2011 NFL Draft Cleveland Browns Select Jabaal Sheard with Pick #37

After an amazing first round, the Browns were back on the hunt, and with some questionable picks made in the first round, there were plenty of targets for the Browns to zero in on.

The Browns continue to address their need on the defensive line with Jabaal Sheard of the University of Pittsburgh. Sheard was the Big East defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and was a good value at this point.

The Browns aren't done tonight, they still have another 2nd rounder acquired from the Atlanta Falcons trade.

A scouting report from Mockingthedraft.com follows after the jump.

Jabaal Sheard
6'4, 260 pounds | Defensive end | Pittsburgh

Pass rush:
Suddenness is the name of Sheard's pass rushing game.  He has a quick first step off the ball and the lateral quickness to slip past potential blockers.  Those abilities also make him a threat to get the edge and put pressure on the quarterback.  However, his edge pressure could use some work as he plays a little high and allows the blocker to get to much of his body.  His struggles to remain low and flatten out allow the offensive lineman to push him past the quarterback.  He can create pressure off the edge but just needs to work on those few areas to become a more consistent threat.  Sheard struggles to use his hands while rushing the passer and this impacts his bull rush.  He looks to avoid his blocker rather than use his hands to knock them off center.  Sheard's poor hand usage also impacts his counter moves as he appears to be a one trick pony.

Pursuit: Sheard has good quickness and the ability to close the back door down the line of scrimmage.  When chasing the ball carrier, Sheard takes good angles that help him close quickly.  At times, he appears to be uninterested in chasing plays away from his side of the field.  It doesn't appear to be a major concern because he shows good hustle in other areas of this game but its definitely worth noting.

Run defense: A poor power base and linear build contribute to Sheard's struggles in run defense.  However, several other issues are present that impact his ability to hold up against the run.  His limited power base is exaserbated by his poor hand usage.  Sheard looks to avoid his blocker rather than holding strong and disengaging.  This often leads to Sheard rushing up the field to often and taking himself out of the play.  Where he is successful is his ability to locate the ball and use his closing burst to make a play.

Strength: Sheard doesn't play with a lot of strength and that impacts his versatility.  He is thin through the hips and waste which impacts his ability to anchor through contact.  He also doesn't have heavy hands that limit his ability to stack and shed.

Tackling: There is an explosiveness to Sheard's game especially when he lays devastating hit.  Sheard does a good job of breaking down and rolling his hips through the ball carrier delivering a thump.  He keeps his head up and is under control as he approaches the football.

Technique: Coaching his going to be a key when it comes to developing Sheard.  He has the athletic ability and potential to develop into an effective pass rusher in the NFL.  However, he needs to work on keeping his pad level low and using his hands to keep blockers off his frame.  Improving both of those areas will have a great impact on his ability to create pressure.

Games Viewed: West Virginia, Miami, North Carolina, Utah

Final word: Sheard is going to be a developmental player with a chance to help out on passing situations early.  He is likely looking at the tweener label due to his lack of bulk and limited experience dropping into coverage.  Sheard might be best suited to play the outside linebacker position.  On tape, he showed good quickness, balance, and coordination which make me feel he can make the switch.  However, that switch is going to take some time and coaching.  NFL teams are going to look at Sheard's athleticism and production and fall in love.  I wouldn't be surprised to see him go in the late 2nd round.

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