The Cleveland Browns have the sixth overall pick in this year's draft, and it's both a blessing and a curse.
There are certainly enough talented players at positions of need for the Browns to find someone who can make an immediate impact, but the top tier is a more fluid situation than last year, making it hard to predict just who will be available when they make their selection.
Here are what five of the top draft experts—ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay, CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan, WalterFootball.com and Drafttek—predict the Browns will do with their first-round pick.
Mel Kiper, ESPN: LB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Though the Browns addressed the linebacker position in free agency by signing Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves, that doesn't mean their pass-rush situation has been taken care of.
The top end of this year's draft is populated by so many talented pass-rushers that it makes sense they'd be targeting at least one of them with their sixth-overall pick, and Mel Kiper of ESPN thinks they'll be taking Oregon's Dion Jordan.
Jordan had 44 tackles (and 10.5 for a loss) as well as three forced fumbles and five sacks in 2012. Oregon made good use of his versatility, lining him up in coverage just as much as it asked him to rush the passer. This athleticism and speed is just what the Browns need to make their linebacking corps younger, faster and more dangerous on every down.
Todd McShay, ESPN: LB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Todd McShay is in agreement with ESPN colleague Kiper when it comes to the Browns' first-round pick, also saying that they should take linebacker Dion Jordan at No. 6. The addition of Jordan would round out their crew of pass-rushers, with Paul Kruger, Jabaal Sheard and Quentin Groves in a support role giving them four solid options at outside linebacker.
There's no guarantee that Jordan will be on the board once it's time for the Browns to make their pick, but if he is, he's without question the best choice for them.
Pat Kirwan, CBS Sports: LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan also believes the Browns will address their pass-rushing linebacker situation in the first round, but instead of Dion Jordan (whom he has going ninth overall to the New York Jets), he prefers Georgia's Jarvis Jones as the better fit in Cleveland.
Jones disappointed somewhat in his pro day workout on Thursday, running the 40-yard dash in just 4.85 seconds (though he also may have pulled a hamstring partway through). That and his medical concerns regarding potential spinal stenosis may be enough to scare off otherwise interested teams.
If it's not concerning to the Browns, however, then it's certainly possible they select Jones sixth overall. He had 85 tackles and 14.5 sacks, as well as seven forced fumbles and an interception in 2012, which seems to point to his 40 time on Thursday not matching up to his real-life speed.
If the Browns don't feel so strongly about Jordan (or he's off the board by then), then Jones is another solid option.
WalterFootball.com: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Though WalterFootball.com does concede that the Browns could use their first-round pick to further bolster their pass rush, they believe that cornerback Dee Milliner is the best selection for them this year.
The Browns still need to add another starting-caliber cornerback to play on the outside alongside Joe Haden and have yet to do so in free agency, which could mean that Milliner is indeed one of their targets in the draft.
Milliner is fast enough and strong enough to take on a variety of receivers and would be perfect in man coverage to provide a dangerous one-two punch with Haden. Though pass rush is a huge priority, Milliner may be too good for the Browns to pass up.
Drafttek: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
Among these five mock drafts we've looked at, only Drafttek's consensus picks have the Browns taking an offensive player with their first-round selection. Their choice of offensive guard Chance Warmack is certainly a bit unconventional considering the Browns' defensive needs, but it's not a bad move, either.
The Browns' offensive line was very good in 2012, with the glaring exception of one player—guard Shawn Lauvao. An upgrade to Warmack would allow Trent Richardson more opportunities to run and offer better protection to Brandon Weeden.
Lauvao is worth keeping around as depth, for sure, but Warmack would make Cleveland's offense better. However, it's almost a luxury pick for the Browns to address offensive line in the first round.
By far, the experts think the Browns will address their defense with their first-round pick this year, with the majority expecting that defensive attention to be paid to the pass rush. Though they've already made steps to make their transition to a 3-4 base defense go more smoothly, the addition of a top-tier pass-rusher like Jarvis Jones or Dion Jordan would make this even easier and successful.
Dee Milliner, however, shouldn't be ignored. Depending on the Brent Grimes situation—whether the Browns sign him and how healthy they expect him to be in 2013—the link between the Browns and Milliner could only grow stronger as the draft approaches. It wouldn't be a bad use of the pick, at all.
However, I simply don't see offense being the route the Browns go at sixth-overall. Chance Warmack does meet a need, but not a major one, while Milliner or Jordan/Jones most certainly does. Also interesting is that none of these five mock drafts entertained the notion of the Browns taking quarterback Geno Smith; the thought that Brandon Weeden won't be the starting quarterback seems to be fading quickly.
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