May 4, 2011

Browns Draft Analysis, A Dunk Star, & The End Of The Vickers Era

The Browns made some very shrewd moves this past draft. Overall, I like what we did to fill our holes. I love the trade down to 27. Not sure yet about the trade up to 21 but well see. One flashy high priced player at 6 would not have filled our holes. The trade allowed us to take advantage of the 2nd round and grab some nice players. Here's my thoughts on each of our picks.

First Round: Phil Taylor, DT Baylor- I like this pick a lot. Many people wonder why we traded up for him but there were rumors that he was going to be taken in the mid 20's. Taylor is not a sexy pick. But you don't play sexy football in the AFC North. You need a big guy to stop the run against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. We have not been able to do that before and stopping the run helps the entire defense. Taylor may be a better fit for a 3/4 defense, but he played the 4/3 at Baylor and knows how too. Usually a 4-3 defense features a massive tackle to stop the run and a lighter tackle to get more of a pass rush. In other words, the tackle's strengths compliment each other's weaknesses. Paired inside with Rubin, the Browns immediately have a better front against the run, but won't have much of a pass rush inside. Rubin showed flashes of this (2 sacks), but it seems like Heckert wants to fortify against first and foremost. Since returning in 1999, the Browns have never ranked better than 23rd in the NFL against the run. Taylor should fit right in and give a solid boost to the run defense. Plus, I hope everyone heard what he said about Ben Rapelisberger:

          "I know how much the Cleveland fans hate Pittsburgh and I look forward to the matchup.  He is a great quarterback, but when I am going to play against him, he is going to go down."

You gotta love a guy who understands and is passionate about how we Browns fans view that team from down the turnpike.


Second Round: Jabaal Sheard, DE Pitt - Sheard, out of Pitt is a nasty DE who can give us good pass rush off the end. Many fans wanted Bowers right here but there is obviously something really wrong with his knee. Not to mention he doesn't seem to have the explosion or speed to be a double-digit pass rusher in the NFL. While at Pitt, Sheard was involved in an off the field incident where he may or may not have thrown a guy threw a window. Honestly, I think the Browns need a guy like this. We need a nasty player to go up against the others in the AFC North. Both him and Taylor are expected to start week one with our new 4/3 defense. 


Second Round: Greg Little, WR UNC- I love this pick right here. Great value for a WR with tremendous upside. Ya, he was suspended for the entire 2010 football season, but that is why we were able to grab him in the late second round. Many said he could have been a first rounder if he was not suspended. Great hands, size, and athleticism, Little could be a great fit in the west coast offense. He was originally recuited as a running back, and the WCO should give him a chance to showcase his running ability with a lot of short catches that allow him to run after the catch We filled our two biggest holes with our first three picks very nicely.


Fourth Round: Jordan Cameron, TE USC- At first I had the reaction of many Cleveland fans. A Tight End? Sure we are actually solid at this position but once your into the fourth round, you have to draft by value and not by need. Cameron is very athletic and I'm guessing we will be flexing him out kind of like what we did with Winslow. He'll have a good chance to learn from two solid receiving tight ends in Evan Moore and Ben Watson. He's super raw and has very little experience, but is athletic as hell. Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez have been successful after originally being basketball players, and that's what Cameron was at BYU and then USC before taking on football. Take a look at this video to see how athletic he is.


Fourth Round: Owen Marecic, FB Stanford- This pick was interesting, to be subtle. Everyone has long speculated that Larry Vickers might not be a good fit in the west coast offense. Marecic's selection may very well signal the end of the Vickers era in Cleveland. Marecic was a two-way starter at Stanford, which is incredible when you think about it. He is said to be a good run blocker as well as receiving back. I love Vickers, and if he is done in Cleveland I can only hope that Marecic is just as good and just as passionate the player that Vickers is.


Fifth Round: Buster Skrine, CB Tennessee Chattanooga- Skrine is a flier at corner. One of the fastest players in the draft, Skrine hopefully will provide some much needed depth at corner, enabling Mike Adams to focus primarily on safety, his natural position.


Fifth Round: Jason Pinkston, OL Pitt- Heckert and co. must be hoping that Pinkston can provide some depth on the right side of the offensive line. He played tackle at Pitt, but projects as a guard in the NFL. I almost wish the Browns would have addressed the line a little bit earlier than the fifth round, however.


Seventh Round: Eric Hagg, DB Nebraska- I have no idea who Hagg is, but here's to hoping that he makes the team come August. And here's to also hoping that he's a better NFL DB than another former Cornhusker, Eric Crouch, was.

GRADE: C? I guess?

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