12. Cleveland Browns
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with all this offensive line/defensive line talk, but I can’t help it.
The game is won at the point of attack. If a team can get more pressure on the quarterback, the more likely it is that team will win the game. Obviously, there are other ways to win a football game, but there’s nothing that shuts a team down more than relentless pass-rush.
Cleveland was one of the worst teams in the league at rushing the passer, and that was one of the major reasons why the Browns lost games they should have won. The Browns only totaled 31 sacks over the course of the season, which ranked 27th in the league.
With great cornerbacks like Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert in the secondary, a pass-rusher would make life incredibly difficult for opposing quarterbacks and would basically be that missing piece to the puzzle.
Finding a good pass-rusher is a priority for the Browns this offseason.
Best Pick: Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida
Dante Fowler Jr. translates very well to Cleveland’s defense as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Fowler is a step down from Von Miller and even Khalil Mack right now, but he can get to their level over time. Fowler’s a tad small for a pass-rushing linebacker, but he’s a good enough athlete to drop in coverage and make plays in coverage, as well.
Fowler recorded 8.5 sacks last season at Florida and was easily one the best players on the Gators defense.
Next: New Orleans Saints