Have the Cleveland Browns Won Their Way Out of Eric Berry?

Gavin Andrews@@gavin_andrewsCorrespondent IIJanuary 9, 2010

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 31:  Eric Berry #14 of the Tennessee Volunteers motions on the field during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Neyland Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

After Week 13 of the NFL season, I believed we had a top three spot secure in the NFL Draft, and was already looking forward to having Eric Berry in a Cleveland Browns uniform. 

Four straight wins later, the Browns suddenly looked like a real football team, one capable of competing week in, and week out. 

Jerome Harrison lit a spark under the offense, and the defense started playing formidably, which leads me to believe we are just a few pieces, and a couple years away from contending in the AFC North.

However, with the good, comes the bad.  Four straight wins catapulted the Browns from one win, to five, and from picking second in the NFL Draft, to picking seventh.  Just about every mock draft I've seen lately has Berry going between second and sixth, with Berry occasionally slipping to the Browns at seventh. 

Let's take a look at who the teams in front of Cleveland would be looking at during the draft, barring any trade

I would consider trading Cleveland's first-rounder down for more picks if Berry doesn't slip, but for the article's sake, I will keep them at number seven.  I'll go up to the third round with Cleveland's draft.

St. Louis Rams 

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To me, this pick can go three ways: Suh, Clausen, or Bradford, the quarterback being whomever they like better.  I prefer Bradford, if he can show that he's fully healthy at the combine. 

Regardless, the Rams will go either Suh, or a quarterback in the first round.  Suh would look awfully good in that young defensive line the Rams have, and in front of Laurinaitis.  

If they went Suh, they would have to go quarterback in the second, where Jevan Snead, Colt McCoy, Dan Lefevour, Tony Pike, and Zac Robinson would be the top quarterbacks most likely to be around. 

I like Snead, McCoy, and Lefevour a lot, and if I was in charge of the pick, I would definitely take Suh, and go Snead or McCoy.

However, with rumors of Marc Bulger retiring, I think quarterback will be the direction they go in the first, whether it be Bradford or Clausen.

Detroit Lions

Detroit could very well take Berry, but with Suh on the board, they can't pass up the best player in the draft.  While I will be nervous the entire time Detroit is on the clock, if Suh is still around, I think it is a no-brainer pick for Detroit.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Once again, Tampa Bay makes me very nervous, and I think they could definitely use Berry in their secondary.  However, this article is not a mock draft, but rather the scenarios each team can take, showing how Berry can fall.  Gerald McCoy will be the pick if they don't go Berry.

Washington Redskins

New coach, new quarterback.  The Redskins don't make me nervous; they'll go either Russell Okung for their offensive line, or the best quarterback available, be it Bradford or Clausen. 

If Jason Campbell decides he's been treated poorly enough and leaves, the pick is obviously quarterback, but if he sticks around, Washington will protect him with a lineman.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City needs to protect Matt Cassel, so they will go with the best offensive lineman available, be it Okung, Bruce Campbell, or Anthony Davis.

Seattle Seahawks

Three teams make me nervous while they are on the clock: Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Seattle.  Seattle needs a replacement for Hasslebeck sooner or later, but they also need an offensive line, some pass rush help, and some talent in the secondary. 

Who will Pete Carroll want?  Derrick Morgan?  Joe Haden?  The best offensive lineman available?  Eric Berry?  If I'm Carroll, I go with the best offensive lineman available, to protect whoever will step in for Hasslebeck in the future.

Cleveland Browns

So there you have it.  That analysis was purely a way Berry could fall to Cleveland, but in all probability, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Seattle, or maybe even Kansas City will probably snatch Berry up.  So, if Berry is taken, how should Cleveland go about their draft?

With their first rounder, their options would be: the best offensive lineman available, Derrick Morgan, Joe Haden, Taylor Mays, the best quarterback available (although I sincerely hope that doesn't happen), or Dez Bryant.

I will eliminate the offensive lineman, quarterback, and Mays from the options, leaving the options of Morgan, Haden, and Bryant with the first pick.  Mays is freakishly athletic, and I wouldn't mind him in Cleveland's secondary, but his mental errors might take him out of the top ten.

As much as Morgan would help Cleveland's pass rush, and as good of a fit as he would be in a possible 4-3 defense, I'm not sure if he's the pick here. 

Ashtya Rubin and Shaun Rogers make a pretty good interior, and on the outside, Corey Williams, Kenyon Coleman, Robaire Smith, and possibly Alex Hall, Kamerion Wimbley, and David Veikune can rush the passer pretty well. 

I will explain how the defense would look with my draft scenarios later in the article.

A pass rusher can be chosen in the second or third round, so the other two possibilities, Haden and Bryant, are more likely.

Haden is a future shutdown corner, and an instant upgrade to Brandon McDonald/Hank Poteat/Mike Adams. 

Bryant, though, has been described as T.O. with better hands.  While I would enjoy Davone Bess or Steve Breaston in a Browns uniform more, if Cleveland can't sign either one, a wide receiver group of Massaquoi, Robiskie, and Bryant would be very nice as well.

So, while Berry is the obvious first rounder if he falls, the pick is really between Haden and Bryant. 

However, I keep going back to seeing that Cleveland already has Massaquoi, Robiskie, and Stuckey, with the possible signings of Kevin Walter, Bess, or Breaston looming.

The pick if Cleveland doesn't sign a receiver?  Bryant.  The pick if Cleveland signs a receiver?  Haden.

Cleveland's entire draft is affected by the drafting of Eric Berry, so there are a lot of possibilities with their picks.  For instance, if the Browns don't get Berry, Earl Thomas would be a no-brainer in the second if Thomas falls.  If he doesn't fall, Morgan Burnett is someone to look at if he declares.

In the third, they could then go with a pass rusher like Eric Norwood, then get my favorite pick in the draft: Myron Rolle. 

A 6'2" safety, he decided not to come back to Florida State his senior season, instead he became a Rhodes Scholar, studying at Oxford his entire senior season. 

However, he trained the entire time at Oxford, and dropped about 1.5 tenths of a second in his 40, getting into the best shape of his life. 

Rolle is my second pick in the third round for Cleveland, even if Berry is drafted.  If Berry is drafted, though, the second round pick, and the first pick in the third would be a little different. 

Cleveland would go with a sack specialist in the second, someone like Jerry Hughes, or grab another defensive lineman in someone like Jared Odrick, and then go with a corner like Kyle Wilson, or an inside linebacker like Darryl Washington or Micah Johnson.

The picks: Hughes and Wilson.

Okay, so how would Cleveland's defense look like, assuming they made the switch to the 4-3.

With Berry:

D Line: Hughes, Rogers, Rubin, and Corey Williams, with Robaire Smith, Kenyon Coleman, and Alex Hall taking in the rotation as well.

Linebackers: Wimbley, Jackson, Bowens, and Veikune, with Jason Trusnik, Kaluka Maiava, Marcus Bernard, and Eric Barton in the rotation.

Corners: Wright and Wilson, with Coye Francies, Brandon McDonald, and Mike Adams seeing time.

Safeties: I would love to see Pool resigned, and if he's healthy, he'd still be great in the starting lineup.  I'll go Pool and Berry, with Rolle and Elam backing them up.

Without Berry:

D Line: Rogers, Rubin, Norwood, and Williams, with Smith, Coleman, and Hall in the rotation.

Linebackers: Wimbley, Veikune, Jackson, and Bowens, with Maiava, Barton, Trusnik, and Bernard in the rotation.

Corners: Wright and Haden, with Francies, McDonald, and Mike Adams seeing time.

Safeties: Pool and Earl Thomas, with Rolle and Elam backing up.

You might've noticed the extreme lack of offense mentioned in this article.  I believe Quinn is our quarterback, and that we should draft a quarterback later in the draft in case Quinn doesn't work out. 

Jerome Harrison has won the running back job, and I believe James Davis can share the load with Harrison, forming a great one-two punch, along with Josh Cribbs getting some carries, and Chris Jennings backing them all up.

I love Evan Moore, and I believe he has won the tight end job next year.  Another year of maturity should get him up to speed.

As far as wide receivers go, I think we have a pretty good group already with Massaquoi, Robiskie, Stuckey, and Cribbs. 

However, I really want Davone Bess or Steve Breaston, with Kevin Walter being a third option.  One of those three added to this group would give Quinn a lot of options, and would help his development.

Any thoughts on this extremely long article?  I give you serious props if you read this entire article, and have considered all I have said before writing your comment.

I don't like all of these scenarios and "ifs" either, so if you are going to grill me on that, forget it.  If you are going to grill me, grill me on my choices, but think twice.

And so begins the Mike Holmgren era.