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Dorsey has indicated he wants to bring four quarterbacks to camp. One probably would be a young developmental prospect in the draft or an undrafted free agent. The other could be someone to challenge Stanton for the No. 2 job, or he might be a younger arm cast aside after the draft. For now, the Browns say they are comfortable with Stanton as the top backup.

Wide receivers

Starters: Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway.

Others: Rashard Higgins, Blake Jackson, Ricardo Louis, Damion Ratley, Jaelen Strong, Derrick Willies.

Veterans available: Randall Cobb, Michael Crabtree, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan, Terrance Williams, Jermaine Kearse.

If the desire is to add a receiver with size, there are plenty available in the draft. One thing is certain after the trade for Beckham: the search for a No. 1 is over.

Tight ends

Starter: David Njoku.

Others: Pharaoh Brown, Seth DeValve, Demetrius Harris.

Veterans available: Jared Cook, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Maxx Williams, Lance Kendricks, Luke Wilson.

Harris, 27, is a former undrafted free agent signed by Dorsey in Kansas City. In five seasons with the Chiefs, he had 57 receptions and six touchdowns. If Dorsey covets a pass-catcher to compete for DeValve’s spot behind Njoku, he likely will draft one. It’s a good draft for tight ends, with immediate contributors available through the third and fourth rounds.

Running backs

Starter: Nick Chubb.

Others: Dontrell Hilliard, Kareem Hunt, Duke Johnson Jr., Devante Mays.

Veterans available: T.J. Yelden, Spencer Ware, Jay Ajayi, Alfred Blue, Buck Allen, Jeremy Hill.

The big questions are how long Hunt will be suspended and when will the Browns know. Clarity on that issue would enable the Browns to trade Johnson – the Eagles reportedly remain interested – and give them ample time to replace Johnson, probably in the draft.

Offensive linemen

Starters: Greg Robinson, Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter, Austin Corbett, Chris Hubbard.

Others: David Bright, Kyle Friend, Desmond Harrison, Kyle Kalis, Brad Seaton, Earl Watford.

Veterans available: Mike Remmers, Ereck Flowers, Ben Ijalana, Andre Smith.

Corbett’s promotion into Kevin Zeitler’s starting spot creates the need for an interior swingman. Watford would seem to have dibs on that. Although the Browns haven’t given up at all on Harrison as a future competitor for a starting spot, a developmental tackle in the draft would appear to be a priority.

Defensive linemen

Starters: Olivier Vernon, Sheldon Richardson, Larry Ogunjobi, Myles Garrett.

Others: Trevon Coley, Carl Davis, Daniel Ekuale, Lenny Jones, Emmanuel Ogbah, Devaroe Lawrence, Brian Price, Chris Smith, Chad Thomas, Anthony Zettel.

Veterans available: Ezekiel Ansah, Markus Golden, Kony Ealy, Eli Harold, Adrian Branch, Ndamukong Suh, Malcom Brown, Brent Urban.

It’s interesting that Dorsey acquired veteran starters Vernon and Richardson even though the strength of this year’s draft is at this position. Reports of Ogbah being on the trading block suggest that Dorsey still might want to bring in a developmental end via the draft.


Starters: Genard Avery, Joe Schobert, Christian Kirksey.

Others: Ray-Ray Armstrong, D’Juan Hines, Adarius Taylor, Xavier Woodson-Luster.

Veterans available: Zach Brown, K.J. Wright, Vincent Rey, Brandon Marshall.

Taylor, signed to an affordable two-year deal, played his first two years in Carolina under new coordinator Steve Wilks and linebackers coach Al Holcomb. He is not the replacement for departed Jamie Collins and there might not be one found in free agency. If the Browns think Avery can hold down a starting job, they can set their sights in the draft for a developmental linebacker, or two.


Starters: Terrance Mitchell, Denzel Ward.

Others: T.J. Carrie, Ashton Lampkin, Tavierre Thomas, , Howard Wilson.

Veterans available: Ronald Darby, Bryce Callahan, Rashaan Melvin, Captain Munnerlyn, Sam Shields, Justin Bethel.

The Browns’ reported interest in Kevin Johnson and Bradley Roby – who signed elsewhere – suggests they feel the need for a veteran who can compete for a starting job. Are they concerned with Ward’s durability or do they want an upgrade for Carrie at nickelback? With pickings in free agency slim, this could be a high priority position in the draft.


Starters: Damarious Randall, Derrick Kindred.

Others: Robert Jackson, Lenzy Pipkins, Tigie Sankoh, Jermaine Whitehead.

Veterans available: Eric Berry, Tre Boston, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, George Iloka, Johnathan Cyprien, Jimmie Ward, Ibraheim Campbell.

The inclusion of Peppers in the Beckham trade was a little surprising because coordinator Steve Wilks singled him out at his introductory press conference as a nice fit in his defense due to versatility to play a hybrid linebacker role. This newly created need could be filled with a stop-gap veteran acquisition. One possibility is Campbell, a fourth-round pick of the Browns in 2015 who has an advocate in new secondary coach Joe Whitt.


Starters: Britton Colquitt (p), Charley Hughlett (h), Greg Joseph (pk).

Veterans available: Dan Bailey (pk), Stephen Gostkowski (pk), Phil Dawson (pk).

Joseph was lauded for his big leg by new special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, but he was shaky after joining the Browns in September last year, missing four PATs and three field goals. Priefer had Bailey in Minnesota last season. He has made only 75 percent of field goals the past two years and has always been with indoor teams. Gostkowski, 35, has 13 years of solid experience in cold-weather Foxboro, MA, but Dorsey indicated the Browns have made no conclusion about bringing in a kicker to compete with Joseph.