The Cleveland Browns are on the clock once again here at The Lake Erie Soldiers. In the first round we envisioned a few high caliber candidates for the Browns to draft, and we were torn between Eric Berry and Rolando McClain, among others, and sided with McClain. While this pick might not be the most crowd pleasing, I think it would give the team what they need to shut down the run and really improve the 3-4 scheme. The reasoning behind that pick that allowed us to say it with confidence is that there is much more depth in this draft in the Secondary then in other areas on defense, and personally I’d rather have a guy who has been compared to and called the next Ray Lewis then one who is called the next Ed Reed. Here are the options for the Browns 2nd round pick, 39th overall…
WR, Brandon Lafell, LSU –
Lafell is a big, strong and fast wide receiver. If the Browns want to go in the direction of an offensive play maker he is as good as they come in this draft class. He can return punts and kicks, which might be needed depending on how the Joshua Cribbs thing ends up, and is a solid target for whoever is the QB next year. Lafell is in the top 3 receivers in the Draft, easily, and might even have a higher ceiling then Dez Bryant. He put up great numbers for a program at LSU who’s offense was almost completely based on running the football and where there is a QB who is shaky at best much like the situation the Browns currently find themselves in. He seems to have better character then many wideouts with star potential, he could be a very good fit with the Browns.
WR, Golden Tate, Notre Dame –
Golden Tate really intrigues me. He was a stud at ND despite the issues that the program had, and could very well be competing with Aurelius Benn, Lafell and Bryant as the top wideout available. I would actually be surprised if he fell to the 2nd round, but many are predicting that he will. If a receiver is not a MUST HAVE guy I would suggest the team pass up on them, or not draft many of them, as they need to give Robiskie and Massaqoui the opportunity to prove their worth this year before beginning to replace them. Golden Tate could be a good match with Brady Quinn and he could always be nicknamed Golden Brown if he is good. I would rather the team take Lafell out of these two, but I don’t see a WR being picked by this team in the first 2 rounds.
DE, Carlos Dunlap, Florida –
I usually have a hard time suggesting the team draft a Florida product, but Carlos Dunlap is an amazing pass rusher. He could be very effective in either a 4-3 system or a 3-4, and could maybe even stand up and play Outside Linebacker on occasion. He reminds me a lot of Terrell Suggs with the intensity with which he plays and his ability to bring down the ball carrier and QB. Truth be told, there is only 1 DE I would rather the Browns draft and his name is Thaddeus Gibson. He might not be as good right now as Dunlap, but I think he has more potential and played with far fewer star players around him at Ohio State.
CB, Donavon Warren, Michigan –
He comes from a school, sadly, that has a pretty good history of producing strong CB’s. He teamed with Leon Hall for a few years in a very dangerous secondary at Michigan and he could give the Browns a very needed, very well-rounded player at this position. I think the team will have to play Coye Francies and see what he can do, which I think is a lot, and Eric Wright will continue to produce solidly, now they just need to find someone to take over for Brandon McDonald, and Warren could be that guy, unless they draft Joe Haden or another Corner in Round 1. Warren won’t get the most interceptions, but he plays the ball well and is a solid tackler. He won’t miss too many guys, like McDonald, and can compete well with taller receivers.
DE/DT, Jared Odrick, Penn State –
A very solid, big and athletic lineman, who can play both on the end and at tackle. The Browns line, while solid at times, is aging, and they need a few young guys to come in and eat up snaps. Odrick is very good at pass rushing and run stopping, and has the size to match up well against NFL O-lineman. He, like Eric Wright, has had a few off-field incidents in his college career, and I think he will suffer in the draft because of that. If the team likes him, he may be available in the 3rd round as well because of the character issues. Although, as talented as he may be, I don’t think he will catch much attention from the Brain Trust. He is huge and athletic, 6’5″ and 310 pounds, with very quick feet and hands and can get in the backfield very easily. He is definitely worth taking a long look at.
Safety, Taylor Mays, USC –
Here’s who they should pick. Taylor Mays. The reason I thought they should pass on Eric Berry and focus on the LB position. Mays is, in pretty much any other draft, a top 15 talent, with very unusual size and strength for a safety. 6’4″ and 225 pounds, the USC product is a freak athletically. He is a playmaker, hits hard, has a constant motor and can change direction and recover in the blink of an eye. I think he would be a HUGE pickup for the team. He can matchup size wise with just about any receiver or Tight End in the league. He is as fast or faster then most wideouts, he has great instincts for the ball and can get up high enough to win jump balls. Great talent, great football IQ and a very very hard worker, perfect fit for the Browns.
Taylor Mays and Rolando McClain are the 2nd and 1st round picks that make the most sense for the Browns this year. They need secondary help, obviously, but are in just as desperate need of help against the run, these guys will give the Browns 2 major producers on the defensive side of the ball and both of them can have immediate impacts, would fit well with the current regime and schemes that are in place.