Pass rush wins out over pass coverage every single day of the week.
But guess what, in this draft there isn't a pass rusher on the level of Morris Claiborne. Not even close. I wish I liked Coples more, but he is a complete enigma. Ingram I like a lot, but I even I won't say that Claiborne is on the same level as Claiborne.
So what do we do?
I tell you what we do, we grab the best defender on the board, throw him in the backfield, and improve two positions with one single pick. Trust me, this is the best approach this front office can take.
This is where I usually post a disclaimer that isn't my real opinion, but not on this one. This is exactly what I think.
1. Best Player Available
The Browns biggest need is Quarterback, but we aren't getting a top of the line Quarterback in the draft. That is the only need that should outweigh BPA. The ONLY position. Teams taking needs over BPA is how shitty teams stay shitty. You think the Bills wish they had taken Darrelle Revis over Marshawn Lynch? Same thing goes for the Cardinals and Levi Brown.
So when you look at the entire draft, who is the best defender? Who will make the Browns better at two positions with one pick? Morris Claiborne.
2. We need Cornerbacks
If you don't have an Ed Reed like safety (and almost no one does) you need some guys who can cover. In today's NFL, 3 WR sets are the norm. Anyone here feel good about Chris Gocong stepping out and covering Antonio Brown? Because I sure as hell don't.
Pittsburgh is a throw first team. Cincinnati is a throw first team. For some reason Baltimore thinks that Joe Flacco makes them a throw first team (Anyone who says the AFC North is a "run-first" division should staple their face to wall).
We need to bring in the horses to go toe-to-toe with the passing offenses. This is a pass first league, we need to be prepared.
3. It would improve our Run Defense
Yes, you read that right. Run defense.
Last season, T.J. Ward played at his best when he was close to the line of scrimmage. He was a force in the run game and set the edge against the run when asked (I'm sure Rufio can show this much better than I can explain).
If we shift Sheldon to Free Safety, we add another dimension to this defense. I am a pro-Sheldon Brown guy. I think he is still a very good Cornerback, but I love the idea of adding Claiborne and letting Sheldon go against the TE's in this division. No longer will we see Jared Cook running for 80 yards with Scott Fujita trailing him by 15+ yards. These would be match-ups that we would be winning.
If we have an actual safety that can cover the middle of the field, we can allow Ward to do what he does best, a down-hill run stuffer that can drop hammers when a WR catches the ball on a crossing pattern. We can put 8 guys in the box because we have two Cornerbacks and one former Cornerback locking down the secondary.
Sure I would rather have four guys who can get to the passer while we drop seven, but remember, there is no Defensive End in this draft worth taking until later.
4. We can get a Wide Receiver later
Luckily for us, the WR position in this draft is very deep. It's very possible that five guys could go in the first round (Justin Blackmon, Stephen Hill, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright and Mohamed Sanu). We can get a guy later on.
I have mentioned it numerous times before, but to be quite honest, to get the absolute most out of a WR, you need someone to get him the ball. Until we get that figured out, a WR is almost a waste in my eyes. So why not add the best defensive player in the draft and take a guy later on?
The other aspect of this argument is that truly great CB's are almost always found at the top of the draft. Revis, Haden, Champ Bailey, Jonathan Joesph and Charles Woodson for example, are all first round Cornerbacks.
When you look at Wide Receiver it's a different story. Last season Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall, Mike Wallace, Steve Smith and Greg Jennings all made the Pro-Bowl. None of them were first rounders. Neither were DeSean Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Victor Cruz, Jordy Nelson, Marques Colston, Antonio Brown and the list goes on and on.
You can't say that about CB. To be truly elite, almost all come from the top of the draft. We can fix WR later.
5. Have I mentioned that Morris Claiborne is awesome?
I'm not saying we just draft a Cornerback for the sake of taking a CB. This kid is awesome.
His size isn't a problem, but he is blessed with long arms and great hips. He has no problem turning and running with guys, and despite his lack of strength (something that can obviously be worked on) he isn't over-matched at the LOS when he is in bump coverage, but he can get better there. When he gets downfield, he is in WR's back pocket, but needs to keep an eye on his hands (something every DB needs to work on when they reach this level).
He is very fluid. Moves incredibly well for a guy who looks much bigger than he is. To the naked eye, he looks like he is 6'3 with his arms. But he plays like a smaller DB.
The other thing I really like about Claiborne is that I think he compliments Haden really well. Haden is a physical Corner who really likes to beat guys up with his hands. When we face the Steelers, Haden can be physical, while Claiborne can be the finesse guy. We would never let a WR get into a rhythm.
I know he didn't run well at the combine as he wanted (4.50) but he ran well at his Pro Day (4.39), and haven't we already learned that a slow combine time doesn't mean squat?
I know you probably want Blackmon, and don't get me wrong, he's no slouch. But I worry that with our Quarterback issue, he may not develop in the way we expect. Sure Larry Fitzgerald started without a Quarterback, but so did Michael Crabtree. I'm not the only person concerned either. On the other hand, Claiborne had no issue with his teammate Tyrann Mathieu getting all the credit, even though his ability to roam the field looking for big-plays was because Claiborne was taking away options for the offense.
The Browns need an identity. We are really close to having on the best young, defensive units in the NFL. Instead of taking a WR that we can't utilize, why don't we go balls to the wall on the defense? If we don't like any of the WR's later on in the first, we take Nick Perry and let him rush the passer like his hair is on fire.
So what do you say? You ready to get Claiborne in here?