With the 2010/11 season coming to an end this past Sunday it is not too early to start looking ahead to the draft on April 28th. For a Browns fan this is the most exciting time of the NFL season because the expectations of the incoming draft class give its fans some well needed hope. Mock drafts are already being made by ESPN draft experts and Browns fans everywhere are hoping for the next young superstar to be wearing the brown and orange next year.
The Browns have already had a busy off-season. They fired head coach Eric Mangini two days after the season ended and hired a young and unproven Pat Shurmur as a replacement. The hiring of Shurmur means that the Browns will have a completely different philosophy on offense and defense. The change in scheme means the Browns have more holes to fill then they originally had after two back-to-back 5-11 seasons.
Believe it or not, the Browns made some improvements even if their record didn’t show it. The arrival of running back Peyton Hillis was a nice surprise and last year’s draft class made a huge impression on this team. Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Colt Mccoy were arguably the best part of this team and they were all rookies. But the fact of the matter is the Browns still need a big play wide receiver, a consistent pass rusher, maybe a linebacker or two and some depth at the running back position. The chances of addressing all of those holes in this draft are slim but every little bit helps.
- Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. The 6’4”, 212-pound vertical possession receiver would fill a gaping hole in this offense. His big play ability is what was lacking for this team the past two years. If he falls to the Browns I cannot see them passing him up.
- Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. The 6’4”, 220-pound all-around receiver would also be what the Browns needed but he may be the better option compared to Green. The Browns will be running a west coast offense which focuses on ball control and run after the catch. Jones is known for his run after catch ability while Green is more of a go up and get it type of receiver. Taking Jones would be a reach but he may be the better fit of the two.
- North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn. The 6’4”, 254-pound pass rusher would hopefully give the Browns what they need on the edge. He missed all of last year due to a rules violation which makes him a scary pick. He hasn’t played in a year and he has character issues but if he can play up to his potential then he would be a great fit for this transitioning defense.
- LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. This may seem like a head scratcher considering they drafted cornerback Joe Haden with their first round pick last year but here is my logic. The 6’1”, 222-pound defensive back would be a perfect complement to Haden and together they could shut down some of the best passing attacks in the league. Also if the Browns were to draft Peterson then I would like to see them trade back into the first round to get Julio Jones.
Making the right selections could put this team in the right position to finally become a consistent contender in the NFL. Hopefully they won’t find a way to screw this up!