"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. Earlier today, I had my traditional edition of The Sunday Five. This special edition covers five random thoughts I had about how things went down for the Cleveland Browns during the three days of the draft.
When we did our SB Nation writer's mock draft over at Mocking the Draft, in the first two rounds I ended up taking DT Marcell Dareus and DE Adrian Clayborn for the Browns. I would have preferred it if the Browns could have come away with both of those players, but as expected, Dareus was gone by by the time Cleveland was on the clock at No. 6 overall and Clayborn was taken in the first round. Alas, I mock drafted too ideal of a draft to be true. As I'll touch on after the jump, that didn't stop Tom Heckert and company from following a similar strategy that I did.
I went defensive tackle in round one and defensive end in round two. Heckert ended up doing the same thing, just with different personnel and at a different slot (in the first round). With that considered, I was very pleased with the back-to-back selections of DT Phil Taylor and DE Jabaal Sheard. It isn't like there was a ridiculous drop off in talent between the pair of players, and on top of that, Cleveland added an extra first-round pick in 2011. They also moved their third-round pick up a little bit to a late second-rounder when you look at the net result and were able to select WR Greg Little. I know it wouldn't have been a huge difference in selections, but I don't think Little would have been available in the third round.
The Browns had a lot of needs heading into the draft. On defense, they could've used help at defensive line, linebacker, and the secondary. The secondary was invested in last year and is the best unit on the defense right now. The linebackers are "iffy," but this wasn't a strong linebacker class after Von Miller. Defensive line was our biggest defensive need, and coincidentally, this draft was deep with linemen. Taking advantage of that back-to-back in the first and second rounds addressed our defensive needs very well.
After addressing defense, the next priority on our list was to fine some new playmakers for the West Coast Offense. Heckert ended up adding three intriguing prospects back-to-back-to-back, and not the ones you might have anticipated heading into the draft: WR Greg Little, TE Jordan Cameron, and FB Owen Marecic. All three players have size, toughness, and are quick. Considering Chansi Stuckey is gone and Carlton Mitchell is unproven, this gives Cleveland a fresh group of talent for Colt McCoy to work with. I could really end up seeing either Mohamed Massaquoi or Brian Robiskie being pushed aside with a lineup of Little and one of those two receivers in the starting lineup, Cameron and Evan Moore splitting time as a slot receiver, Ben Watson being the traditional tight end, and Joshua Cribbs coming in when the Browns show more of a running package as a good blocker. rufio has some WCO features coming up, so we'll have a ton of time to talk about exactly how these pieces can fit together.
Who was the best mock drafter this year? Sure enough, Rick Gosselin made a triumphant comeback to the top of the list for 2011, according to Huddle Report. Our very own Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft scored highly this year too, finishing tied for fifth place. In the past two years, Dan is tied for being the second-best mock drafter, only behind Gosselin. Before I head off, I'd also like to promote a piece that Jason from our Eagles affiliate wrote. He attended the draft live as part of the media and blogged about how the draft went down from his perspective in round one. Here's what he said about the Browns:
Universal jeers for the Atlanta trade up for Julio Jones. They gave up two first round picks, a second and two fourths to move up to #6 to take WR Julio Jones from Alabama. One member of the media here called it a "franchise changing haul" for the Browns. Another said it was "another Herschel Walker deal" referring to the bounty of draft picks the Cowboys got for Herschel Walker, which ended up being the foundation of their 1990s dynasty.