In his weekly Sunday column at the Plain Dealer, Terry Pluto was full of good bullet points about the upcoming draft. I was drawn to one point he made about trading down, because I had been going through the same scenario in my head earlier in the day:
8. Here's a new rumor: Suppose the Browns find a taker for No. 6 and trade down several notches ... and also add other picks in lower rounds. They are very concerned about right tackle. They'd love to find a "Joe Thomas type" to play that spot. Thomas was their top pick in 2007, and has been a Pro Bowl left tackle each season. They can use picks lower in the draft and take a star offensive tackle (maybe USC's Tyron Smith), putting together a terrific line with Thomas (LT), Alex Mack (C) and Smith (RT) as the anchors.
9. Do I really believe they'll trade down and go for an offensive linemen in the first round? No. But I do believe the right tackle spot is more of a concern than they express publicly. So maybe they take a right tackle in the second round.
While I like the fact that Tony Pashos is projected to start at right tackle over John St. Clair, he has not made it through a full season the past couple of years. The right side of the line remains a weakness, and it is a glaring need that I think gets lost when we fantasize about improving the defensive line, wide receiver, and cornerback positions. With how we stand now, taking a right tackle at No. 6 overall or early in the second round does not seem likely. How do we change that while still addressing other positions? By taking advantage of Pluto's situation above. What if you get a Tyron Smith mid-way through the first round, and then with two second round picks, you get a defensive lineman like Stephen Paea and a cornerback like Brandon Harris?
Overall, I'd still like the Browns to get one of the top prospects at No. 6 overall, but I find this type of situation compelling too.