2011 NFL Mock Draft: Cleveland Browns, September Panic Edition
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It's all good here in September. The fans are just sitting back, having some fun watching the Browns get their season started.
Who am I kidding?
Full panic already has engulfed the Cleveland Browns fan base after the Browns second half collapse against a very beatable Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.
Watching the players let the idea of losing invade their psyche while the coaching staff reverted to its 2009 vanilla form already has many fans scanning mock draft boards to see who might be the Browns victim, I mean draft pick, next April.
So here's a look at what the Cleveland Browns draft board could look like.
Where Will The Browns Draft?
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The big question is where the Browns will end up drafting next April.
Going strictly by what we saw this past Sunday, and doing some guesstimating, the top five spots probably are going to be fought over by the Browns, Lions, Bills, 49ers and Rams.
I'm going to arbitrarily give the Browns the third overall pick in the draft with a projected record of 4-12.
The 4-12 record comes from not being able to find as many wins in the schedule as my earlier 7-9 prediction that included a victory in Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Tampa is lost and Kansas City now isn't looking too good either.
So we'll go with four wins and the third spot in the draft.
Who WON'T The Browns Take
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Now we think we know where the Browns are going to draft, now we have to look at which players are going to be available and who the Browns may end up targeting.
At the third spot, only two guys are off the board, but if one of them is Jake Locker to the Buffalo Bills, then it doesn't really matter.
Colt McCoy will be given at least one year to prove his worth by Team President Mike Holmgren, no matter who is coaching the team. If the Browns finish 3-13, it won't be Eric Mangini.
Any quarterback that might be drafted by the Browns will be late in the draft and added purely to try and add depth to the position.
With Their First Pick, The Browns Take . . .
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The Browns will use their first pick on Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
The Browns pass rushing isn't exactly elite and none of their ends are getting any younger.
While the Browns also have big needs at wide receiver and the right side of their offensive line, both of those needs can be addressed later in the draft.
Clayborn gives the Browns a potential elite pass rusher and game changer on defense. Along with Joe Haden and T.J. Ward, the Browns defense will take giant leaps toward becoming one of the more feared defensive units in the league.
With The Browns Second Pick . . .
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In the second round, the Browns find Jason Pinkston still is on the board and jump all over him.
Pinkston already is being projected well, but falls to the second round due to the amount of defensive talent and wide receivers projected to go in the first round.
It's too early to nail any pick like this down, but this is the assumption we'll go with today.
Pinkston is a 6'5", 273 lb. monster out of Pittsburgh. His 40 time is listed at 4.9 seconds on Yahoo! Sports.
That's a great time for a guy that big, so between his size and quickness, he's got the attributes you want in an offensive lineman.
For Their Second Pick In The Second Round . . .
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The Browns have what is projected to be the 59th overall pick in the draft from Dallas via Philadelphia through a trade.
With that pick, the Browns could go one of two ways, fill a need at wide receiver, or go for more depth on the defensive line.
Most people will say right now the Browns need more weapons on offense, i.e., wide receivers, so we'll assume logic prevails and the Browns take Austin Pettis, assuming he's still available.
Pettis is 6'3", 203 lbs., and catches touchdown passes.
Catching touchdown passes is a skill set the Browns are sorely in need of.
The Third Round Part One, James Carpenter Out Of Alabama
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You just can't have enough depth at offensive line. The Browns were excited to get Shaun Lauavao this past offseason, and he looked ready to start Week 1, but then sprained his ankle last Wednesday in practice.
While that won't keep him out for too long, the Browns were back with Floyd Womack and John St. Clair on the right side, meaning there was no real right side of the offensive line last week.
Taking the 6'5", 300 lb. lineman out of Alabama gives the Browns a little more youth and depth on the offensive line.
Third Round Part Two, Pierre Allen From Nebraska
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Continuing with depth and need combined, the Browns use their second third-round pick to take defensive end Pierre Allen out of Nebraska.
While Allen isn't a monster, he's quick, his last 40-yard dash being clocked at 4.6.
This would be a solid pickup in the third round.
Colby Whitlock Goes To The Browns In The Fifth Round
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Colby Whitlock is a defensive tackle who could fill a couple different roles on the Browns.
Now that we're down in the fifth round, experiments can be made, and teams just are looking for good prospects who might develop better than projected.
The Sixth Round
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With their two sixth-round picks, the Browns could add another wide receiver like Greg Salas, who's shown good skills with Hawaii.
For their last pick, I see trying to add depth at Center since there's no real designated backup for Alex Mack on the line.
Kevin Kowalski out of Toledo is a guy who could sneak in and make an NFL roster.
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This mock draft obviously is very early in the process and will change significantly as the year progresses.
For example, if Montario Hardesty does not progress as well in the rehab process as the Browns would like, then the Browns might use one of their first three picks on a running back.
Depending on how T.J. Ward and Joe Haden develop, their could be additional picks for the secondary as well.
We haven't even begun to go through the possible trades before the deadline in addition to late season waiver wire pickups and the free agency period before the draft.
That's assuming, of course, there is no lockout next year.