The Cleveland Browns will finally end months of speculation tomorrow evening when Rodger Goodell comes to the podium and announces the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Cleveland has been surrounded with uncertainty while trying to place together a big board that can help the Browns build for the present as well as the future. Patrick Peterson is the player that can make an impact early but be a franchise player for years to come.
Peterson is the type of player that can help Cleveland solidify a key defensive position and finally help the Browns climb their way back to the top of the AFC North. The Browns spent their first-round pick in 2010 on Joe Haden from the University of Florida. With the potential addition of Peterson, Cleveland could easily become one of the more powerful secondaries in all of football and finally provide some type of answers against some of the elite quarterbacks of the AFC North.
Cleveland is familiar with the type of success that can come from having two elite corners on the field. When the Browns were at their best in the second half of the 1980s, Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield roamed the backfield and became simply relentless against opposing offenses. Dixon and Minnifield combined for eight interceptions and four fumble recoveries in the 1986 season, helping the Browns to a 12-4 regular season record.
Peterson would become an immediate starter on the Browns defense and may even become a weapon in the special teams game if Josh Cribbs fails to return to his Pro Bowl form in the return game. Peterson returned 38 punts in 2010 for over 400 yards and 2 touchdowns. In addition to his return statistics, Peterson led LSU's defense with over 100 tackles and seven interceptions over the course of his career.
With the addition of Peterson to the secondary, Cleveland will likely have some new found trade value in the form of Sheldon Brown or Eric Wright. Brown was a large piece towards helping Cleveland come back into football relevance in 2010. However, Wright had a very poor season and even received death threats from some fans as a result of his poor play on the field.
The Browns' draft plans will depend on what happens with the first five picks that come before their selection at No. 6. The first round can be seen on the NFL Network as well as ESPN beginning at 8 p.m. ET.