According to several published reports, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Browns have apparently decided to only look at defensive players with their first pick in today's NFL draft.
If Tennessee safety Eric Berry, who is rumored to be their first choice, is off the board when the Browns select, then I think the following players are candidates to be chosen either with the seventh pick in NFL draft or later if the Browns trade down.
Jared Odrick (6'5" 305) Defensive Tackle/End Penn State
A sculpted athlete, Odrick lines up as a tackle in the 4-3 and is projected at end in the 3-4.
He has a body type similar to the Raiders Richard Seymour and displays good acceleration and burst for a man his size.
Odrick shows good instincts and anticipation, uses his hands well to shed blockers, remains balanced, and avoids cut blocks.
An excellent interior pass rusher, he had seven sacks in 2009.
Odrick would be an excellent fit for the Browns because of his versatility. He could back up Robaire Smith or Kenyon Coleman in 2010 and maybe even push to start if he picks up the 3-4 quickly enough.
Dan Williams (6'3" 315) Defensive Tackle Tennessee
Classic two gap space eating tackle who forces a double team on almost every play in college.
Williams is quick, athletic, and has excellent brute strength. He is an outstanding run defender, powerful tackler, solid bull rusher and has good instincts.
He is strictly a two down defensive tackle at this point of his development. One of the better pure nose tackle prospects in a while. He has a definite upside.
Selecting Williams would allow us to trade Shaun Rogers for a draft pick that may be used to help us move back into the second or first round for a quarterback.
Derrick Morgan (6'4 270) Defensive End Georgia Tech
The best all around defensive end in the draft combines power and athleticism to consistently make plays in the backfield.
He had 19 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks in 2009. He is a disciplined pass rusher who takes good angles and rarely takes himself out of a play.
He has a good initial burst off the line and is an underrated run defender.
A disciplined, productive technician who has a variety of pass rush moves. Ideally sized to play DE in the 4-3, he would likely have to convert to outside linebacker in the 3-4 the Browns play. He lacks coverage skills.
Earl Thomas (5'11" 203) Safety Texas
He is a physical, big hitter who can play either safety spot and many believe can play corner-back.
He ran a blazing 4.37 at his pro-day and there are rumors that he ran in the 4.2s.
Earl Thomas is a tough, physical, competitive, willing tackler who delivers big hits.
He has quick feet, great hands, fluid hips and is a good leaper who targets the ball at its high point.
His excellent football I.Q. translates into great awareness and anticipation.
He is blazing fast with a burst and is able to match up with almost anyone in coverage. This speed and athleticism leads many to believe he can also play corner-back at the NFL level.
He had 10 career interceptions and two touchdowns. He is an effective blitzer and a prototypical center fielder
The versatility to play either safety or corner-back would make Thomas ideal for the Browns as it would allow Sheldon Brown to move to safety.
Rolando McClain (6'4" 255) Middle Linebacker Alabama
McClain has ideal size, superb instincts, terrific strength and is agile with good body control.
He is a reliable tackler who can deliver big hits and is able to take on and shed blocks.
Considered to have the highest football IQ of any player at any position in the draft, he is a big hitter in pass defense.
He is hard to block when blitzing and he also has a knack for knowing when to blitz.
Not only is he a reliable tackler but he runs through ball carriers and rarely misses a tackler.
McClain would be a great addition to the Brown line-backing corp at one of the inside spots and along with Scott Fujita and Matt Roth would make the line-backing unit a strength.
Kyle Wilson (5'10" 186) Cornerback Boise State
Kyle Wilson is a multi-talented corner-back who is quick, agile, has fluid hips, closes in a hurry and has a burst to recover.
He is an outstanding athlete with excellent speed who is also tough and aggressive. He has terrific hands, good leaping ability, and solid ball skills.
Wilson is comfortable in either man or zone coverage and closes on the ball quickly. He had ten career interceptions and was also a dangerous return man.
Only an average tackler, Wilson is more quick than fast and is not overly aggressive in run support.
Kyle Wilson would make an excellent selection for the Browns if they had traded down into the late teens or early twenties.
They may, however, prefer Devin McCourty.
Devin McCourty (5'11" 193) Corner-back Rutgers
McCourty is an excellent athlete who has adequate size with great speed and closing burst. He has excellent feet, able to turn on a dime to cover, and displays nice instincts and awareness. A hard worker, he doesn't shy away from run support and is a reliable tackler.
McCourty was a four-year starter for the Broncos and scored five touchdowns and three on punt returns.
He is a true play-maker in the secondary and returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
I believe the Browns have McCourty rated ahead of Joe Haden, if they trade down into the late teens or early twenties, he will be their target.
He would make an excellent tandem with Eric Wright and give the Browns one of the best young sets of corners in the league while letting Sheldon Brown take his hard hitting style to free safety where he could be a monster.
Any one of these players projects to help the Browns in 2010. They all seem to have definite upsides and except for Morgan, they fit into Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense.
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