NFL Draft 2011: Cleveland Browns Wheel and Deal, Then Select DT Phil Taylor
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Kudos to Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert for adding four draft picks—including a 2012 first-rounder—by swapping with the Atlanta Falcons and letting them move up 21 spaces to the No. 6 spot in the 2011 NFL draft.
The first trade of the day seems to be a win-win for both the Browns and Falcons. Atlanta, a team that’s a key player or two away from a Super Bowl appearance, got one of the receivers it coveted in Alabama’s Julio Jones.
The Browns, who have several holes to fill on both sides of the ball, moved from No. 6 overall to No. 27, but also received second- and fourth-round picks in 2011 and first- and fourth-round selections in 2012.
For those of you counting, that’s a 5-for-1 swap.
As brilliant as Cleveland’s first move was, the Browns’ second trade of the first round left many fans scratching their heads.
The Browns gave the Kansas City Chiefs their third-round pick for the right to move up six places to the No. 21 slot. With that selection, the Browns tabbed mammoth Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor (6'2", 335 pounds).
There was an excellent chance that Taylor would have been available with the No. 27 pick, especially since there's been talk that he suffers from a chronic foot injury that will not respond to treatment.
If that be the case, the Browns may have given up the No. 70 pick of the draft for no reason whatsoever.
Taylor is a super-sized Happy Meal away from being too large to be effective. Add a chronic foot problem to that scenario and you can understand the cause for concern.
If Taylor can play to his potential, he will be the perfect replacement for Shaun Rogers at DT and will make a formidable force playing next to tackle Ahtyba Rubin. Last year, Taylor was credited with 62 tackles, with seven occurring behind the line of scrimmage.
With the Browns converting to a 4-3 this year, there is a desperate need to add quality stoppers to their decimated D-line.
The Browns still have plenty of draft choices left in the next two years to use in their effort to become a playoff contender once again. Let’s hope their gamble with Taylor will not be one Browns fans come to regret.
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