The Cleveland Browns are one of the more intriguing teams to follow as the 2016 NFL Draft is set to begin on Thursday night. They have so many holes to fill and only a few picks to fill them. Hue Jackson is extremely excited to help get the franchise back on track, and it all starts with the draft.
As of right now, the Browns hold the No. 8 overall pick in the draft. There are so many different options for them in the draft, although they need more help on the offensive side of the ball than anything else.
According to the latest mock draft from Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, the Browns could take running back Ezekiel Elliott with the pick. He was a star at Ohio State and the Browns’ fan base still loves him. It wouldn’t be shocking at all to see Cleveland end up taking the star running back and pair him with Robert Griffin III in the backfield.
Last season with the Buckeyes, Elliott once again showed his superstar potential. He carried the football 289 times for 1,821 yards and 23 touchdowns. Those numbers are, without question, a sign that he could become an every down workhorse at the next level.
Cleveland is in desperate need of help in the backfield, as Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson aren’t going to be legitimate starting options for a serious playoff contender.
Standing in at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Elliott is the ideal size for a workhorse back. He will be an every down player at the next level and will be a dangerous receiver out of the backfield as well. Elliott may not have been used as a receiver much at Ohio State, but he has great hands and is a more than capable pass catcher.
Griffin was signed in free agency to be the starting quarterback, although there was belief that the Browns could look to draft a quarterback as well. He certainly didn’t play great with the Washington Redskins outside of his rookie season, but the potential is there for him to turn things around.
Bringing in a talent like Elliott would change everything for Jackson and the Browns. He would open up so many different options in the playbook. It would force defenses to respect the run and actually game plan for the run as well.
It will be extremely interesting to follow the Browns throughout the draft, as there are plenty of needs for them.
They could still choose to pursue a rookie quarterback or they could try to improve their defense. Another major need is at the wide receiver position. There is no telling what the Browns will end up doing when everything is said and done.
Elliott will have quite a few teams interested in bringing him on board when the draft gets underway. There is a chance that he could go as high as No. 4 overall to the Dallas Cowboys. He could end up dropping past the Browns as well, although that option doesn’t seem too terribly likely.
Not only would the Browns be getting an extremely talented player, they would be getting a ticket seller. Ohio State is huge in Cleveland, and there would be fans who buy tickets just to go see Elliott play.
More rumors will continue coming out over the next couple days as the draft gets ready to begin. Cleveland has some big decisions to make heading into Thursday night. Elliott would make a lot of sense for the Browns and could be the missing piece that the offense has been needing to find.
Do you think that the Cleveland Browns should select Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft? If not, who do you think they should target with their selection?
[AP Photo/Gregory Payan]