Last year prior to the draft, fans were ecstatic at the idea of drafting defensive standouts B.J. Raji and Rey Maualuga, only to be outraged over head coach Eric Mangini's non-sexy pick of center Alex Mack.
The pick, however, solidified the middle of the offensive line for potentially the next decade.
So it presents the question: Why do we undervalue the offensive line so much?
Five men who protect the quarterback from taking hits, give the wide receivers more time to get open, open holes for the running backs, and give the defense a much-needed rest by moving the chains—yet nobody gives them the credit they deserve.
While everyone clamors for the sexy picks of Eric Berry and Joe Haden, the hard-hitting human highlight reels, has Mike Holmgren just tipped his hand by releasing Hank Fraley?
Combine the departure of Fraley with John St. Clair's poor play last season, and Rex Hadnot, Billy Yates, and Ryan Tucker all trying out free agency—a huge gap, now more than ever, sits on the right side of the offensive line.
Floyd Womack played very solid at the end of the 2009 season. A natural and versatile guard, he is expected to be retained since he won't be a free agent until 2011. However, the right tackle spot has been blown wide open.
While Browns fans may be screaming for Haden, it's entirely possible Tom Heckert will be looking in a different direction.
With franchise tackles still on the board with the caliber of Rutgers' Anthony Davis and Iowa's Bryan Bulaga, the new front office could be looking to lock down the line for their tenure in Cleveland.
Holmgren has expressed his concerns with the secondary, but with such a deep class this year, they may be able to justify an offensive tackle in the first while focusing on cornerback and safety in the second and third rounds.
Boise State's Kyle Wilson, Florida State's Patrick Robinson, Oklahoma State's Perrish Cox, and Rutgers' Devin McCourty may be post-first corners Cleveland could focus on.
Holmgren also stated that he was impressed by free safety Abram Elam enough to warrant keeping him around another season, but Brodney Pool's run into free agency will have Cleveland looking towards the strong safety position.
Available post-first-round strong safeties could include Nebraska's Larry Asante, Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett, Toledo's Barry Church, Ohio State's Kurt Coleman, LSU's Chad Jones, Florida State's Myron Rolle, and Kansas' Darrell Stuckey.
So even if the Browns do go offensive tackle in the first round, all hope is not lost for a dominating secondary next season. It will just take a little extra digging.
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