Cleveland Browns Mock Draft:
Despite their record, the Cleveland Browns have shown a great deal of improvement over their performance last year. A great deal of this improvement is a reflection of a very successful draft in 2010. It is now time to be focusing on the 2011 NFL Draft, hoping to make further improvements and adding depth to questionable positions. The Browns have needs on both sides of the ball, offensive and defensive. My picks are naturally assuming the players are still there, and others that I would have picked are no longer available. Here is my Cleveland Browns 2011 mock draft:
Round 1: Adrian Clayborn ( DE, Iowa )
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The Pick: Adrian Clayborn has been one of the most dominant defensive players in college football over the past two years. Clayborn was selected All-Big Ten First Team in 2010. At 6'3" and 286 pounds, with the ability to play defensive tackle if needed, Clayborn is a versatile and effective pass rusher.
The Reason: Cleveland needs a relentless, strong and physical pass rusher. Clayborn is an explosive defensive end which tight ends and fullbacks have little chance to stop, given his strength and strong assault from the edge. Clayborn is also considered a very effective run defender, which the Browns need desperately.
Round 2: Daniel Thomas (RB, Kansas State)
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The Pick: Daniel Thomas is ranked among the top running backs in the nation. His 2,760 career rushing yards rank third all-time at Kansas State. Thomas was selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team for 2010. At a height of 6'3", weighing 228 pounds, and with a 40-yard dash time of 4.6, Thomas has explosive speed to outside lanes.
The Reason: Peyton Hillis cannot continue to carry the Browns offense. Montario Hardesty, due to an injury, has not shown whether he is a reliable option that can remain healthy. It is vital to rest Hillis at times during the game, and Bell does not seem to be effective.
Round 2, Second Pick: Leonard Hankerson (WR, Miami)
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The Pick: Leonard Hankerson set a Miami record this season with 12 touchdown receptions, breaking the previous record of 11 touchdowns held by Michael Irvin. He is not known as a burner but displays the ability to stretch the field. Hankerson caught 66 passes for 1,085 yards with 12 touchdowns in the 2010 season.
The Reason: It is no secret that the Browns need help at the wide receiver position. Although this need does not warrant using a number-one pick, if a wide receiver of Hankerson's quality became available in the second or later rounds, it would be a wise move.
Round 3: Danny Watkins (OT, Baylor)
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The Pick: Danny Watkins has been described as a leader and anchor for Baylor's offensive line. During his junior year, he totaled 103 knockdowns in 12 games. He has a strong work ethic, and has started every game since arriving at Baylor.
The Reason: The Browns need improvement to the offensive line. Adding an impact player, as a starter or for depth at any position, is vital. Games are won at the line of scrimmage, and the Browns have proven they need to improve their ability to protect the quarterback, along with enhancing the running game.
Round 3, Second Pick: Jabal Sheard (DE, Pittsburgh)
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The Pick: Jabal Sheard leads the Big East in sacks, forced fumbles, and tackles for loss. Although his primary position is defensive end, his ability to play linebacker is impressive as well.
The Reason: The Browns are putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and missing numerous opportunities to achieve a sack. Given the erratic—and at times non-existent—tackling of the Browns, any improvement would be welcome.
Round 5: Sione Fua (DT, Stanford)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images The Pick: Sione Fua is possibly one of the most underrated run defenders in the draft. He can control the middle of the line of scrimmage, and is always a threat to opposing quarterbacks. In his 2010 season he recorded four sacks and 22 tackles. The Reason: As stated earlier, the Browns are in need of someone who can stuff the run, is a threat to the opposing quarterback, and has shown the ability to be effective at tackling.
Round 6: Brandon Hogan (CB, West Virginia)
The Pick: Brandon Hogan is a versatile cornerback who can also be used as a wide receiver and on kick returns. He has the ability to be an impact player, with a talent for breaking up pass plays, making solo tackles, along with interceptions.
The Reason: Eric Wright is having a questionable season, and I do not believe he is going to be around much longer. Joe Haden has stepped up and is becoming a very productive cornerback. That being said, the Browns must add depth to the position.
Round 6, Second Pick: Eugene Clifford (SS, Tennessee State)
The Pick: Eugene Clifford has been a destructive force this season for Tennessee State. He has show the ability to defend passes and make vital open-field tackles. Clifford was selected to the All-Ohio Valley Conference first team in 2009.
The Reason: The performance of Browns safeties have been a low point this season. There is a great need for improvement at this position.
(Also Posted at Cleveland Browns Report)