Okay. I'm excited for the draft. With just under a month to go, most pro days done and private workouts in full bloom, this is one of my favorite parts of the year.
As nothing coming out of any GM, coach or team president's mouth around this time is going to be open and honest, all anyone can do is speculate.
What's fascinating about the Browns, however, is the sheer number of options open to them.
I realize this is about the 900th article I've written on the draft; I need to let out some of this untamed exhilaration or I may very well end up popping a blood vessel or something.
So, without further introduction, I give you my thoughts:
With the exception of Patrick Peterson, Bowers is by far the most talented player that may fall to the Browns on draft day. He fills the greatest need on the team right now, as the Browns could not field a defensive line if the season started today.
Bowers would instantly give the defense an identity. While he doesn't have the greatest first step, he relies on his wonderful bull-rush and terrific hands to get the job done. And boy it is effective. He has enough strength to literally push a offensive tackle into the backfield with one hand, shed the block and make a play.
While some may consider Bowers a "one-year wonder," I would tend to disagree on two accounts.
First of all, before his junior season he was known as a run stopper, which has merit to it. Second, and more importantly, Bowers has gotten better in every statistical category in every season he played at Clemson.
While his 15.5 sacks last season may have seemingly "come out of thin air" this can be attributed to his increased work ethic due to the death of his mentor (Gaines Adams) and his father. He wanted to prove this season, that, if motivated he was capable of being a playmaker. I think he did a good job.
Also, it was not so long ago that Bowers was the top high school recruit in the country. Bowers may have had to adjust to the skill and pacing of the college game.
Most reliable NFL scouts are saying that without big bodies in the middle to take some heat off of him, Bowers will not be effective in the NFL, which leads me to my next pick...
Marvin Austin, without a doubt, would've been a top-10 pick in this years draft had it not been for his off-the-field troubles.
Austin was suspended for the entire 2010 season and as a result, wasn't able to prove that he had refined his technique and consistency. However, many scouts are simply raving about this guy's athletic ability, and with good reason.
With his huge body, Austin has no problem putting good inside pressure on the quarterback and some have even credited him with the success of North Carolina teammate Robert Quinn. Austin is expected to be a low first round to early second round pick, attitude problems and all; that should tell you something about his perceived value.
The only real negative is that it appears he will be drafted more on potential than production. He is said to be too reliant on his athletic talent and doesn't always get low enough. However, with a little coaching and in the right environment, Austin could thrive.
Cleveland could provide both that coaching and environment, and I think Cleveland could benefit from having him here.
What a surprise, another Tar Heel!
Greg Little is another guy that was suspended for all of 2010 in the now infamous "North Carolina Agent Scandal."
While one could put that mark on his record, his skills can speak for themselves. Now before anyone complains about this pick, please go to YouTube and watch a highlight tape. After that, take a deep breath and continue reading.
Little is a guy that has great ball control. He saw a little time as a tailback his freshman year, and if you watch him after the catch it should be evident why. He has a very good spin move to get out of tackles, and is very good at keeping his legs churning after the initial contact.
He also has very good, solid hands. He can pluck balls, seemingly out of his range, and has the strength to be a very good blocker at the line.
For all of his athleticism, however, he has a problem with route running. Many scouting reports are saying that he "rounds off his routes" and the other knock is that he "lets far too may passes hit him in the numbers resulting in a fair amount of drops."
I think Little needs to mature a little more as a route runner and needs to prove that he's willing to catch the balls that are thrown his way, but in terms of athletic talent, there's not many guys that are better than Greg Little.
Like many of the guys in this mock draft, Greg Romeus has the potential to far outplay his draft position. Romeus was widely considered a Freshman All-American after a season where he turned 41 tackles (11.5 for loss) and four sacks in 12 games, none of which he started.
If that wasn't impressive enough, in the next two seasons Romeus would go on to round up 93 tackles (27 for loss) and 13.5 sacks. Both his sophomore and junior seasons, he received 2nd All-Big East Team Honors.
Romeus is of ideal size, weight and ability to play 4-3 end. He has a solid (not great) first step and very sound technique. I don't think anyone can question his motor and play-making abilities just based on his stats. His tape as well, is very hard to criticize. He is a solid rusher with very little to complain about.
His only weakness is his limited injury history that hampered his entire 2010 season. After missing most of the preseason and eventually the early regular season with back spasms and private family matters, Romeus decided to surgically fix his back.
After his return looked positive towards the middle season, he tore his ACL and did not play for the rest of the season. While he is still working out his knee problems, most are saying that his injury is not all that serious.
Still, taking a risk on a guy this talented is well worth it. He could be the perfect compliment for Bowers for years to come. He could have very well been in the position of teammate Jabaal Sheard had it not been for his injury.
Derek Newton is widely considered one of the biggest steals in this year's draft. He has very good speed (5.06 second 40-time) and is 6'5", 310 lbs.
He reportedly has a very quick first step and long arms. The important part of this pick is that Newton would have time to develop behind Tony Pashos, provided he is healthy.
I think Newton has a very good chance to solidify the line, but he could use a little coaching and experience. He will be able to do this, and there is nothing wrong with having offensive line depth.
The FO is apparently very high on Tony Pashos currently, and think just about anyone they draft or get in free agency will be for depth and not for a starter.
While many of the fans in this community will complain that the woes at right tackle need to be taken care of right now, I agree with the FO. Pashos is more than able to help us, he just needs to stay healthy. That doesn't mean we should put our faith entirely in Pashos and having Newton for depth makes me a little more optimistic.
Another Tar Heel!? This may be the best draft Butch Davis has ever had for the Browns (am I right??)
I know, I know bare with me here. Yates is actually a very good prospect. If Holmgren is serious about taking a developmental quarterback, then Yates really ought to be the choice. He's far from the next Tom Brady, but he has the potential to be a pretty good signal caller in this league, and in the sixth round, Heckert could definitely do worse.
For starters, Yates is just about the right size for an NFL quarterback at 6'4", 221lbs. He has an impeccable sense of how a plays developing and is able to move around the pocket to avoid pressure. His arm strength is about average, and many have questioned his athleticism, and rightfully so. Yates has never been known for his ability to scramble but he's more the able to work with what an NFL defense gives him.
Despite his average arm strength, he throws a very pretty deep ball. He's not Brett Favre but it has just enough accuracy to make it work. Speaking of accuracy, he's been steadily progressing this year in terms of his accuracy. In his senior season, Yates boasted a nearly a 60 percent pass completion rating.
Another area where Yates has been improving steadily is in the decision-making department.
This season, Yates emerged as a leader on a North Carolina team that struggled and was the subject of much controversy. However, because of his lack of elite arm strength, size or athleticism it makes him a developmental quarterback that could be molded into a very solid backup.
Getting a guy like Yates would allow us to finally be rid of Jake Delhomme, should the front office choose not to restructure his contract.
If Shurmur, Whipple, Holmgren and Haskell can't teach Yates to play the game, I'll have lost all faith in him.
I don't know why this guy isn't getting much attention from many people.
He seems like a very solid prospect. He has great athleticism, can keep up with most tight ends or bigger receivers. He's got good body movement, and has a knack for finding the ball on running downs. He is a very good option as a deep safety and is rather good in coverage.
He's not a guy that's going to wow anyone or be able to start right away, but he's got potential. He was on a team with 2010 Browns draft pick Larry Asante and should by all accounts be considered the better of the two.
As with all late round picks, there is some things that could use improvement.
Hagg is "late getting into position against the run and does not always diagnose plays in time," according to CBS Sports. They also went on to say that he sometimes falls for play-action and that occasionally he "does not get his head around in a hurry and often fails to break up the pass even when he is in position to do so."
Despite all of these characteristics, I think he'd be a nice late round guy, that has a good possibility of making the roster. I don't think he'll go into week one as the starter, but I think he's good enough to make the roster, especially considering we have a gaping hole at the free safety spot.
This guy has impressed many of the people in this community.
After his game against Ohio State, many people had high hopes for Harvey. There are plenty of things about Harvey that are less than desirable, however one thing that cannot be questioned is his drive.
It seemed like every defensive play in that OSU-Marshall game was made by Harvey.
He shows very good second-effort, and getting through traffic is no problem for him. He also is a very able blitzer, as witnessed by 20 total sacks at Marshall. He is very good at rush defense and has an extremely consistent motor.
Now comes the bad.
Harvey is a liability in pass coverage. For one, he isn't particularly fast. Secondly, he has limited range because of his height and overall stiffness in the hips. He doesn't consistently stick with his man and tends to over-pursue in an attempt to make plays.
Overall, Mario Harvey is an extremely raw, but very coachable player. I will more than likely not get very many complaints for this pick.