NFL Draft: Best Case Scenario for Cleveland Browns on Draft Day 2.0
Early March I wrote an article predicting two possible draft choices for the Browns, outlining each round of the upcoming draft that I thought would be the best possible pick for them on draft day. Well we're now a little over a week away from the draft and things have changed.
Ahead are two possible selections of what, in my opinion, would be the best pick for the Cleveland Browns football team going forward.
With the 6th Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select....
Option No. 1: Robert Quinn (DE)
Option No. 2: Julio Jones (WR)
When the 2010 football season ended and the draft season started I stated I wouldn't dare draft Robert Quinn if I were the Browns. It's safe to say I've done a complete 180. Robert Quinn, as everyone knows by now, was suspended last season for accepting improper benefits from an agent. Yet the season before Quinn had 19 tackles for loss with 11 sacks as a sophomore for the Tar Heels. Quinn has elite athleticism and would've been considered for the No. 1 overall pick had he played last season.
The Browns are switching from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 alignment under Dick Jauron. In a 3-4 the most important position on the defense is the linebackers but in a 4-3, it's the defensive lineman. This is a problem for the Browns because they have almost nothing at the position. The Browns absolutely cannot leave the draft without drafting someone to rush the quarterback.
So why not use their top pick on the position?
Quinn may be the best player in this draft class, and he happens to play the position of the Browns biggest need. I originally thought he wouldn't be worth the risk but now that I've had time to second guess myself, I've changed my mind. He has everything you look for in the position and, despite the suspension, is a high character guy. Browns GM Tom Heckert said to Cleveland media that he doesn't think the suspension is that big of a deal and wont affect him in the long run.
It also seems as if AJ Green will most certainly be gone and the Browns will definitely take the best player available on their board.
With the 37th Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select....
Option No. 1: Torrey Smith (WR)
Option No. 2: Stephen Paea (DT)
If the Browns drafted either of these guys in the second round I'd be fine with it. Torrey Smith could be the guy the Browns are targeting. He's a very high character guy who is the type of receiver Heckert usually drafts.
Smith is 6'1'' and 204 lbs and ran a 4.43 in the 40-yard-dash. He was also highly productive at Maryland with 67 receptions for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns his junior season. If the Browns don't get a chance at AJ Green and decide against Julio Jones in the first round, look for Torrey Smith to be targeted.
Stephen Paea is another intriguing option for the Browns.
As the roster stands right now the defensive line is a huge question mark. The only proven player on the line is DT Ahtyba Rubin. Although if the Browns land elite pass rushing prospect, Robert Quinn, and then draft Paea in the second round the defensive line could be turned to a strength.
Paea is considered, by most scouts, as a first round pick before a late knee injury that has affected him from working out during this draft process for teams. But you don't need to work him out to see that Paea is a force against the run and would be a great pair with Ahtyba Rubin on the defensive line.
With the 70th Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select...
Option No. 1: Titus Young (WR)
Option No. 2: Taiwan Jones (RB)
Running back is a position that must be addressed by the Browns in the middle rounds of this draft. The Browns will be looking for a speedy back who can catch passes to play on the field with Peyton Hillis if Montario Hardesty gets hurt again.
Jones is a small school player who lit it up at his pro day, running a 4.29 40-yard-dash. The Browns have met with him numerous times.
That being said, if the Browns go defense with the first two picks, Young will be the pick in the third round if he's available.
With the 101st Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select...
Option No. 1: Demarcus Van Dyke (CB)
Option No. 2: Jacquizz Rogers (RB)
Along with running back, cornerback is a position the Browns must draft in the middle rounds. They need a player who can compete with the aging Sheldon Browns and struggling Eric Wright to start across from Joe Haden. Van Dyke has great speed and potential to develop into a starter.
Jacquizz Rogers is another smaller scat back the Browns could be looking at.
With the 134th Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select...
Option No. 1: Marcus Gilbert (RT)
Option No. 2: Will Rackley (OG/RT)
Among a bunch of other needs the Browns still can't afford to avoid drafting an offensive lineman or two. They cut John St. Clair (finally) in the offseason, leaving Tony Pashos the only player at RT. Pashos performed well last year but is frequently injured.
Gilbert may not make it to this point, but Rackley has been worked out by the Browns.
With the 163rd Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select...
Option No. 1: Greg Romeus (DE)
Option No. 2: Pat Devlin (QB)
Greg Romeus is an absolute beast who had eight sacks, two force fumbles and an interception for the Pittsburgh Panthers. Oh wait, that was two years ago.
Unfortunately for Romeus, he spent the entire 2010-2011 season injured and only appeared in two games. Romeus has seen his stock fall drastically but is definitely worth drafting for the Browns this low at a position of such dire need.
Devlin is a small school quarterback who Holmgren could have his eye on since he stated the Browns WILL draft a quarterback.
With the 165th Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select...
Option No. 1: Ricky Stanzi (QB)
Option No. 2: Greg McElroy (QB)
I believe this is the spot the Browns will draft the quarterback Holmgren desires. Both of these guys are smart, west coast fitting type guys who have played in big programs and are used to pressure situations.
Stanzi, a local product, could garner some fan attention.
With the 248th Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns Select...
Option No. 1: Dane Sanzenbacher (WR)
Option No. 2: Brian Rolle (LB)
Let's be honest, we'd all love to see Dane Sanzenbacher in a Browns uniform next season. The Browns will undoubtedly take the best player on their board this late in the draft and, if Sanzenbacher is available, he has a good chance of being that guy.
Brian Rolle is actually somewhat of a likely scenerio. It definitely wouldn't hurt the Browns to add some linebacker depth, and Rolle was very productive in college. Rolles biggest problem is that he is undersized.
However, this late in the draft the Browns may take a flyer on him and give him a chance to earn the backup WLB spot and serve as insurance in case D'Qwell Jackson.
As I've stated before this is the most important draft for the Cleveland Browns since their return to the league.
Mike Holmgren has reconstructed the Browns organization into what seems is finally a capable franchise. They found a few great players with last years picks that helped improve the team but the record stayed the same. Another draft like last year (or better) could finally put the Browns into position to contend in their division.
It seems as if they have the quarterback capable of winning with Colt McCoy. And with offensive minded coach Pat Shurmur, the Browns should be able to use weapons such as Evan Moore, Ben Watson, Brian Robiskie, and Josh Cribbs in ways the previous regime never dreamed of.
If they can field an improved defense the 2011-2012 Cleveland Browns should be much more impressive. There are many ways to decipher which direction the Browns should go in the draft and this is my opinion.
Let the debate begin!