Cleveland Browns: 10 Prospects the Browns Must Target in the 2011 NFL Draft

Brian MurtaughAnalyst INovember 10, 2010

Cleveland Browns: 10 Prospects the Browns Must Target in the 2011 NFL Draft

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies carries the ball against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  Washington won 32-31.  (Photo by Stephen Dun
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Even though we are in the middle of what is turning out to be a very gratifying year for the Cleveland Browns, it is never too early to think about the state of the franchise and the direction that it could go after this season.

    This list is 10 possible, and realistic draft options for the Browns in 2011.

    This is not a round by round mock draft, just simply 10 players that could help the Browns and fall into their laps on draft day.

    Lets get started...

No.10: Curtis Brown, CB, Texas

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 5:  Curtis Brown #3 and Earl Thomas #12 of the Texas Longhorns celebrate breaking up a pass against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the third quarter at Cowboys Stadium on December 5, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martin
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Curtis Brown is a player that will more than likely still be on the board in the second and third rounds for Cleveland this year. Brown has shown the ability to develop into a strong shut down cornerback but will need a significant amount of grooming.

    Eric Wright has had a bit of a hard time this season when he is matched up against quality receivers as he was called upon to cover the slower tight ends of New England this past week. Having Brown along with Joe Haden and Wright could offer the final element that the Browns will need in their secondary in order to take it to the top.

    Curtis Browns’ one pitfall is that he has not shown the ability to make timely interceptions. This lack of ball hawking ability will ultimately be the reason why he falls in this years’ draft.

No 9: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

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    AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Defensive lineman Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates a play during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Nick Fairley is currently scouted at number one as the overall best defensive tackle in this years’ draft by So far this season, Fairley has accumulated 43 tackles, eight sacks, and one interception while leading Auburn to one of their best seasons in the schools’ history.

    The Browns could use the assistance of Fairley for one specific reason, Shaun Rogers. Rogers has been a disappointment again this season for the Browns and it is reasonable to think that he may not be in Cleveland much longer. If Rogers does happen to get dished, that would leave the work load on Athyba Rubin.

     Fairley would serve as a great backup for Rubin and would more than likely step into the Browns starting role during his first season if drafted.

No. 8: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Chris Todd #12 of the Auburn Tigers is sacked by Drake Nevis #92 of the Louisiana State University Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 24, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Drake Nevis is not a man that opposing offensive linemen like to see on Saturdays.

    Nevis is a player that displays much of the same qualities as Nick Fairley of Auburn, but in a younger version. The 21-year-old Nevis has been a staple of an LSU defense that has brought the program back to relevance in the last several seasons.

    Nevis would not fit into the Browns defensive scheme as quickly as a player like Fairley. Nevis will take more time to develop which will require the Browns to acquire another body at nose tackle or keep Shaun Rogers for another season.

No. 7: DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State

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    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 9:  DeVier Posey #8 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a pass against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    If one this is true when it comes to college players heading into the draft, if they are from OSU, they will be loved in Cleveland. DeVier Posey has been a great target on a Buckeye team that gains a lot of attention and support from scouts and players for the Browns.

    Posey has 40 receptions in 2010 and has managed to rope in five touchdowns along with 601 yards.

    Posey would be a receiver that Cleveland would not look for until the later rounds of the draft but will also bring significant noise when his name is called. The Browns would look to draft Posey only if the team had not addressed the WR needs earlier in the draft.

No. 6: Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Stanford Cardinal on October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    This is one of the more controversial draft pick options for the Cleveland Browns and it comes with good reason. Colt McCoy has now led the Browns to two of the biggest wins in the last several years and already talks have been floating that Cleveland may be looking in the direction of another quarterback.

    Locker is without a doubt a great talent at the college level but it is a wild card to believe that he would be better than anyone already on the Browns roster.

    If Cleveland does go in the direction of a quarterback early on, you can expect a lot of questions to be asked and a lot of upset fans following the Browns franchise

No.5: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

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    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Wide receiver Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners jumps over Andrew Rich #22 and Brandon Bradley #5 of the Brigham Young Cougars at Cowboys Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Ge
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Ryan Broyles should not be a first round pick in this years draft which makes him a very valuable target for teams early in the second round. Broyles, having compiled some of the best numbers out of any wide receiver this season, has sort of fallen by the wayside compared to top receivers’ A.J. Green and Julio Jones, but there is no reason why he will not serve just as valuable.

    This season, Broyles has a total of 86 catches for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns. Broyles also has a total of 29 touchdowns during his career at Oklahoma.

    Broyles’ stock will more than likely be lower than most of the top receivers for one reason. He is listed as 5-foot-11. This means that he would more than likely have a tough time competing at against some of the top NFL corners but that is a question that won’t be answered until he plays in the NFL.

    The acquisition of Broyles for the Browns would also depend on how the Browns use their first pick in the draft as drafting receivers in two consecutive rounds is very unlikely.

No. 4: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a sack with teammate Marvin Austin #9 against the East Carolina Pirates at Kenan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by St
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Even though Robert Quinn has dealt with a significant amount of off-the-field issues this season, he would be a perfect fit in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 Cleveland defense.

    One of the most important elements of the 3-4 is making sure that the defensive ends can provide containment and a successful pass rush. Quinn has displayed both of these qualities and more throughout his career at North Carolina.

    Last season marked Quinn’s best collegiate season as he recorded 11 sacks in 13 games while leading the Tar Heels defensively.

    The only thing that may prevent Quinn from coming to the Browns would be his off field issues and attitude towards the game. Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren have been decisive and persistent when it comes to the quality of person their players must be and it is uncertain whether or not Quinn fit’s the mold of the current Browns player.

No. 3: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

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    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 23:  Cameron Heyward #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases down ballcarrier Keith Carlos #1 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Cameron is another Ohio State player than would more than likely draw a huge round of excitement from Cleveland Browns fans everywhere if he is taken by Cleveland in the 2011 draft. Heyward has easily been the top name on the Buckeye defense and is nothing short of a “man beast” at the defensive end position.

    Heyward has been recorded in the 40 yard dash at 4.95 seconds and has shown the ability to outplay some of College footballs best defenses in the Big Ten.

    Heyward also has NFL bloodlines as he is the son of former New Orleans Saints running back, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward.

No 2: Mark Ingram, HB, Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The thought of Mark Ingram suiting up in a Cleveland Browns uniform is a thought that would get any Browns fan excited and anxious for the upcoming year.

    Ingram has had a season that was slightly below what people expected but that is no reason for the Browns to give up on him.

    Ingram would serve as a great fast-back along side bruiser, Peyton Hillis, in the Browns’ backfield and give the Browns the speed element that they hoped they had obtained when drafting Monterio Hardesty last season.

    Ingram has only tallied 641 yards this season but he only carried the ball 106 times and missed the Crimson Tide’s first two games against San Jose State and Penn State.

    Over the course of his career at Alabama, Ingram has a total of 3,027 yards and 38 touchdowns.

No. 1: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 30:  A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs attempts to catch a pass against Ahmad Black #35 of the Florida Gators during the game at EverBank Field on October 30, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Ima
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    A.J. Green may possibly be the best wide receiver available in the 2010 NFL Draft. With his strength and physical presence, Green has topped other wide receivers in almost every mock draft and for good reason.

    During his career at Georgia, Green has compiled 144 receptions for 2,281 yards and 21 touchdowns. That type of production is far behind any wide receiver on the Browns’ current roster.

    The development of any quarterback that the Browns put under center will rely on the teams’ ability to get receivers into the open field and make plays.

    Green was suspended for the first four games of 2010, but that should have no effect on his draft stock. Look for Green to possibly go in the top 5-10 of this years draft.