Installing a new high octane west coast offense and reshaping a 3-4 base defense to a new 4-3 attack along with the upcoming NFL draft has Cleveland Browns new Head Coach Pat Shurmur’s hands full this off season. All this while dealing with impending lockout that prevents coaches and players from interacting with one another on anything Cleveland Browns football related. “Envy”, is not a word that comes to mind when referencing Shurmur’s position regardless of monetary compensation.
One envious aspect that could be taken from his situation in reference to the NFL draft is, “shopping for some of the groceries.” as Bill Parcels once famously referred. Draftniks abound would be a giddy as virgins on prom night if given the opportunity to play general manager and head coach so that they were calling the shots come this upcoming Thursday night. Unlike Shurmur we have as mush say as we want because its our mock and Mike Holmgren has no say in it so with that off our chests Draftniks here is our chance.
Round #1 A.J. Green WR, Georgia
With more ways to play than a chinese checker board. The Browns could go just as many ways in the 1st round of the draft. Based off of what Cincinnati does with the 4th overall pick, a right tackle spot that needs to be addressed at some point in the draft and the new 4-3 scheme on defense we would like to think the Cleveland faithful will be landing A.J. Green WR, Georgia. The Browns need an explosive playmaker on offense and Green is the kind of game changer the Browns need.
Now if the Bungals throw a wrench into the spinning cogs of Cleveland’s draft mechanism by drafting Green ahead of the Browns then Cleveland may decide to look in the direction of defense with options like:
1. Robert Quinn DE, North Carolina
2. Patrick Peterson CB, LSU
3. Nick Fairley, DT Auburn
4. Prince Amukamara CB, Nebraska
5. Julio Jones WR, Alabama
(not defense but could be there also)
Round #2 Muhammad Wilkerson DT, Temple
For the obvious reasons this picks is all dependent upon the number six overall pick but with Wilkerson you get a D-lineman who is versatile enough to play the three or the five technique and has the kind of skill set that led him to be one of the top pass rushing DTs in the draft (15 sacks the past two years including 9.5 in 2010). With so few defensive linemen on the roster and the need for extra defensive linemen due to the transition back to a 4-3 you can bet Cleveland spends more than one pick on a pass rushing lineman.
We can never predict who will tumble down the draft board come draft day so a value pick could be made in the second round by Cleveland. With that in mind others that could be in the mix at this point could be:
1. Stephen Paea DT, Oregon
2. Jimmy Smith CB, Colorado
3. Ben Ijalana RT, Villanova
4. Marvin Austin DL North Carolina
5. Any top tier DEs that happen to fall out of the first round
Round #3 Will Rackley OT, Lehigh
As I mentioned before about the obvious needs on the defensive line Cleveland also has a glaring hole at the right tackle position. So here they have a kid that can flat out play despite being from a small school. Others to keep your eye on around this spot:
1. Clint Boling T/G, Georgia
2. Marcus Cannon T/G, TCU
3. Marcus Gilbert OT, Florida
4. Brandon Harris CB, Miami
5. Greg Little WR, North Carolina
Round #4 Jurrell Casey DT, USC
Casey could find himself going late 2nd or falling back into the 4th round because of team needs being top priority. His always running motor enhances the ability of this already gifted athlete. Casey is an excellent run defender and has the ability to clog up holes. 2010 4.5 sacks, 11 tackles for losses along with 67 tackles on the season.
Other possibilities at this spot:
1. Terrell McClain DT, South Florida
2. Brandon Burton CB, Boise St.
3. Chykie Brown CB, Texas
4. Greg Salas, WR Hawaii
Round #5 Casey Matthews LB, Oregon
You just seem to get the sense that if Cleveland doesn’t draft Casey Matthews they will not be able to keep the rioting contained to the Dawg Pound alone. Casey is not his brother but he is a solid player. There are some concerns about his size but there were concerns with Ray Lewis’s size also and that seemed to turn out just fine. Casey’s dad Clay Matthews Jr. was a four time pro bowler for the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland won’t even bother looking in another players direction if Matthews is available here in round five so we shouldn’t either.
Round # 6 -Cleveland has two picks in the sixth round and could go best player available. Usually at this point in the draft teams tend to go with adding overall team speed. A few names that could be intriguing here could be:
1. Ian Williams DL, Notre Dame
2. Kenny Rowe LB, Oregon
3. Marcus Gilchrist DB, Clemson
4. David Mims OT, Virginia Union
5. Mario Butler CB, Georgia Tech
Round #7 picking the correct pick this far into the draft would be like literally finding a needle in a hay stack. However some 7th round options could be:
1. Cecil Shorts III WR, Mount Union
2. Lee Ziemba OT, Auburn
3. Lawrence Wilson LB, UCONN
4. Stephen Schilling G, Michigan