NFL Draft 2011: Cleveland Browns Look at Best Player Available vs. Team Needs

Joe HunleyContributor IFebruary 17, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 13: Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches play against the Mississippi State Bulldogs November 13, 2010 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

With the release of Shaun Rogers and Kenyon Coleman, one can expect the primary focus of the Cleveland Browns in the 2011 NFL draft to be improvements to the defensive line.

Numerous sports analysts are projecting the Browns will concentrate on the defensive line, while others believe the Browns will take the best player available regardless of position.

Those believing the Browns should take the best player available are listing receiver A.J. Green, while those believing that the Browns will seek improvements to the defensive line are listing Nick Fairley of Auburn.

Many believe neither of these players will be available when the Browns step up to the plate.

Believing that due to the needs on the defensive line, among many others, I expect the Browns to pick a receiver in the later rounds; however, I find the "needs versus best player" train of thought to be interesting.

In the "needs" department, with believing that Nick Fairley will not be available, Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle from Alabama would be a good choice.

Dareus is 6'2" weighing in at 309 pounds, who considered by many to be the draft's No. 2 defensive tackle.

Scouting reports are quick to state that he will likely be an early first round selection, claiming Dareus to be one of the finest prospects.

He is a disruptive player against the run and the pass, sheds blockers quickly and has the power necessary to push the pocket. He is very quick and capable of dropping into coverage.

When Alabama defeated Texas in the 2010 BCS title game, Dareus was the defensive MVP. The downside to Dareus is that many question his stamina and endurance.

So much for the needs department; on to the "best player available" section.

Patrick Peterson, cornerback from LSU will be taken quickly in the up-coming draft. Arguably the best shutdown corner in college football, he has been clocked as fast as 4.30 in the 40-yard dash.

Peterson is 6'1" and weighs 222 pounds, having incredible speed. He was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Peterson is very physical at the line of scrimmage and can match the best receivers, stride for stride. He has a high football IQ, great athletic ability and excellent top end speed.

In the past, Peterson has covered two of the highly recruited receivers in the upcoming draft, holding Alabama's Julio Jones to three catches and Georgia's A.J. Green to four catches.

I have used Dareus as an example of a need and Peterson as the possible best player available—what are your thoughts?

Do the Browns use their first pick to fill the needs of the defense line or do the Browns pick "the best player available" regardless of position?