The draft is less than 24 hours away now, and all of the buzz regarding potential trades has already begun, including an interesting one involving the Cleveland Browns. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Oakland Raiders are considering a trade that would send our third overall pick of the draft to them in exchange for the first overall pick. What's the catch? The Browns would also throw in wide receiver Braylon Edwards. If you ask me, that concept makes no sense whatsoever, and I do not expect the rumor to amount to anything.
Here on Sports Blogs Nation, we ran a site-wide mock draft, where the blogger of each team chose the draft picks for the first three rounds of the draft. With how things turned out, I ended up taking Joe Thomas in round one, Ryan Kalil in round two, and Ikaika Alama-Francis in round three. Although I wouldn't classify this as a disappointing start to the draft by any means, it isn't the "ultimate" draft that I would have hoped for within reasonable selection periods. Here would be my ideal Day 1 draft:
- Joe Thomas, OT - Wisconsin: (Round 1, 3rd overall) Back in December, I made my point clear: I wanted the best left tackle in this year's draft. That man was immediately Joe Thomas, and I have stuck with my pick for several months now. Signing Eric Steinbach in the offseason was a necessary move, but as I've stated before, one change does not improve a unit. Two changes can make a world of a difference though, not to mention the added versatility that would be available to our line. Thomas would likely be our opening day starter, meaning Kevin Shaffer would move over to right tackle, a less threatening position.
- Ben Grubbs, OG - Auburn: (Round 2, 36th overall) Going with two offensive linemen in consecutive rounds would seem unusual for the Browns, but logically it makes sense. The Browns can't afford to simply spend money on veteran free agents every year: they eventually need to develop them on their own. That starts right here, and with Grubbs being the second-best guard in the draft, there's a good chance that he'll be available. The only downside here would be that it would almost make drafting of Isaac Sowells pointless last year.
- Daymeion Hughes, CB - California: (Round 3, 67th overall) This year is deep in cornerbacks, but that also means that they will be drafted early and often throughout the first two rounds. Since the Browns pick early in round three, there's a good chance that Hughes, one of the cornerbacks near the end of barrel when it comes to well-rounder corners, could still be on the board. Hughes would hopefully receive more playing time than DeMario Minter did last season (none), and could even fill in as a starter with an impressive training camp and preseason.
- Chris Henry, RB - Arizona: (Round 4, 103rd overall) This pick would certainly seem to take Jerome Harrison out of the equation unfortunately, and replace him with a running back having somewhat similar qualities. The Browns cannot rely 100% on Jamal Lewis to have success, and Henry would provide a running back that the coaches would likely have more faith in than they do with Harrison.
- Adrian Peterson: No matter what happens, Peterson will be available at No. 3. I would only select him if we were sure that we could get a left tackle with our second-round pick.
- Tony Ugoh: If the Browns take Peterson, Ugoh should be available when we're on the clock in the second round, and should most definitely be the pick unless someone like Joe Staley falls for some reason.
- Eric Wright: This is the cornerback that I would really like to have, but unfortunately, he's the type of guy that will likely go "in between" our second- and third-round picks. That means that if we take him in round two, we are reaching a little, but if we get him in round three, we're getting a big steal.
- Ikaika Alama-Francis: There's a reason that I took him in the SBNation mock draft, and that's because he would fit the Browns' needs if all of the best available cornerbacks are off the board. The Browns' defensive line was actually our worst defensive unit last year; it's only the injuries that have put the cornerback position at a higher priority.
- Quinn Pitcock: Besides the fact that he's from Ohio State University, Pitcock would provide the young defensive tackle that we're seeking to replace veteran Ted Washington. He'll probably be gone by the time we get to the fourth round, which is when I would give some consideration to drafting him.
Stay tuned to Dawgs By Nature tomorrow, as I'll have an update after each pick and possible trade that the Browns are involved in!