2011 NFL Draft Grades: Report Card for the Cleveland Browns Round 2
The Browns took Pitt DE Jabaal Sheard with the fifth pick in the second round, addressing a position where they had serious needs.
They followed that up by taking WR Greg Little (who I predicted they would take in the third in my mock draft) with the 27th pick in the second round (acquired from Atlanta yesterday).
Tom Heckert appears to have made two very solid picks here, filling in a problem area on both offense and defense.
Let's take a look at each one in depth and then hand out grades for round two!
DE Jabaal Sheard
First, it's important to note that the Browns were correct just in general in going with a DE with their first pick in the second round.
There was plenty of talent on the board at the position, it's probably the spot where their needs were the greatest, and it also appeared that a lot of the DEs there at No. 5 wouldn't have made it to No. 27.
Sheard, I'll admit, was not my top choice there. Brooks Reed was my top guy, followed by Sam Acho. but I think the Sheard pick is solid. No complaints here.
Sheard is as tough as can be, and should do well as a speedy edge rusher, something Tom Heckert is known to look for. He has excellent upper body strength and is relentless in his pursuit of opposing blockers.
The downside: Sheard sometimes gets confused by offenses that employ a lot of misdirection, and like first round pick Phil Taylor, has some character issues attached to him from an assault charge.
Overall, it's a very solid pick for the Browns and gives them an immediate impact player at DE who could start in 2011.
WR Greg Little
In my mock draft, I had Tar Heels' WR Greg Little as the Browns pick at the beginning of the third round.
Having traded away their third round pick and picked up a late second-round pick, it makes a lot of sense that they grabbed Little with the 27th pick of Round 2.
I really like this pick—the Browns get a new No. 1 receiver in Little, and they didn't have to burn a first round pick to do it.
Many think Little actually had first-round talent, but fell due to character concerns. While that's a little disturbing when you consider that all three players picked by the Browns so far have a character flag attached to them, Little is probably the least worrisome of the three.
No assault charges here, just issues with improper agent contact. Not good, certainly, but also not a reason not to draft someone.
The biggest strength for Little, in my opinion, is his excellent ability to gain yardage after a catch. This is something the Browns have struggled mightily with in using their current receiving corps, so Little is a huge boost in that area alone. He has excellent speed for his size and gets separation quickly.
On the downside, Little was suspended in 2010 for the agent contact issues, making his talent harder to evaluate given the missing year. He also doesn't have a lot of experience running sideline routes, which could be a problem in the Browns' new West Coast Offense.
Some have questioned his route-running ability because he spent two seasons at North Carolina as a running back, but there's an upside to that too: you have to assume this makes him a good blocker, as wide receivers go.
As was the case yesterday in the first round, we have to evaluate two separate moves in order to issue the Browns a grade for Round 2.
First, the Sheard pick: "Good but not great" doesn't quite do it justice, so let's call this one "great but not awesome". The Browns could have had Brooks Reed at this spot and they passed, which I think was a mistake.
Still, that doesn't mean Sheard wasn't a good choice. It addresses the same need (DE) and Sheard was certainly on my shortlist of possible good picks at this slot for the Browns at the DE position. I'll give this one a B+.
As for the Greg Little pick: Well, I love this one. I would have preferred Torrey Smith, but he was snatched out from under the Browns by Baltimore with the pick immediately before theirs. The difference between the two wasn't worth a trade up, so the Browns were smart to stay put and go with Little.
He'll be a huge difference maker on offense, and given that he may have been first round talent who fell because of character concerns, he's a steal at the end of the second as long as he stays out of trouble. in my book, this one gets an A-.
Overall, this was a great round for the Browns, solidifying both their offense and defense by filling major needs on both sides of the ball. Overall second round grade for the Browns: A-.