For the fourth time in the last five years, the Cleveland Browns will have a top-10 pick in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft.
One would think with so many top picks the last few seasons, Cleveland would be on the verge of something special fairly soon. While this hasn't exactly come to fruition as quickly as many Browns fans had hoped, they would definitely be the first to tell you, Cleveland is not far off.
The 2011 NFL Draft will not only prove to be yet another key step forward for the Browns, but for President Mike Holmgren as well, who will be entering his second season with the team next year.
For both Holmgren and Browns General Manager Tom Heckert, the 2010 NFL Draft proved to be pretty successful by season's end, as their first three picks in cornerback Joe Haden, safety T.J. Ward, and quarterback Colt McCoy not only had significant roles with the team, but were very successful at times given an opportunity. All three players will also more than likely claim starting roles at the outset next season.
In order for Cleveland to move one step closer to the promised land though, the Browns will need to try and repeat some of the similar success they had at times this past season. This starts and ends on draft day, where making the right selections based on scouting reports and player evaluations will prove to be the backbone and key to winning in the NFL for many years to come.
The Browns currently hold the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Sure, they will more than likely end up with a legitimate player if they stay at six and make their first round selection. But should the Browns consider trading the sixth pick? Should they move down? Or maybe even move up?
Recent mock drafts have Cleveland taking anyone from Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers to University of North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn to even University of Georgia standout wide receiver A.J. Green with the No. 6 pick.
In some mock drafts though, Green has been projected to be taken higher than the sixth pick, going in many cases at No. 4 to the Cincinnati Bengals. With Cleveland in desperate need of a No. 1 receiver, would the Browns be open to trade up for the highly touted player?
To some, a move like this would definitely be the wrong road to take, as visions of Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow are still heavily embedded in the minds of many Browns fans. To others though, drafting Green would not only mean Cleveland would finally have a legitimate No. 1 receiver, but would also create what could be a great McCoy-to-Green combo.
The same has to be said with the defensive side of the ball. Like Green, many mock drafts have Bowers being drafted before the Browns pick with the sixth selection. Both Bowers or Quinn would be substantial additions to the team, but if the Browns could get the Clemson standout in Bowers, would they trade up for him?
This is definitely something Browns fans should keep an eye on as we inch closer to the start of the 2011 NFL Draft beginning April 28.
Now, let's just hope there isn't lockout—making this undoubtedly an entire different story.