The Browns came into this draft with four glaring needs: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, right tackle.
With the selection of California OT Mitchell Schwartz at No. 37, they have addressed three of those issues.
Schwartz played on the left side at Cal, but he figures to push to start immediately on the right side, where he could be “serviceable” in the pros, PFW’s Nolan Nawrocki wrote in the 2012 Draft Preview.
The Browns have had success plugging linemen right into the lineup in recent years. OLT Joe Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick in 2007, is perhaps the game’s best player at his position; he’s never missed a snap, to boot. C Alex Mack, their first-round pick in ’09 and a Cal product like Schwartz, has started all 48 games, and he has played well. Last season the Browns also got 16 starts out of OLG Jason Pinkston, a fifth-round pick last April.
Schwartz’s ability to play left tackle also gives the Browns an improved insurance policy in the event Thomas were to ever leave the lineup. But right tackle will be his focus.
Some will say the Browns should have considered a wideout here, but I don’t have major qualms with this pick. The Browns had multiple problems to address, and they can only fix one at a time.
But about that WR issue: The Browns have only so many ways left to address it in this draft. Although they have seven picks left, only three are tradable: No. 67 (Round Three), No. 100 (Round Four) and No. 160 (Round Five). This means that if Cleveland wants to move up for a wideout, it will have to use those picks if it doesn’t want to deal 2013 selections and/or players, too.