Now that the season is over and it is January, and we are not watching the playoffs as usual, its time to switch gears to the NFL Draft. The draft in April can be oh so exciting, or depressing, depending on how the team drafts. It is an exciting prospect this year with the team drafting in the top 10, #7 to be exact, after the 5-11 season, and the team owns 11 draft picks going into the draft. This could possibly change if the team wants to move up or down or move around like last year out of the top 5. Not only do we have 11 picks, there is a trio of good football minds running the show. Mike Holmgren is a great eye for talent in the NFL, and has been around for a long time. Eric Mangini has had good drafting luck in the past with the Jets, finding Darrelle Revis and other good defensive players, and Tom Heckert has been running things in Philadelphia the past few years and has been in charge of drafting for that team, and has only drafted good, and great players like, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Kolb, and many others for a perennial winner. Exciting times for the Cleveland Browns Nation. So, I’ve been looking at all the mock drafts and big boards, and I will look at a handful of possible players and do some research on them. Not all of this will be thrown out in one post, I will do one draft spot at a time. Starting today, with the #7 pick…
Ideally, we would all love to see the Browns take Ndamukong Suh, the beastly DT out of Nebraska to team with Saun Rogers and destroy running backs and QB’s. He however, will likely go in the top 3, maybe top 5, and the Browns will not trade up to get him, unless that trade would include Derek Anderson and or Brady Quinn. Less than likely.
As for who the Browns should pick, look at this list of guys who should be available and are top 10 or 15 talent.
Safety, Eric Berry – Tennessee
Eric Berry is a dynamic Safety, and would definitely bolster the Browns week secondary. Not only would he take some pressure off of Abe Elam if the team resigns him, or Brodney Pool, but it gives the Browns a very good option if Brodney Pool’s concussions get the better of him, or if the team does not resign him either. We all know the talent that Pool has, but we do not know the status of his head and if he will continue on as a Brown. Berry on the other hand is the highest ranked DB in the draft, and easily the best Safety available. The Browns need defensive playmakers, and if this guy is still on the board they should take him. He is 6’0″ and 200 lbs, a big guy in the secondary to scare receivers, and can hit hard. He is regarded as the best tackler in the draft at a DB position and has been likened to great Safeties Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu in regards to his ball hawking skills, hit power and play recognition.
Cornerback, Joe Haden – Florida
As opposed as I am to the Browns bringing any Florida Gators, Haden is a top prospect at CB. He, like Berry, is receiving a ton of praise for their projected career paths based on what they did in college. He has been likened to Leon Hall, who has quickly become on of the best shut down DB’s in the NFL. If the Browns have the chance to draft Haden, then they should take that chance. He is definitely a top 10 talent, but do you want to pay top 10 cash for a guy who comes from a program that traditionally has players with character flaws and plays a position where the players are more likely to demand pay raises and come at a very high price anyway.
Offensive Tackle, Bruce Campbell – Maryland
This is an intriguing choice for the Browns. Campbell is a HUGE, 6’7″ and 310 pounds. He runs under a 4.90 40 yard dash and is very athletically gifted. I am not saying that this guy will be a left tackle like he is projected, what I am thinking, is that the Browns go for him and use him on the right side, to replace St. Claire. Imagine an O-Line with this guy, Thomas, Mack and Steinbach with Rex Hadnot or Floyd Womack as the only weak link left. He is the top O-Line prospect in the draft, and has drawn comparisons to Jonathon Ogden and Joe Thomas. His footwork and strength is top notched, matched only by his plus speed from a Tackle and he has amazing recognition on blitzes. He is someone to keep your eyes on moving forward.
Wide Receiver, Dez Bryant – Oklahoma State
This is hands down, the best wide out in the draft. He has amazing skills in both catching and route running, and is a good blocker on the outside as well. DraftDebacled.com has him going to the Browns on 8% of mock drafts, given also that this is basically a platform for people like me to do mock drafts. He is not a tall receiver, at 6’2″ he is not small either, but he has a great vertical and is quick, with strong arms and great hands. He is talked about like the great wideouts in the NFL, in terms of how he is described as attacking the ball at its highest point, which is what the announcers and analysts love about guys like Reggie Wayne. Bryant is the kind of playmaker the Browns need and would fill the playmaking void left by the trades of Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow. He does a good job of coming back to the QB and getting open if the QB needs help, and he is tough to tackle.
Inside Linebacker, Rolando McClain – Alabama
This guy is a monster. Imagine if you will, for one second, him clogging up the middle of the field alongside D’Qwell Jackson. That will be a dynamic duo in the 3-4 defense. McClain is huge for a linebacker, 6’4″ and 255 pounds, but his enormous frame does not slow him down a bit at all. He is always moving and plays all out on every play. He is a great tackler who is not content to try and arm tackle anyone, he wants to get people down and he doesn’t take shortcuts. He has played in a 3-4 in college, so there would be no transition for him and he can play outside as well. He is a good coverage guy and he would take care of match up problems that the Browns have had in the past year or so with opposing Tight Ends. He has tremendous instincts, and the best part, he is only 20. He plays with the intelligence of a MLB who has been in the league for years, and reminds me personally a lot of Ray Lewis on the field. If the Browns don’t trade down, this is the guy they should draft. Not only is he a great fit for a 3-4 defense, he is the type of player that all 3 guys, Mangini, Holmgren and Heckert, in the Browns Brain Trust admire and seek out for the roster.
My pick, if I was the Browns, with the #7 spot in the 1st round would be Rolando McClain. It is a very tough choice, but I think he is what this team needs, another big time force in the middle of the defense who can really rack up tackles and disrupt the flow of the opposing offense. Stay tuned for the Browns next draft choice.