2011 NFL Draft: 3 Names the Cleveland Browns Should Get to Know
In approximately 10 days, Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert and company are going to be gathered around a table in the war room at the Berea Headquarters for the 2011 NFL Draft.
The subject: What to do with the No. 6 pick?
This year's draft is going to be much different than any draft, possibly ever. Let's get the particulars out of the way.
First, teams cannot trade players for picks due to the lockout. The labor dispute has drastically changed the landscape and the behind-the-scenes goings-on of negotiations and trades.
Second, because of the lockout, 2012 draft picks are meaningless. Therefore, teams cannot and will not be trading for future picks.
Third, teams must strategize their draft priorities, including the looming cloud of free agency, because they may lose restricted free agents based on the four-year or six-year restricted period. So do teams go for a current need, best player or a possible need once the lockout ends? All very intriguing.
The Pats stockpiled 12 picks for this year. Would they move up to No. 6 if they feel a guy in the top 10 could catapult them to the Super Bowl? Maybe. If the Pats did trade up with the Browns, the most likely scenario would include their 17th and top pick in the second round and either their first or second third-round pick.
Assuming the Browns do use their pick at No. 6 though, these are the three guys Cleveland needs to know about.
1. Patrick Peterson, CB (LSU)
Peterson is just over 6-feet tall and weighs in at a solid 219 pounds. At the combine, he ran an impressive 4.34 40-yard dash.
While at LSU, the former top overall defensive recruit made a name for himself shutting down receivers, and his special teams play enhanced his versatility. He only had seven career interceptions, mainly because quarterbacks did not throw his way. He shut down Alabama WR Julio Jones this past season, and he also managed two punt return TD's in 38 attempts, not to mention nearly 1,000 return yards on kickoffs.
A stout tackler, Peterson will also be a force in stopping the opposition's run game. He will be tested early and often at the next level, but he should prove a formidable adversary to any quarterback in the league.
2. Robert Quinn, DE (UNC)
Robert Quinn is a clean 6'5'' tall and a cut 265 pounds. At the combine he ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, ranking first among all defensive ends.
In his two seasons of playing at North Carolina, Quinn amassed 86 tackles and 13 sacks (11 came in his sophomore season). Most experts feel he would have easily duplicated those numbers had he been eligible to suit up for the Tar Heels in 2010.
Quinn is an ideal pass-rushing defensive end and is the type of player the Browns have lacked since their return in 1999. While the team has no legitimate threat to rush the passer, Quinn could be a force to be reckoned with in his rookie season.
3. A.J. Green, WR (Georgia)
Think about these numbers: 57 receptions, 848 yards and nine touchdowns.
Green put those numbers up in eight games after sitting out the first four of the season because he was ineligible.
Standing at 6'4'' and 211 pounds, Green runs like the wind with a 4.48 40. The downside, however, is his lack of muscular build. He tends to be a bit lanky and may find the sledding a little tougher in the NFL.
On the upside, he gets open, stretches any field he is on and catches everything thrown his way. He catches the football very naturally, and in the Orange and Brown, he would give Colt McCoy a bona fide receiving threat capable of doing damage with the ball in his hands. Defenses could no longer load the box against the run, and safeties would have to stay back to protect against the deep threat.
Perhaps this is the jolt of life the new offense needs.