Browns' Potential Draft Target: A Trade Down

Chris Trotman

The Browns' are thought to be highly interested in investing in their defense this off-season by developing their pass rush and secondary.

It's a good thought.

After all, Joe Banner recently told Tony Grossi during the combine that he felt the defense wasn't that good last season and that it needs to get better. Statistically, we know where the Browns' ranked last year. Add in the scheme, coaching and terminology changes and it's easy to see that Joe Banner is absolutely right. Our defense needs to be the focal point of the entire off season, starting with the free agency market that Banner surprisingly stated was very attractive this year.

Free Agency

I am a big proponent of pursuing Joe Haden's complimentary starting defensive back in free agency this year. In fact, I would like to add two defensive backs through free agency, not limited to but preferably these two:

Target #1) Keenan Lewis - tall @ 6'0", fast, young, ball hawk type CB who plays for (and we'd be stealing from) a Division rival. Aggressive vs the run with 56 tackles and constantly finds the ball with 23 pass deflections in his first season starting and all without missing a single tackle.

Target #2) Greg Toler - an up-and-coming young CB in the league who is familiar with Horton's system and terminology and who played well when needed last year. Not a starter, yet, but has the potential.

OK, so if you're with me so far, Banner has stated that our defense needs to be upgraded and that the Free Agency market is ripe this year.

In my suggested path, we would be targeting two young, aggressive, up and coming defensive backs in free agency to compete alongside Haden. If this happens, I would then suggest we target a rookie defensive back in the draft --- perhaps in the 3rd or 4th round with guys like Tyrann Mathieu, DJ Haden, Brandon McGee, BW Webb, or maybe even Leon McFadden should he slip.

If we can focus on the defensive back position in free agency we would then be able turn our focus to the other aspects of our defense: Safety and Pass Rush.

Mike Mayock, one of the most trusted and respected draft analysts and scouts, has said on more than one occasion that this year's draft is deep on the defensive side, but that it lacks the top 15 talent you'd hope for should you be drafting in one of those spots. While some players have been "locks" all along, many others' medical issues have perhaps lessened their ranking and value.

I wouldn't say that the premise of this piece was sparked by Brendan Leister of DraftBrowns.com, but seeing it executed by him made it "click" as a real possibility. He recently represented The Cleveland Browns in the Twitter MockOne draft. Essentially, because this year's defensive draft is so deep, he chose to do what so many have come to despise over the last few years: trade down.

I support this idea If Dion Jordan is off the board & the new Browns brain-trust isn't sold on Geno Smith - provided he's still there. If that's the case, then I say we try to trade back and target Jonathan Cyprien.

By adding Jonathan Cyprien in the teens / early 20's, we will surely net a coveted 2nd round pick in this year's draft plus an extra pick in this year's 3rd and or 4th round; maybe even a 6th round pick next year. This would be a huge haul for the Browns, especially in a draft where there are tons of players available in the 2nd round that would be potential starters and huge defensive additions for the Browns. Plus, adding a 3rd or 4th round pick would allow the Browns to add even more talented depth and starting potential on either side of the ball.

I will suggest several players below who I like, and, after watching film, I feel would really fit well in the Browns 3-4 defense and vertical offense.These are players we could add in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds with our extra picks.

How would you execute your DREAM DRAFT?

Who are your GEMS?

Who can't you pass on this year?

These are some of my picks with those precious 2nd, 3rd and/or 4th round picks we net from a trade down:

LB - Sio Moore ( 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 ) Explosive, athletic, versatile, powerful, fast LB with the ability to do it all. I absolutely love this kid, and it's thanks to Brendan Leister. This would be my primary 2nd round target.

Moore entered the week as an underrated prospect, but he showed during practice sessions what most already knew: He's a pretty good football player. He was a versatile performer in college with good production as a hybrid linebacker for the Huskies, not looking out of place when asked to play in space against either the run or pass. Even in non-contact drills, Moore's competitive drive and explosive hitting ability were evident, and he will likely earn a top-100 grade from more than a few NFL teams.

- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

LB - Jaime Collins - I've already featured his Draft Target Profile - like him in the 3rd for sure, Mike Mayock is now saying that he's the 2nd best 3-4 OLB in the draft! Wow, I knew I liked this kid's projected NFL talent, but I didn't think it was that strong.

"An intriguing pass rusher, Southern Mississippi's Jamie Collins has 45 career tackles for loss over his collegiate career, finding ways to get to the quarterback with his quickness and speed. He needs work in other areas, but regarding just his athletic potential, Collins is one of the better linebackers in this draft class."

- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

LB - Sean Porter: 1 / 2 / 3

"Sean Porter appeared to be the most athletic linebacker of the bunch. Compared to his teammates, he did good work in run-stuffing, edge rush and especially pass-coverage drills. In 11-on-11 drills, he worked exclusively as a weak-side linebacker, which plays to his strengths. No one will confuse him with Von Miller, but he's got the most promise of this group."

- Dave Richard, CBSSports.com

OLB - Corey Lemonier - 1 vs LSU / 2 vs Clemson

12/31/12 - Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier will forego his senior season to enter the NFL Draft in April, ESPN's Joe Schad reported Monday night. Lemonier was considered one of the nation's premier pass rushers entering the 2012 season. An All-SEC first team selection in 2011, he gained prominence as a pro prospect after finishing his sophomore season with 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss.

02/20/13 - 2013 NFL Combine, Most to gain: An SEC underclassman who isn't a household name, Auburn's Corey Lemonier, has the natural athleticism to be an impact pass rusher at the next level. He needs to develop his strength and pass-rush moves. If Lemonier tests well, a team might be willing to take a chance on his upside much earlier than most project. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

CB - Leon McFadden - 1 / 2

12/14/12 - 2012 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FIRST-TEAM (COACHES & MEDIA): DB Leon McFadden, Sr., San Diego State, has been selected First Team All-Mountain West Conference (Coaches & Media selection) for the 2012 college football season. McFadden became the fifth San Diego State player in school history to earn first-team all-conference accolades in three consecutive seasons and the first since Kirk Morrison from 2002-04. McFadden, who has played in every game since arriving on campus as a true freshman in 2009 and is tied for the most pass breakups in program history, has set career highs this year in tackles (59), solo stops (45), interceptions (3) and forced fumbles (1), while adding 10 PBUs and two interceptions returned for a touchdown. - San Diego State football

CB - Tyrann Mathieu - 1 - Dion Sanders talks about Mathieu at the Combine, says this dude is "IS A DOG" , gets explicit about his drug use, says he is the real deal / 2 - 2011 vs Tennessee

02/26/13 - Because he's the Honey Badger and because that's something we care about (though he isn't interested in the nickname), Tyrann Mathieu got an unholy amount of coverage during Tuesday's defensive back drills at the 2013 NFL Combine. And Mathieu certainly helped his stock. He ran a 4.43 (unofficially) in the 40-yard dash. He displayed ball skills, which we all know he has. And if Deion Sanders was his agent, well, he'd be a top-five pick.

Sanders said that Mathieu is "a leader," a "straight-up dog," and "all that and a bag of chips." (It is apparently 1994. Why didn't anyone tell me this?) Deion also added that "I trust this kid." Mathieu was confident in his own performance, though he also said he came into the day confident as well. "I think I did good. I came into the day extremely confident," Mathieu said. "Believed I could get a 4.4 in my 40. My positional drills I knew all along I was just a natural athlete." - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

CB - BW Webb - 1 @ the Senior Bowl / 2 vs Lafayette

01/24/13 - Four small-college players to watch from the Senior Bowl...B.W. Webb is a cornerback from William & Mary that has playing traits like Asante Samuel. He looks like a solid cover two corner with 48 college starts. He holds up well in the man-to-man drills and has good anticipation in his zone drops. - Pat Kirwan, CBSSports.com

12/05/12 - After establishing himself as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks throughout his career, William and Mary standout B.W. Webb has been selected to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl, which will be held on Jan. 26 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. One of the most-decorated players in Colonial Athletic Association history, Webb finished his career with nine all-conference honors. A first-team all-league selection during each of the past three seasons, the Newport News, Va., native was chosen as the 2012 CAA Special Teams Player of the Year.

Selected to the 2012 Buchanan Award Watch List, Webb earned a school-record 48 starts during the past four seasons and finished his career ranked among W&M’s all-time top 10 in interceptions (11) and punt return yards (603).

As a senior, Webb totaled 46 tackles, eight PBU’s, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss. Additionally, he averaged 11.2 yards per punt return while ranking third in the conference with 123 punt return yards. Webb will become the seventh Tribe player to suit up for the Senor Bowl. W&M’s last representative to play in the prestigious game was kicker Steve Christie, who went on to a long and successful professional career in the NFL. - William and Mary footbal

CB - Brandon McGee - 1 vs Florida State / 2 Post combine interview ( 4.3 40 yard dash )

01/18/13 - 2013 SHRINE GAME PRACTICE RISERS: 5. CB Brandon McGee, Miami (Fla.) (5106, 195 -- East Team)...After a very up-and-down senior season for the Hurricanes, McGee is going to force many talent evaluators who saw him this week to go back and watch more tape of the Miami cornerback. In individual match-ups, he stayed patient and disciplined in his stance with the confidence and footwork to stick with the receiver all over the field. Previously thought to be a late-round prospect, McGee was definitely one of the bright spots of the week and has gained some momentum heading into the NFL Combine. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

CB - Darius Slay - 1 vs Auburn and Alabama / 2 vs Texas A&M and LSU

12/08/12 - 2012 ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM (COACHES): DB - Darius Slay, Mississippi State, has been selected Second Team All-Southeastern Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. Senior cornerback Darius Slay joined Jackson and Lawrence on the SEC Coaches' All-SEC Second Team after tying for ninth in the country with five interceptions. The Brunswick, Ga., native finished his senior campaign with 37 tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. - Mississippi State football

OLB/DE - Trevardo Williams - 1 vs NC State / 2 vs. Louisville

12/10/12 - 2012 ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM (COACHES): DL, Trevardo Williams (Unanimous), Connecticut, Sr., Bridgeport, Conn./Canterbury, has been selected First Team All-BIG EAST Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. Williams, a Second Team selection a year ago, totaled a team-high 11.5 sacks and led the league with 0.96 sacks per game. He finished his four year career at UConn as the all-time leaders in sacks with 30.5. Williams was also third on the team with 13.5 tackles for loss and ranked tied for fourth in the BIG EAST with 1.12 per game. - Connecticut football

TE - Nick Kasa - 1 vs Washington and Arizona State

01/24/13 - 2013 Senior Bowl, Tight Ends...4. Nick Kasa, Colorado. Kasa has had some moments where his athleticism is on display. But with little experience as a tight end, he showed signs of being raw. He's better at blocking and seems to be more of a long-term project than a short-term fix. - Dave Richard, CBSSports.com

02/20/13 - 2013 NFL Combine, Most to gain: Another big-bodied tight end who could boost his stock at the combine is Colorado's Nick Kasa. The former defensive lineman has impressive athleticism considering his 6-6, 271-pound frame but stumbled a bit out of his breaks during Senior Bowl practices. If he can prove through workouts that he has the balance and agility worthy of developing, he could make a push towards the late second day. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

WR - Marquess Goodwin - 1 69 yard run / 2 bone jarring hit vs UCLA / 3 ok, this has nothing to do with football but this is insane!! / 4 Kickoff return

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2013 SENIOR BOWL, WEDNESDAY RISER: WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas (North Team)...An Olympic athlete will always be an intriguing NFL prospect, but Goodwin's senior season on the football field was average at best. However, through three days of practice at the Senior Bowl, Goodwin has looked much more natural and polished in his routes and catching the ball. His world-class speed translates well to the football field and he looks much more flexible in his patterns and breaks, catching just about everything thrown his way. A prospect who looks much different from the tape, Goodwin is forcing scouts to go back and study more on the former Longhorn, but it wouldn't be surprising if Goodwin vaults into the early rounds, similar to Buffalo Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham a year ago.

- Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

WR - Da'Rick Rogers - 1 vs Oregon 2012 / 2 vs Cini, LSU, Georgia, Florida

Rogers faced a constant onslaught of questions about his past and didn't offer up a single excuse. While all prospects are coached-up by their agents for the combine sessions with the media and team interviews, there was an air of sincerity to Rogers. He spoke with humilty and didn't dodge a single difficult question. Rogers knows he damaged his own reputation, cost himself draft position and money, and doesn't place the blame on anyone else. And he doesn't expect anyone to simply forgive his transgressions and draft him solely on his physical skills.

"I did it to myself. You have to accept responsibility for what you did and move forward," said Rogers, who added that he passed 10 drug tests while at Tennessee Tech. "All I can do is come in, work hard and get my foot in the door." Rogers believes he's among the most physically gifted wide receivers in this draft and expects to run "in the low 4.4s" in the 40-yard dash this weekend. "I'm gonna be fast. Let me put it like that," he said.

- Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange

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