Browns

2011 NFL Draft: Do Browns Need a Wide Receiver?

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I was messing around on Twitter Sunday night, and I saw Sports Illustrated’s Peter King was talking NFL Draft with fans (FOUR WEEKS FROM TOMORROW!). King has gone on the record as saying he thinks the Browns will draft a wide receiver in the first round and a fan tried to persuade King otherwise by suggesting, “Cleveland doesn’t have to take a WR. They have bigger needs.”

King’s response was simple: “No they don’t.”

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We all felt bad for Colt McCoy last year as he ran for his life waiting for Mo Massaquoi or Brian Robiskie break open. Wide receiver is a need and there is no denying that. But is it the biggest need?

Some mock drafts have as many as six defensive ends going in the first 15 picks, suggesting this is a very strong draft for the big guys up front. The team obviously cut ties with Shaun Rodgers and Kenyon Coleman, so it seems logical that the Browns could go after players to line up in the new 4-3 defense that Dick Jauron is bringing to town.

The Browns currently have seven defensive lineman on the roster, and outside of Ahtyba Rubin and Robaire Smith (old!) – and to some extent Brian Schaefering – the rest have little experience. Titus Adams, Travis Ivey, Ko Quaye or Brian Sanford do anything for you?

We’ve heard the argument about the Browns drafting Louisiana State CB Patrick Peterson – a player who wowed people at the NFL Combine – if he is available to play opposite Joe Haden. As New Orleans and Green Bay showed in their Super Bowl victories, it’s a passing league. You have to stop the pass. There’s merit to that argument.

Personally, I buy into Bill Parcells famous ‘Planet Theory’: There are only so many big men on the planet who can move well enough to play professional football, and you must draft as many of them as possible.

If you look at the defensive lineman who represented the AFC at the 2011 Pro Bowl (Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Jason Babin, Haloti Ngata, Vince Wolfork and Richard Seymour), only Mathis wasn’t selected in the first round. Five of six? I’ll take those chances.

Wide receiver has historically produced a lot of busts in the NFL Draft – but three of the four players on the AFC Pro Bowl roster were first round picks.

The Pro Bowl argument is based on a one-year sample size, obviously, but I have nightmares of Charles Rogers or David Terrell. If the Browns take A.J. Green or Julio Jones, it’s hard to argue with that.

But I think we need defensive lineman more. I think its safer. Coming off back-to-back 5-11 seasons, can we afford to be conservative in the Draft?

This article originally appeared on LandLoyalty.com