Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
As a result of John Dorsey’s mega-deal for Odell Beckham Jr. on March 12, the Browns don’t have a pick in the first round of the draft for the first time since 2008. Their first choice is in the middle of the second round, No. 49 overall.
This is one in a series analyzing what the Browns might do with the pick.
Do the Browns need another tight end?
They have 2017 first-round pick David Njoku entering his third NFL season with the arrow pointing up at the age of 22.
In the middle of these two tight ends on the depth chart is Seth DeValve, who is authoring a fairly remarkable survivor story.
DeValve is one of six players left from the 24 selected in the Sashi Brown drafts of 2016 and 2017 who has not been purged by GM John Dorsey. The others -- Myles Garrett, Njoku, Larry Ogunjobi, Joe Schobert and Rashard Higgins – have all been much more productive than DeValve.
DeValve made the final roster last year even though he missed most of training camp with recurring soft tissue injuries and didn’t play in the preseason. He was active for 12 games and finished with five receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown.
So, you have to figure DeValve’s roster spot is tenuous. A replacement – or at least a competitor – could come via the draft, which is considered a good one for tight ends.
Most draft experts consider two tight ends to be first round-worthy – and both are from Iowa, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant. They could make history. No pair of tight ends from the same team ever has been taken in the first round of the same draft.
If Dorsey elects to go with a tight end in the second round, the logical choices would be Irv Smith Jr. of Alabama and Jace Sternberger of Texas A&M. But the former should be taken before the Browns’ pick at No. 49, and the latter might be a reach for the middle of the second round.
The depth of this position runs into the third and fourth rounds. In Dorsey’s first draft as GM of the Kansas City Chiefs, he selected Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce, the native of Cleveland Heights, in the third round.
After the retirement of New England’s Rob Gronkowski, Kelce now is considered the best tight end in the NFL. And guess what? The Chiefs are said to be interested in Sternberger.
"I feel like the game is transitioning with tight ends,” Sternberger said at the NFL Combine. “There's not just one good tight end anymore. You see a lot of effective teams. They are starting to get two tight ends, and if you have two big bodies who are versatile, I feel like it's really hard to stop.
“Philly, for example, with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. That was kind of the first little taste of it, and they were very productive. I feel like it's only going to get more and more like that as the years go on.”
He makes a good case for the Browns upgrading their second tight end. It’s just a matter of when Dorsey will take him.