The Top 5 Unaddressed Positions of Need in the AFC
Cleveland Browns, Wide Receiver
This might seem like a bizarre call because the Browns have made some gestures at this position over the offseason, but I just don't think they've done enough to truly address the gaps they have here. Last season, the Browns' wide receiving corps was absolutely dreadful, according to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. NEP quantifies a player's production and indicates how many points he added or subtracted from his team's expected point total during the course of a season.
Slot man Andrew Hawkins was the best player at this position for them last year by Total NEP, and he ranked a mediocre-at-best 51st in the metric among receivers with at least 40 targets. Miles Austin contributed some as well but wasn't consistent by any means. Undrafted 2014 rookie Taylor Gabriel provided an interesting deep target, but none of them were able to replicate even a fraction of the missing production from suspended star wideout Josh Gordon.
To upgrade their corps, the Browns' front office signed third-tier free agents such as former Dolphins' receiver Brian Hartline and longtime Kansas City Chief Dwayne Bowe. The problem with these players? Each ranked a poor 46th and 65th in Total NEP among wide receivers last season. They're certainly upgrades, but not by much.
In this Draft class, despite Louisville standout DeVante Parker falling to them at 12th Overall, the Browns passed on upgrading the position until Round 4. Here, they selected Washington State wideout Vince Mayle, a Division I receiver for just two years. He produced well at Washington State, with 146 catches for 2,022 yards and 16 touchdowns in his two seasons; in this wide-open spread offense, though, a bevy of receivers thrived. Mayle's route-running and technique is rough at best, and he's a much better developmental stash than immediate starter.
Best Solution So Far: Dwayne Bowe, free agent signing