NFL Draft Order 2012: Cleveland Browns Must Trade Up to Draft Justin Blackmon
The Cleveland Browns made a huge mistake during the NFL draft last year when they passed on drafting Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. It's an error they cannot afford to make again this year, which is why they should make every effort to draft Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon.
Instead of drafting Jones, Cleveland traded the pick to the Atlanta Falcons and have watched as Jones has emerged as one of the best young receivers in the NFL.
In 2011, Cleveland ranked 27th with 16 receiving touchdowns, 25th with 3,300 receiving yards and dead last with 10.3 average yards per catch. If they wouldn’t have traded their first pick to Atlanta, they would have selected Jones and would have had a player who caught 54 passes for 959 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Instead, Cleveland fans sat through a year where their top receiver, Greg Little, caught 61 passes for 709 yards and just two touchdowns.
The point is Cleveland swung and missed big time by passing on Jones.
St. Louis poses the biggest threat to take Blackmon at No. 2. During the regular season, the Rams posted the worst receiving numbers in the NFL. They ranked dead last with 3,258 total yards, last with nine touchdowns and 27th with 204 yards per game.
The Rams did trade for Brandon Lloyd midway through the season. However, Lloyd did little to improve the Rams' passing game.
Through 11 games with St. Louis, Lloyd never had a game where he went over 100 yards, failed to catch more than one touchdown pass in a game and never caught a pass for more than 40 yards.
If Cleveland can find a way to make a trade with St. Louis to take their No. 2 spot in this year's draft, then they could bypass both the Vikings and Rams allowing them to acquire Justin Blackmon. An added enticement for the Rams to agree to trade down two spots is that Cleveland has the Falcons' No. 1 draft pick this year as a result of last year's draft trade to add to the pot.
Should the Browns offer whatever it takes to get St. Louis' No. 2 pick?
If the Browns miss out on Blackmon, they will miss out on another year where they do not address their biggest need, which is getting a big No. 1 receiver for Colt McCoy.
Cleveland made the wrong draft day move last year. Let’s hope for their fans they do not make the same error this year.
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