"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages!
Step right up and see the biggest spectacle of the NFL off-season since the San Diego Chargers cut wide receiver Demetrius Byrd! New Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren will use 10, count 'em, 10 draft picks to change the face of the NFL hierarchy of teams forever!
Yesterday, Cleveland was an annual bottom feeder of the NFL, but by the time the last draft pick has been made, this team will be a perennial powerhouse!
You can bet your bottom dollar that the likes of the Colts, Steelers, Jets, Saints, and all of the other contenders should be scared of this squad. Super Bowl 45, here we come!"
Okay, as satirical as such an announcement would be, I'm going to try to keep my mock draft from being comparable. I'm not adding much to the mock draft discussion for the most part, as you'll see in some of the picks I've made. I just thought I'd get in on the fun, as well.
At the end, I will wrap it all up and mention a few potential trades that I see happening.
Let's get on with it!
Thomas' size might put him at a disadvantage as far as the safety position goes in the NFL.
However, with Eric Berry already gone in the first six picks of the draft, the Cleveland Holmgrens will want to fill the hole in the secondary with a playmaker and Earl Thomas is that guy.
Thomas won't be alone in the state of Ohio; he will soon have more company from the Longhorns.
You don't have to wait long for Holmgren to pluck his franchise quarterback of the future from the list.
Yep, Colt McCoy.
Yep, in the second round.
While some think that the trade of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins will hurt the draft stock of the likes of Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, and even Colt McCoy, I think otherwise. Let's play out the scenario together:
1. The Redskins don't draft a quarterback in the first round, and opt to take one in the later rounds to groom instead. They could potentially trade Jason Campbell any time up to the draft, who can easily become an immediate starter for a team really struggling to find a leader at quarterback.
2. Bump Bradford and Clausen—expected to be the first two quarterbacks gone in the draft—to the later rounds, should someone like the Rams trade for Campbell. Bradford and Clausen would probably not get by the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, or Indianapolis Colts, all of who could be looking for solid backups or future quarterbacks.
3. Suddenly, McCoy looks like a harder grab, and it would be wise to take him with the 38th overall pick if and when he falls there. It's safe to say he won't fall through to the second round.
Sure, that's a good bit of speculation, but, hey, this is my mock draft.
With a need to have another body available to receive, this McCoy would do well to stretch the field for any quarterback who finds himself under center for the Browns.
Anthony McCoy caught 22 receptions for 457 yards in his senior season at USC. While the numbers aren't record-breaking, picking a quality tight end would help out the Cleveland Browns offense that had just over 2,000 yards of passing offense in 2009. That might not translate yard-for-yard, but it will give the offense another good pair of soft hands.
With its second pick in the third round, Cleveland will pick-up a third Texas player in Lamarr Houston. Having solid depth at defensive tackle will be important, especially with the problems that Shaun Rodgers has gotten himself into.
With the presence of Rodgers in 2010 a question mark at this point, it would be good to take advantage of this pick and take a defensive tackle as insurance. Houston's ability to quickly find the ball will prove him to be a good asset for this struggling defensive unit.
With the 92nd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select...a fourth Texas player!
Jordan Shipley adds immediate help to a receiving corps that couldn't catch a cold last season. Granted, a little help at quarterback would change things as well, but at least with Shipley onboard, he and the future QB Colt McCoy will have a chemistry that could easily put fans back in the seats.
At some point in the draft Holmgren will want to assure that his current quarterback, as well as future QB, will be well-protected.
They will look to Zane Beadles out of Utah, who showed his usefulness by playing left tackle for Utah at times in his career. A player who can play anywhere on the offensive line is valuable, especially on a team that seemed to be plagued with injuries in years past.
After the trade for proven veteran Sheldon Brown, Cleveland has a little less urgency to pick a cornerback in the early rounds. They will most likely still take one though, and will select the services of Walter Thurmond from the University of Oregon.
Though Thurmond could stand to gain a few pounds—he weighed 189 at the combine—his instincts and high potential will be enough to sway Holmgren to call his number.
The Browns will also want to address as much as possible on the defensive side of the ball, and will pick up the assistance of Dexter Davis from Arizona State.
With the departure of Kamerion Wimbley and the addition of Scott Fujita, the Browns can afford to take a later round linebacker or two, so long as the veteran Fujita holds up without injury. Davis' pass rushing skills will help greatly on the defense.
Again, the Browns will look at the linebacker position and take Micah Johnson out of Kentucky. Though Johnson struggled with two injuries—one of which resulted in arthroscopic knee surgery—in his college career, he has decent speed and good instincts to play at the next level.
The Browns will benefit from having Johnson for depth, and he will have the opportunity to grow with Fujita and Matt Roth.
With their final pick of the draft, the Browns look to bolster the defensive line again with the addition of Malcolm Sheppard out of Arkansas.
A good pass rusher and a tough fighter, Sheppard played as both a defensive tackle and a defensive end at Arkansas. Possessing such versatility will prove to be valuable with the Browns should they need him elsewhere on the line.
Let's wrap up with a few closing thoughts.
First, this was my first mock draft, and I tried to compensate for where the player is ranked at his position keeping in mind what round I picked him in.
It'll be interesting to see if I even get a few right. That's the fun in these things, though. Obviously Holmgren will pick better candidates if they are there.
Second, as much as I love—and I've commented on other people's drafts about this—the idea of drafting Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley, I still can't help but love the idea of Tim Tebow wearing Cleveland brown and orange.
Tebow is a great athlete, a hard worker, and a leader I would want on my team, but I believe the same to be true about Colt McCoy. I'm really excited to see what quarterback Cleveland drafts in a few weeks.
Third, four offensive players and six defensive players were picked in this mock draft. That will undoubtedly not be the case come draft day. I would guess Holmgren has in mind a few guys that he specifically wants, and what Holmgren wants, he will get.
As many others have said, there will probably be a trade or two so that Holmgren's hunger for premier talent is satisfied.
Fourth, speaking of trades, the Browns could easily trade down from the seventh pick, nab a couple other picks and still manage to get Earl Thomas. In a draft that is this deep and talented, that could prove to be well worth it.
Maybe if they could get another second somehow, they could get someone like Sergio Kindle at inside linebacker. Regardless, the more help, the better. Cleveland Browns: Trade down!
Fifth, I kept wanting to change a few picks (Anthony McCoy, move certain people up/down) but decided to leave it as is. I could probably keep changing my mind on picks until kingdom come.
Finally, thanks for reading this mock draft. It was fun looking through the players and trying to find a good fit for the Browns.
If you haven't done a mock draft yourself, I would highly suggest taking the time to sit down and do it. You can learn a lot about the players in this year's draft, not to mention some of the conflicts between needs and wants (i.e. Tebow).
As an Ohio State guy, I really wanted to draft Thaddeus Gibson and Kurt Coleman, but I chose to take a more realistic approach with the picks that Cleveland has.
Thanks again for reading!