Alright, so with a new week comes a new outlook on the draft.
I really tried to make the best of the knowledge that there will be very few "safe" picks at No. 6. With Fairley, Bowers, Quinn, Amukamara, Green and Jones the only players that fit our scheme. There are others, of course that I'm not mentioning, but none that we couldn't get later in the first round.
This mock contains a trade down scenario, which I feel gives the Browns the best chances of getting at least one definite stud coming out of the first round.
Belichick has been stockpiling draft picks this season, there's little doubt about that. It's as if he's the only one in the NFL that saw this whole labor issue for what it was.
Regardless, I'm suggesting the Browns trade out of this spot. Although No. 17 overall is a little low to fall for our first pick of the draft, there will be some good players available at both of the first-round spots that we would be receiving for our No. 6.
This trade makes sense for both sides as both of the picks New England would have to trade have an estimated value of 1610 and the Browns No. 6 overall pick is worth 1600.
The Browns have needs greater than Green or Jones and the Patriots really want A.J. Green who could fill the hole caused by the jettison of Randy Moss.
I know this guys a diva. I know that we have bigger needs than corner. I know that J.J. Watt may still be on the board at this point.
I tried to think about this logically. Holmgren himself, possibly in an attempt to hide his true intentions, stated that CB is definitely one of the teams needs. In fact, Holmgren has stated that corner is the second most important team need, behind defensive end of course.
With that I've concluded that Jimmy Smith may be just the guy the Browns secondary really needs. In the 4-3 defense, a prototypical corner is elite in his man-coverage and is a press guy. Jimmy Smith matches both of those direct needs. He has a bit of an attitude, but Heckert has already stated that he wouldn't mind taking players with a bit of a questionable attitude.
If you take out Smith's lack of enthusiasm to contribute on running downs and his off-the-field antics, you have a truly great corner prospect. We'd be able to snatch him up before both Baltimore and Philadelphia, who both seem to be itching at the chance to grab a guy like Smith.
If you watch any film on this guy, be sure to watch his air tight coverage and the way that he's able to stay with his man.
He's not going to be the guy that has the most tackles on his team, and he's not supposed to. What Smith would contribute, however, is the ability to lock down a offenses top receiver.
Drafting Smith would also allow the Browns to move Sheldon Brown to free safety which would eliminate another team need. Eric Wright, of course, would be able to contribute as the nickel corner.
This pick is for those of you that think the Browns really missed the boat with Clay Matthews. He plays like a Matthews, he certainly looks like a Matthews, but alas he does not come from the Matthews family.
Casey Matthews is not going to be be anywhere near as productive as his brother. Casey may make a serviceable linebacker somewhere, however, Reed would give the Browns a truly terrifying pass rusher off the edge.
At 6' 3", and 265 lbs, Brooks Reed plays slightly lighter than Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers or North Carolina pass rusher Robert Quinn, but he's not lacking in the talent department. While he played OLB at Arizona, he is more than capable of being a presence on the edge in a 4-3 defense.
He's very raw, to say the least, but his arsenal of incredible balance (he rarely hits the ground, if at all) speed (faster 10-yard split and 3 cone drill than both Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers) and strength (30 total bench reps, higher than both Quinn and Bowers at 22) makes him a late first-round guy with the potential to have an even better NFL career that either of those two guys.
However, because he is so raw, there is going to be some growing pains. Reed is going to have to be in the league a few years before he reaches to his full potential, similar to Clay Matthews when he was drafted.
However, there's little doubt he'd be working with two very experienced defensive minds in Dick Jauron and Ray Rhodes, and what we can only hope is a very good defensive line coach. This guy could easily put the mean in the defense, and Lord knows we need it.
Marvin Austin may be the best defensive lineman in this year's draft.
There, I said it. It felt good to let it all out. He's arguably the most athletic of the defensive tackles in the draft (40-yard dash time of 4.84 with a 1.64 10-yard split). The thing Austin will bring is a strong inside presence that will demand double teams. He's so big and quick, however, that blocking him will be a nightmare for any team that tries to do so.
Pair this guy with a guy like Ahtyba Rubin, who on occasion can be just as disruptive, and you'd be making quarterbacks feeling pressure in the pocket every time he drops back. Austin may look a little chunky, but is just over 300 lbs, which is about where you want a defensive tackle, and there's plenty of room to add some muscle on this guy frame.
I see only good things in his future.
The Browns are going to need to find a middle linebacker. Whether it's in free agency or in the draft, it's definitely a team need. With questions about the effectiveness of Gocong in a 4-3 defense, and Mike Holmgren saying the Browns were going to build through the draft, I think taking a guy like Sheppard makes a lot of sense.
For one, the guy unquestionably has leadership skill. He was the captain of one of the best defenses in the country. He was also a three-year starter and has all the makings of a very good 4-3 MLB. Most scouts are saying that he will not transition very well into a 3-4 ILB, so he may be available later than this pick, but not much later.
There's really nothing this guy can't do at a very high level. He has good coverage skills, he has good sideline to sideline agility, and is a solid tackler (100 tackles in both 2009 and 2010). He's also a solid blitzer, and has some experience on the outside, and would be able to take over for D'Qwell Jackson, should an injury occur.
He's an excellent all around football player. He has the size and speed to play the NFL game, has both experience and leadership skills and is overall fundamentally sound.
He is looking to be one of the best overall linebacker prospects in the entire draft. If he's there, we shouldn't pass on him.
Romeus is kind of a can't miss for the Browns this season. He's possibly the steal of the draft. He's a three time All-Big East player. While injury seriously hampered his senior season, his productivity has been solid over his three healthy seasons at Pittsburgh.
He has to refine his technique a little more, but he has late first- to early second-round potential. Getting him in the fourth would be a steal for any team that needs a solid pass rusher, let alone a team like the Browns who have virtually no 4-3 ends.
The pick just makes sense.
Let's face it, Peyton Hillis can't do it alone. Don't get me wrong, Hillis is a monster, and he did significantly more for the Browns last season than any other offensive player. At the end of the season, however, it showed. We had rode the guy all the way through the season.
With virtually nobody waiting behind Hillis to be a change-of-pace or (God forbid) a backup running back on the roster that can be considered "reliable", finding such a back needs to be a priority. Hardesty is a very good tailback, but let's face it, he's one misstep or hard tackle away from riding the pine for another season.
This is where Lewis comes in. Where Hillis thrives on physicality and a brutal running style, Lewis relies more on lateral agility and quickness both in and out of his cuts. And while he doesn't have eye-popping straight-line speed, it's still above average.
Many are comparing Lewis to Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew. The similarities are certainly there. Both are effective receivers out of the backfield, both are undersized and have similar running styles. Also similar, they both are/were very underrated coming out of college.
Best case scenario for the Browns, and worst case scenario for fantasy football players is Dion Lewis would wear a defense down with his quick, agile running in the first half and Hillis would ram down an already gassed defense in the second half.
All I know is that Dion Lewis is a guy I want on my football team.
Sanzenbacher is the type of receiver who is often under-appreciated. He fits the mold of guys like Wes Welker, Dante Hall and Brandon Stokley who are elite slot options, and rack up the yards after the catch (YAC). These are attributes that are necessary for a successful WCO receiver.
He also needs to be able to catch a pass. Anybody that saw Sanzenbacher play this past season know that he can do just that. Throughout the season Sanzenbacher made some spectacular catches, and was the favorite of Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor.
He possesses a good set of hands, nice speed, and the ability to make plays after the catch. He will remind many of Avon Lake native, former Ohio State product, and current Indianapolis Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez.
Sanzenbacher is a guy that could easily become a threat in the redzone and would be able to put up solid numbers in the West Coast Offense. He is also quick to learn, and has a pretty solid vertical at 33.5 inches. His size and speed are more than adequate to accommodate his style of play and he can even fit some muscle on his athletic, albeit skinny frame.
There will be those of you that will complain that we absolutely NEED a right tackle (Mark!). However, Holmgren seems to be behind Tony Pashos, who has struggled with injury. While Pashos' injury history is a little concerning, we also have some depth should he fail to live up to his expectations.
Floyd Womack would be more than able to step in for an injured Pashos, but it might be smart to have another guy on the roster should it get any worse than that.
If this guy falls this far, he'd be a very solid pick option. While he needs a little refining of his technique, he is a very good offensive lineman and was a First Team All-USA Conference selection at right tackle. He's a big body who nobody expected a lot out of.
He showed up at UCF at 370 lbs and came to be the anchor of the offensive line. He was the teams most improved player over his four seasons there, and is a solid three year starter.
To be honest, I don't have a lot of knowledge or information on the guy, but I've heard mixed reviews of him. We need offensive line depth and he fulfills that.
While Reid, Pashos and Womack would be a temporary fix, the Browns will need to find a starter in middle of next years' draft. However, I am just not impressed with any of this seasons offensive tackle crop.
While Harvey's official position is inside linebacker he is severely undersized, and would be far more effective on the Will linebacker spot, where his athleticism and nose for the football would come in handy.
Harvey is a very athletic, but very raw football talent. He was flying around the field in his games against both West Virginia and Ohio State, where he proved he was by far the best defensive player on the Marshall roster.
Marshall has a knack for tackling, he can get to the ball carrier and takes good angles and gets into positions to make good tackles.
Harvey is also, unfortunately, a big liability in the passing game. He over-pursues plays, and he doesn't get very good reads on the quarterback. His rather small height and limited wingspan make him far less effective in covering tight ends and running backs.
He has plenty of bulk, and is much more quick than fast. He can diagnose the play quickly and find the ball-carrier. This guy will be a project, but he has all of the talents and size and speed to succeed, he just needs time to learn.