The start of the 2020 NFL Draft is two days away and the Cleveland Browns still hold the 10th overall pick as of Tuesday afternoon.
It begs the question: Should the Browns draft the best player available or draft for need?
Let’s examine both, starting with the latter:
Drafting for need
The Browns have looked for Joe Thomas’ successor at left tackle since 2017.
Many people expect the Browns to select an offensive tackle in the first round of this year’s draft.
Draft experts consider the top four tackles to be Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton.
Many people expect the Browns to select one of the four players.
Sports betting website Bovada lists the Browns at -450 to select an offensive player and at +275 to pick a defensive player with their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Houston’s Joshua Jones and Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland are also possibilities at offensive tackle.
Wirfs and Wills have primarily played right tackle, which is where the Browns expect free-agent signing Jack Conklin to play.
Wills is also projected to be the first offensive tackle taken on Thursday night, according to BetMGM.
The Browns need to fill the void at left tackle after quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked 40 times in 2019, which was the ninth most in the NFL.
Drafting the best player available
Perhaps an offensive tackle might be the Browns’ highest-graded player if they keep the 10th pick on Thursday night.
However, if the Browns do not select an offensive tackle, it would likely be because of a trade.
ESPN reporter Josina Anderson cited an unnamed source who told her the Browns trading for Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams is “still on the table.”
Another possibility comes after NBC Sports’ Peter King reported on Monday that the Browns are “actively trying to trade down” in the draft.
“Andrew Thomas is the preferred player here,” King reported.
The Browns need to improve their front seven on the defensive side of the ball after allowing 144.7 rushing yards per game last season, which ranked 30th in the NFL.
The team could add a safety with the departure of Damarious Randall too.
General manager Andrew Berry said Monday the team is treating the draft as if they have an expansion roster to avoid focusing on specific positions while ignoring others.
Ultimately, it could depend on if a highly-touted prospect falls to the Browns at the 10th overall pick.
We’ll see what happens when the 2020 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.