With the No. 71 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected ILB Christian Kirksey.
Since the team's pick in the second round, pretty much all of the wide receivers who fans were interested in went off the board. Inside linebacker was another position of need, given the struggles of ILB Craig Robertson last year and the team's overall lack of depth at the position.
When the staff at Dawgs By Nature compiled our Browns big boards, Kirksey was not listed on anybody's board. The highest available player on our boards at the time of the pick was DT Louis Nix III, but everybody is passing on him (so there must be something wrong with him).
I'm not too familiar with Kirksey, so here is some quick analysis on him from Twitter:
I'm a Christian Kirksey fan - gets physical in coverage, motor is always revving, natural leadership traits #Browns— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) May 10, 2014
Check out a scouting report from Black Heart Gold Pants, our Iowa affiliate:
HOW ARE HIS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES? Speed is his game. He played at around 220 pounds while at Iowa. He inched up closer to 230-235 his senior season. At the Senior Bowl, he weighed in over 240, but his playing weight is likely to be around 235 unless your team moves him inside. He's got a thin lower half but carries his weight well. Most NFL Draftniks cited his size as an issue, but he plays bigger than they think.
With his speed, he can cover a lot of space in pass coverage. He's also an effective pass rusher off the edge, as we saw this past season at Iowa. He played in the middle at the Senior Bowl and showed the ability to get through traffic and make tackles in pursuit.
Here is Brugler's scouting report on him:
A two-star LB recruit, Kirksey received attention from several Big Ten programs out of high school, choosing Iowa over Wisconsin and Minnesota. After spending his true freshman season as a little-used back-up, he earned the starting WLB job as a sophomore in 2011 and tied for the team-lead in tackles. Kirksey started every game as a junior and senior and was among the team-leaders in tackles both years, earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors.
He doesn’t have overly impressive size or fluidity and his instincts are streaky, but he plays fast and determined with a physical mentality and unyielding effort from snap-to-snap. Kirksey’s on-field discipline needs to improve, but he is a mature, focused individual with next level leadership skills – two-year team captain. He is limited in some areas, but is the type of player who will be a consistent contributor as a part-time reserve and unsung hero behind the scenes.
Projections seemed to have Kirksey as a fifth-round pick. What do you think, Browns fans?