With other adjectives that have been applied to the Cleveland Browns lately, it had to be a relief to hear commentators on ESPN Friday morning refer to their first-round selections as “sensible.”
The Browns took defensive tackle Danny Shelton of Oregon at No. 12 and center Cameron Erving of Florida State at No. 19.
“I know these aren't the two sexiest picks when you are taking guys that aren't 'skill players,'” coach Mike Pettine said Thursday, as reported by The Plain Dealer. “We prefer to call them 'big skill.' We are thrilled because we know with a great degree of certainty that the Cleveland Browns got better tonight.”
(How sexy the picks are might depend on how you think Shelton looked clad in a colorful outfit that featured a lava-lava, a traditional sarong he wore to honor his Samoan heritage. Shelton also made the best move of the first round, wrapping up commissioner Roger Goodell in a bear hug and lifting him off the floor.)
To make these picks, the Browns bypassed wide receivers who went in the first round, DeVante Parker and Breshad Perriman.
"There were multiple players in the conversation for when we took those selections,'' general manager Ray Farmer said. "Offensive skill splash [players] were definitely in those conversations. Again, to me, you have to create your identity and who you want to be and make sure that is intact before you start adding the requisite pieces. The offensive skill is something that I think we have here.''
Despite chatter that indicated otherwise, Farmer said the Browns didn’t try to make a deal for the Tennessee Titans’ pick at No. 2 in order to draft quarterback Marcus Mariota. “There were no conversations of trading,” Farmer said.
Shelton is expected to help the Browns bolster their run defense, which needs lots of bolstering, considering that they ranked last in the league in that category. Shelton also may give Cleveland more pressure on opposing passers. He had nine sacks last season for Oregon, a high number for an interior lineman.
The Browns didn’t have a need at center — at least not this year. However, Pro Bowl player Alex Mack can become a free agent after this season. In the meantime, Erving displayed versatility on the offensive line. He began 2014 as a left tackle for Florida State before moving to center.
“Whether you took him and wanted to run downhill at people or whether you wanted to run laterally, the guy has a skill set that allows him to play in any of those schemes and at a variety of positions,” Farmer said.
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