2011 Cleveland Browns Preview: Phil Taylor and Other Rookie Predictions
It is a bit premature to already be talking about the 2012 NFL draft. So we must take this precious time before the season starts to look back again on the Browns 2011 NFL draft choices.
The second year of the Holmgren and Heckert draft team was quite similar to the previous year’s draft. They used their first two picks on instant-impact players who play within the same defensive unit.
Last year’s combination of Haden and Ward make many people believe that the Browns secondary could quickly become one of the best in the NFL.
This year’s top picks, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard, are expected to contribute right away along with some of the other Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL draft picks.
Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft: Phil Taylor
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DT Phil Taylor 6’4’’ 355 lbs.
Round Drafted: First (21)
Phil Taylor is a pure nose tackle that will instantly become the Browns best run stuffer.
It may take him a little bit of time to develop some pass rushing moves but his strength should immediately help him become a force within the AFC north for years to come (barring any serious injuries).
With the Browns already having Ahytba Rubin at defensive tackle, the middle of the defensive line could possibly grow into the backbone of the Browns 4-3 defensive scheme.
The key for Taylor will be whether or not he can stay on the field for the entire game because of his enormous size and the aggressiveness he continuously plays with.
Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft: Jabaal Sheard
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DE Jabaal Sheard 6’3’’ 264 lbs.
Round Drafted: Second (5)
Many scouts believed Sheard's smaller size may have been the reason he dropped to the beginning of the second round.
But, with the recent success of smaller defensive ends; such as Dwight Freeney, John Abraham, and Trent Cole (drafted by the Eagles during Tom Heckert’s tenure as GM), drafting a smaller but gifted pass rusher made perfect sense for the Browns.
With the Browns implementing a new 4-3 defensive scheme, they needed someone who could come in and immediately get after the quarterback.
Sheard may not be the most athletically gifted defensive end but he sure does make up for it with a high football IQ and a couple of go-to pass rush moves.
He has a great chance to put up numbers similar to Kamerion Wimbley’s rookie season with the Browns.
Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft: Greg Little
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WR Greg Little 6’2’’ 231 lbs.
College: North Carolina
Round Drafted: Second (27)
Many teams stayed away from Greg Little during the draft because he was suspended the entire 2010 college football season.
Coincidentally, the Cleveland Browns were attracted to Little because he is quite the physical specimen and he is also familiar with the West Coast offense, which he played within during his time spent at the University of North Carolina.
By season's end, Little should emerge as McCoy’s No. 1 receiver due to how well they complement one another on the field.
McCoy is a short-to-intermediate passer that likes to hit his receivers in stride, while Little is someone who can use his size and strength to get off the line quickly to catch McCoy short accurate throws.
Expect Little to have several highlight-reel plays during his rookie season.
Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft: Jordan Cameron
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TE Jordan Cameron 6’5’’ 254 lbs.
College: University of Southern California
Round Drafted: Fourth (5)
Numerous analysts were surprised that Jordan Cameron was drafted by the Browns, who still have Ben Watson under contract (2010 Stats: 68 receptions, 763 yard, 3 touchdowns).
The truth is that, Jordan is an athletic freak that will immediately contribute in certain passing situation and special teams situations, such as the hands team.
However, the other side of that truth is that Jordan has only played the tight end position for a couple of years and had limited playing time while at USC.
Quite frankly, he is going to be a project but with Ben Watson getting up there in age, Jordan could see some sporadic playing time during the season.
Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft: Owen Marecic
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FB Owen Marecic 6’0’’ 248 lbs.
Round Drafted: Fourth (27)
Marecic’s instantaneous impact in the running game will allow many Browns fans to forget about Vickers. The understanding that Vickers is a great blocker is “duly noted,” but he is going to want top dollar, which the Browns will not pay him.
So, the drafting of a full-back was necessary for the Browns. Marecic was the most complete player, playing on both sides of the ball in college, and should help out right away on special teams and during the power running game.
He’s not going to get many carries but will become a fan favorite once Cleveland fans witness the tenacity with which Marecic plays the game.
Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft: Buster Skrine, Jason Pinkston and Eric Hagg
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DB Buster Skrine 5’10’’ 186 lbs.
Round Drafted: Fifth (6)
Skrine is extremely fast and could possibly be the fastest player on the team already. Probably will not see playing time early but has the chance to become a solid cornerback in nickel and dime situation.
The idea that playing at a smaller school will not hurt Skrine’s ability to play at NFL speed, but it will be the physicality of the game in which Skrine must get accustomed to.
OL Jason Pinkston 6’3’’ 317 lbs.
Round Drafted: Fifth (19)
Was anticipated to go earlier in the draft, but luckily fell to the Browns in the fifth round. Word is that he may be asked to move inside to add depth to the guard position.
Pinkston will only see the field if multiple injuries occur, but other than that, he is a long-shot to be a starter within his first year or two.
DB Eric Hagg 6’1’’ 206 lbs.
Round Drafted: Seventh (45)
The type of player that always seemed to be around the ball during his senior year at Nebraska. He does not have ideal speed but can make plays.
Hagg could possibly become a special team “ace” during his rookie year and receive consideration for more playing time during his second and third seasons.