Cleveland Browns 2009 Draft Preview

Cleveland ClevelandContributor IApril 8, 2009

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 08:  Wide receiver Michael Crabtree #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jones AT&T Stadium on November 8, 2008 in Lubbock, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After a disappointing 2008 campaign and an offseason of change at head coach and GM, the Cleveland Browns will be looking to rebuild the roster through the draft.

It is easy to see that the Browns are in need of improving a defense that has not been able to stop the run or put pressure on the QB ever since returning to the NFL in 1999.

To do so, the Browns will be looking to restock the linebacker and defensive end positions.

In addition, the offense will need some improving as well, especially since a few of the team's major weapons are gone (Kellen Winslow, Joe Jurevicius and most likely Donte Stallworth) via trade, release or incarceration.

The aging Jamal Lewis also can't carry the entire load, so the running back position needs to be addressed as well.

Currently the Browns have only five selections in the draft, although they hold 3 of the top 50 picks. However, they might not be done acquiring more picks, with the rumors of trade scenarios involving Braylon Edwards, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn.

With that being said, here is who might be likely candidates at each of the selections.


Round 1: No. 5 overall

Normally this is an enviable position to be in at the top of the draft, however, the talent pool is not as star-driven as compared to previous drafts.

By all accounts, this is a very deep draft and there is not much separation between players at the top and likely selections in the middle to late first round. Add to this the large amount of guaranteed money that has to be dished out, and it is easy to see why the Browns are desperate to move down in the first round.

Assuming they stay put, the two players that make the most sense are LB/DE Brian Orakpo (Texas) and WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech).

It is difficult to know exactly where they are leaning, since it is not know yet whether Braylon Edwards is going to be a Brown this season.

If he is traded, in all likelihood, Crabtree makes a strong case to be the pick. If Edwards stays put, then Orakpo fits the bill. Crabtree is probably the safest pick, but Orakpo fills the biggest need of a pass-rushing OLB in a 3-4 scheme.


Round 2: No. 36 overall

This is the selection where I see the Browns filling their need at RB.

Prior to the combine, I had penciled in RB Donald Brown from UConn here, but he has worked out so well and, and combined with a terrific 2,000-plus yard season, has skyrocketed into the first round.

With Brown gone, the Browns should select RB LeSean McCoy (Pitt).

Not only did McCoy excel in the running game, but he also showed some excellent pass catching skills.

This would be a steal considering McCoy has first-round talent.

McCoy was not able to show his stuff at the combine because of a nasty flu that had him dropping weight and feeling weak.

The Browns would be lucky to grab a talent like McCoy at this selection.


Round 2: No. 50 overall

If Crabtree is selected at No. 5, the Browns can fill a need at OLB/DE with the selection of DE/OLB Connor Barwin (Cincinnati).

Barwin is a hard-working player who was a converted TE.

Barwin accumulated 11 sacks last season, and if the Browns go with a pass rusher with its first pick, look for them to grab the best FS on the board to replace Sean Jones who left for Philadelphia in free agency.

In that case, they may be able to choose from FS Louis Delmas (Wetern Michigan), FS Rashad Johnsons(Alabama) and FS Patrick Chung (Oregon).


With the rest of their draft, the Browns should concentrate on getting the best player available, as long as its not another QB.


Guys in the fourth round who may interest them include: WR Austin Collie (BYU), ILB Jasper Brinkley (South Carolina), WR Jarett Dillard (Rice) and ILB Scott McKillop (Pittsburgh).