It’s almost that time of year, when owners, coaches, general managers, and the rest of the front office lock themselves in a room and heavily debate which players to draft to improve the team. This room is called the “War Room” for a reason. Everyone in this room is heavily opinionated and has become attached to a prospect that they don’t believe the team can do without.
In this segment, we will put ourselves in the war room and go over the picks we believe teams need to make when they’re on the clock. We’ll cover all 32 teams, but today’s segment is dedicated to the: Cleveland Browns.
The Cleveland Browns got great production out of Peyton Hillis last season and with Montario Hardesty coming back, running back could be a position of strength. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see them pick up a homerun threat in the late rounds or as an undrafted free agent. Who knows, Hillis is in the finals for the Madden Curse, excuse me, I meant Madden cover. They may need another back just in case.
The Browns need to help Colt McCoy’s progress. The biggest way to do this is to give him a true #1 receiving threat and a right tackle that will make him feel all cozy in the pocket. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them also go after a pass catching tight end in this draft. Nothing bails out a young quarterback like a tight end with great hands.
Joe Haden was a great pick last season and I don’t expect the Browns to be shy about going back to the well to find another rookie to play opposite of him or for depth at least. Behind their cornerbacks, there is a hole at the strong safety position that needs to be upgraded immediately. But all of that falls short of need, compared to this horrific defensive line. They’ll need to add at least 1 or 2 defensive ends and a defensive tackle, to help with the switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3. I also expect them to look at an outside linebacker at some point in the draft.
Cleveland Browns Mock Draft
Round 1 Pick #6 – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: Quinn has some injury concerns and other issues surrounding him. Mainly, not play at all in 2010. The Browns will evaluate him on tape and believe that they’ve found their sack leader of the future. Quinn will easily be the premier pass rusher on this team. He’s young so he’ll be able to work the rust off fairly quick.
Round 2 Pick #37 – Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami: The Browns will have their target for McCoy here, if they’re lucky enough to have him slide to them. Hankerson is a first round talent, that most people are sleeping on. He’ll be a star in this league, not just a starter. Great speed, solid hands, and makes top notch plays on the ball.
Round 3 Pick #70 – Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa: Ballard can come in and play next to Ahtyba Rubin and add a different dimension to the Browns defensive tackle position. If they have him between Rubin and Quinn, it could become devastating for the opposing quarterback. They’ll need solid defensive tackles in a division with Rashard Mendenhall, Ray Rice, and Cedric Benson / Bernard Scott.
Round 4 Pick #102 – Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh: The Browns are solid at left tackle with Joe Thomas. If they can find his bookend on the other side, combined with the other offensive weapons in this mock, then it would be laid out for Colt to succeed. Pinkston can come in and man that right side for the Browns.
Round 5 Pick #137 – Cortez Allen, CB, Citadel: Allen is a great day 3 value in the draft. There are questions surrounding if he can make the jump from the competition at Citadel to the NFL. The Browns will need him to, as they are lacking deep talent at the cornerback positions.
Round 6 Pick #168 – Adrian Moten, OLB, Maryland: This isn’t the biggest need on a talent inept defense but it’s one that will need some addressing. Moten had a solid career and getting him in the 6th round brings value when you’re discussing a player that actually has the ability to start, even if it’s only for a year or two, until you get a premier player.
Round 6 Pick #170 – Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia: Devine is a huge question mark because of how small he is. If Cleveland has the chance to draft him in the 6th though, I believe they should do it. He’s a threat to take it the distance, any time he touches the ball. They have the luxury of having Hillis and Hardesty already. If Devine doesn’t stay healthy, they won’t be hurting at the position.
Round 7 Pick #247 - Dejon Gomes, SS, Nebraska: They may choose to go after a strong safety earlier in the draft if there isn’t a plan to retain their own players or go after free agent strong safeties, when a new CBA is reached. If they do go that route, then they’ll look for a project player like Gomes in the later rounds. They also could look to go tight end or offensive guard with this pick.
That’s how it played out in our Mock of the Cleveland Browns “War Room”
Please Note: We will be Hosting a LIVE CHAT during the 2011 NFL Draft. Please join us and take part in the discussion in the room. We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions as the 2011 NFL Draft progresses in real time.