Arguably an outside linebacker/elite pass-rusher is the Brown's biggest need this off season with the switch from a 4-3 to a 'hybrid' defense. This is liable to change after free agency of course but for now most mock drafts have the Browns selecting the same 2 or 3 OLB/DE type guys, with some having sprinkled Dee Milliner into the mix. Here are two alternative scenarios for the draft rather than drafting an OLB/DE type with the #6 overall pick.
The Zero Sack Scenario:
via espn.go.comThe Nnamdi Asomugha Scenario:
The second idea that has me drooling is the idea of an additional shutdown corner to pair with Joe Haden. If the Moon and the stars aline correctly the slim chance of Derrel Revis coming to Cleveland may happen. The far more likely alternative to the browns getting a second elite cornerback however is in the draft.
As many Browns fans were I too was enraged at first by the hire of Lombardi. Whoever had the most influnce in his draft rooms is up for debate. Nevertheless I looked up his draft history with a skeptical eye. While most of 'his' first round picks didn't pan out; I found one pick that intrigued me; Nnamdi Asomugha. During the 2003 draft the Raiders used the 31st pick to draft him. One of the elite shutdown corners in the league today. Nnamdi was the 5th cornerback taken overall that year (behind Sammy Davis, Andre Woolfork, Marcus Trufant, and Terence Newman). You may remember the 2003 draft in terms of the AFC North with the Browns drafting Jeff Faine 21st overall. This was also the same draft class that brought Carson Palmer, Troy Polimolu and Terrel Suggs into the AFC North.
The popular choice in the draft for a shutdown corner is Dee Milliner; The elite caliber cornerback from Alabama. Although I wouldn't be screaming in my living room at my TV if this is how the Browns end up using their first round pick; the thought that makes me the most excited is the possibility of Tyrann 'Honey Badger' Mathieu being the Browns 3rd round choice. The reason why I call this the Nnamdi Asomgha possibility is not a comparison from Mathieu to Asomugha, rather the fact that they are both are/were not pre-draft commodities.Tyrann Mathieu also is what many consider to be undersized. Weighing roughly 180 lbs and is only 5 ft 9 in.(Travis Benjamin is an inch taller) Yet he may be the Russell Wilson of this draft in terms of size). During 2011 he was a/the:
- Consensus All-American (2011)
- First-team All-SCE (2011)
- SEC Defensive Player of the Year (2011)
- SEC Championship Game MVP (2011)
- Chuck Bednarik Award(2011)
(Mathieu did not play the 2012 season after testing positive for marijuana)
Those who clicked on the 'Honey Badger' link to the highlight video you'll notice that half of his highlights are him hitting the opposing quarterback (also I apologize for the profanity in the video's music).I'm not saying that this would also solve the OLB/DE need, but he defiantly is a "little man that can hit". If Ray Horton Hears a Who and is willing to take the potential risk that Mathieu would bring, it could end up in a huge steal for the Browns third round. Mathieu is a young guy (20 years old), and if he pans out, he could be a nightmare for opposing offenses for many years to come.
Lombardi was smart when he drafted Asomugha as the 5th CB in 2003. I hope that the Browns regime has this same midset. Of course this all is speculation but never the less an interesting idea. Lombardi (if he has any say) might not want to take the risk on Mathieu. He criticized the Browns pickup of Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft, calling it a "wasted draft pick". Mathieu has a similar past to Josh Gordon; both suffered reprocussions after testing positive for Marijuana in college. Maybe both will have the same fate and end up with the Browns. And although history doesn't always repeat itself if Mattieu turns out as well as Gordon did he would be an absolute steal with the third round.
Side Note- with the potential departure of Josh Cribbs- I would love to see how Travis Benjamin and Tyrann Mathieu return punts/ kickoffs. Travis Benjamin runs a 4.36, 40 yard dash, Mathieu is .17 seconds slower with a 4.51. Mathieu also held sportscenter's top play for a good chunk of time with this punt return.
This is my dream draft scenario. Will the Browns draft either of these two? Most likely not but one can always hope. Feel free to comment your own 'alternate scenarios' (by that I mean anything other than a OLB/DE pass rusher with the #6 overall pick.