1. Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest – not spectacular but very solid and could play either inside or outside in the 3-4.
2. Jason Smith, OT, Baylor – could play on the right side at tackle and solidify the Browns’ offensive line.
3. BJ Raji, DT, Boston College – could primarily play in the middle, moving Shaun Rogers to DE. This would shore up the Browns’ porous run defense while Rogers could cause match-up problems for the opposition’s pass protection while rotating with Raji on the interior. The top two players on my list probably won’t be there; Raji should be there for the Browns. BJ Raji would be my selection for the Browns if he was available, and by all accounts should be there when they pick at #5.
-These next players are probably too high for the #5 pick, but I would not become overly upset if the Browns selected them at #5 as they fit my scouting criteria of being solid players in the middle...
4. Malcolm Jenkins, CB/S, Ohio State – I would play Jenkins at corner but he could also play safety for the Browns.
5. Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC – this is high for the #5 pick but I love Maualuga’s intensity and toughness. Both are traits the Browns are sorely missing on defense.
6. Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi – Oher could be switched from left tackle to right tackle and could solidify the Browns’ offensive line.
7. Andre Smith, OT, Alabama – Has had a rough offseason and has bust potential but nobody can deny Andre Smith is a solid run blocker. With the right coaching staff, this guy could become a dominant NFL tackle for ten years.
8. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State – Since 1999, the Browns have struggled with a power running game. Even with Wells’ injury issues/history, he would enable the Browns to run the ball when the weather gets bad in November and December. If not for the injury issues/concerns, Wells would definitely go in the top five.
Remember that I wrote these things down for the sake of posterity (think three years from now)…
· I do not want Texas' Brian Orakpo or Penn State's Aaron Maybin. Projecting college DEs to 3-4 OLBs is extremely tough. This draft is very deep in 3-4 caliber players who should be available in the second round for the Browns to select and develop. I am afraid either of these players are going to be the Browns' selection at #5.
· I do not want a WR selected high in the first round (Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin, for example) when any of those other players I have written up above are available. Even if Braylon Edwards is traded, I would wait to select a WR until the late 1st round (if the Browns get the Giants’ first round pick) or early in the second round. Remember - wide receivers can be found in the later rounds.
· I would only select Mark Sanchez if there is a solid deal in place to move Brady Quinn for a #1 and a #3. And with a Sanchez selection, the Browns would need to find a capable veteran backup for Derek Anderson, as Sanchez will need some time for development, a la Carson Palmer did for Cincinnati years ago.