My assignment was to bring up the Cleveland Browns' needs and discuss how to fix them in the NFL Draft.
Being a diehard Browns fan, I jumped at the chance to write about my team, but I am realistic that talking about the Browns' needs alone could take a whole article. I'll do my best to condense the vast needs of the Browns and play General Manager.
Cleveland needs offensive playmakers, pass rushers, and defensive backs. It sounds like a lot, but with the right moves, Cleveland could fill those holes in a couple years.
"With the fifth pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select..."
At this spot, a few players should be considered: Aaron Curry, Brian Orakpo, Michael Crabtree and Malcolm Jenkins. I think Jenkins is a reach, so I would take him out of consideration. That leaves either a pass rusher or a wide receiver.
I really like Crabtree, and the Browns have no wide receivers opposite Braylon Edwards, so he is a definite possibility. If the Browns take Crabtree, they go with an outside linebacker in the second round such as Larry English or Clint Sintim, or Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews should either one fall.
If the Chiefs draft an offensive lineman (B.J. Raji) or Michael Crabtree, Aaron Curry is the clear-cut pick for the Browns.
But, in all likelihood, Kansas City gobbles up Curry with the third pick in the draft, and the Browns walk away with a consolation prize in Brian Orakpo.
With a pass rusher taken in the first round, the Browns need to address running back, wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, and safety. With pick No. 5 in the second round, the Browns should take a running back, as Jamal Lewis was a shell of his former self last year.
There are only two backs to consider: LeSean McCoy and Donald Brown. Knowshon Moreno is the pick if he falls, but I doubt he goes past the Cardinals. McCoy would be a good complement for Lewis, and Donald Brown is a workhorse. I would go with McCoy.
Defense and running back are addressed, now the choice has to be wide receiver. Joe Jurevicius was cut and Donte Stallworth looks like he's done based on legal issues.
The wide receivers that could be available to the Browns with their second pick in the second round could be: Percy Harvin (based on his poor performance at the combine), Darrius Heyward Bey (if Al Davis picks a wide receiver in the first round), Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, Brian Robiskie, Juaquin Iglesias, and Derrick Williams.
I would love for Harvin to fall to the Browns, as I think he would be a good complement for Braylon Edwards, but in all honesty, he'll be gone. Hakeem Nicks is the choice if available, but once again, he probably won't.
Brian Robiskie's stock is rising all the time, and seems to be a good fit. Kenny Britt, Louis Murphy and Derrick Williams are both good fits as well.
If they don't go wide receiver (which they should), they should go with a cornerback; Sean Smith could play either corner or safety, Darius Butler, Alphonso Smith, or D.J. Moore would be good selections to play corner opposite Eric Wright.
If safety is the choice, Louis Delmas, William Moore, or Sean Smith would be the best picks.
The Browns don't have another pick until round 4, to which they would need a tight end, a cornerback, an offensive tackle, an offensive guard and a safety. James Casey would look good going to the Browns, but he would be the only tight end I would consider.
At defensive back, Sherrod Martin, Chip Vaughn, and Michael Hamlin would play safety, and Captain Munnerlyn, Mike Mickens, Asher Allen, and Jason McCourty would play cornerback. Any of these would be a good choice.
If the Browns were dumb enough not to take a wideout earlier, Mike Wallace is the choice.
With the departure of Kevin Shaffer, the Browns should probably go Phil Loadholt, an OT/OG.
My favorite scenario is taking Michael Crabtree, Clay Matthews, Donald Brown/Lesean Mccoy, and Phil Loadholt, but the most realistic scenario is probably: Brian Orakpo, LeSean McCoy/Donald Brown, Brian Robiskie, and Phil Loadholt.