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Subject Line: BTB Mock [your BTB screenname] [your slot number]
i.e.: BTB Mock [Bermystar] [pick#5]
OK, I admit it. The first three picks of the community draft didn't surprise me either. Now though, we have some intrigue. Cleveland with many holes to fill and the number of blue-chip prospects dwindling has a tough decision to make. Unlike the picks directly preceding, the need/potential scale has started to balance out a little. We have a healthy contribution from our community GM, so let's give him the floor.
Selection: (CB) Morris Claiborne, LSU
Ok, now things get interesting. It's been widely speculated for the last several months that (barring something crazy) the first three picks of the draft would be Luck, RG3, and Kalil. Then we get to Cleveland's first of two first-round picks and things begin to get more uncertain. Cleveland is a team with pretty much a need at every position except LT (Joe Thomas is one of the best young uglies in the game), #1 CB (Joe Haden is a stud) and Kicker (Phil Dawson has been given the "Franchise Tag" twice now!). Other than those guys, you could pretty much throw a dart on a board with the top 10 rated players on it and grab a guy who fills a need on the team.
Having lived in Ohio for several years over the past decade (with a three-year interruption in Kentucky) and knowing many fans of the Brownies, I can tell you that this team is cursed. I mean some serious "Voodoo black magic by a Santeria witch doctor sealed by the sacrifice of a virgin under a midnight solstice" type of curse. There's just no other way to explain the bad luck this team has had in its history. Browns fans, themselves, are among the most loyal you'll ever find in the NFL. They are incredibly supportive of their team, but just can't fathom how the Browns could be this bad for this long. For an awesome example of how fans of the Browns feel, please watch this hilarious video:
Follow the jump for the vid, more analysis from T_J, and a breakdown of the scouting report and team needs.
Of course the elephant in the room (or the turd in the punchbowl) is that Cleveland desperately needs a Quarterback. They didn't offer enough for RG3, failed to get one of the big-name free agents, and are basically back to the ‘ol drawing board with Colt McCoy (and whoever they pick up in this draft or pray for Matt Barkley next year). In an ideal world they'd trade down a few spots, pick up an extra second round pick and roll with that. Pick #4 is too high for Ryan Tannehill (widely regarded as the 2nd best QB prospect) so the poor Browns are really in a pickle here.
Many Cleveland fans want Trent Richardson with the pick here, especially since the team lost Peyton Hillis in free agency. However, I'm of the opinion (buffeted by recent history) that a team can get a very good running back later in the draft (Arian Foster and our own DeMarco Murray come to mind) and that the team should use it's pick here in a different fashion than Tannehill, Richardson, or even Justin Blackmon (who is considered the best receiver available this year).
Therefore, for the #4 pick, the Cleveland Browns take Morris Claiborne CB from LSU. Claiborne is obviously the best defensive player in this draft (many scouts rank him higher than Patrick Peterson from last year's draft) and is a guy who has no flaws to his game (Yes, I know he has forthcoming wrist surgery but that's a minor deal and not a concern). As we all know, the NFL has become a "passing" league and you must stop the pass.
The Browns already have a decent defense (they ranked 5th overall last season) but having a guy like Claiborne opposite Joe Haden would make their secondary one of the best in the NFL. That ain't nothing to sneeze at! For pure "value" and overall "upgrade" to the totality of the team, Claiborne offers more bang for the buck. Browns fans, get ready to have Mo Claiborne patrolling receivers and picking off passes from Flacco, Big Ben, and Dalton for the next decade! He's your new guy!
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS (lower number indicates higher priority) according to Drafttek.com
-- Threat Level Red (priority 1-2): Feature Wide Receiver
-- Threat Level Orange (priority 3-4): 43 Outside Backer, Strong Safety, Cornerback, Feature Running Back, Posession Receiver, Guard, Tight End, Quarterback
-- Threat Level Yellow (priority 5-6): 43 Middle Linebacker
-- Threat Level Green (priority 9): Free Safety, Slot Receiver, Center, Left Tackle
-- Drafttek.com ranked #4 Overall, #1 at the position
-- Wes Bunting, National Football Post: #2 Overall, #1 at the position
Impression: The top corner in this year's draft. He's tall and long which allows him to play big off the line. However, he showcases the footwork, balance and quick-twitch ability of a much smaller corner out of his breaks. With improved technique he should mature into one of the leagues best.
-- Scout.com ranked #6 overall, #1 at the position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #1 at the position
Man Coverage: Size, quick feet and reach allow him to be effective in press, press-bail and "off" coverage. Rarely loses a step off the line because of his length and subtle knack for maintaining contact on the move. Packs a solid punch when extending near the line to re-route receivers. Gives up significant weight and mass to top NFL receivers. Lazy and high in his backpedal on occasion, receivers lull him to sleep and get a step on him with a quick move.
Zone Coverage: Used primarily in man. Has the physical tools to handle zone and is not contact-shy. Doesn't give up many yards after the catch -- long arms to pull down receivers and intensity to stick his nose in the pile. Recovers well but overestimates his closing speed and angle in zone.
Ball Skills: Former receiver has the hands to make difficult catches and will jump routes. Comfortable with the ball, elusive and has good vision after the catch. Often plays the man and doesn't get his head around to find the ball.
Run Support: Used on run blitzes on occasion with size and length as a tackler. Holds up his man, maintains outside leverage, and sheds to make the tackle if needed on most plays. Has to be aware of coverage call and avoid overpursuit, giving up the sideline.
Tackling: Arm length and tenacious attitude make him a solid, if not fearsome, tackler on the edge. Height and flexibility to attack the thigh of opponents instead of needing to cut or grab an ankle. Not afraid to throw a shoulder but will miss tackles if he doesn't wrap in the NFL.
Intangibles: Stood up well to being targeted by teams in 2010 while playing across from Patrick Peterson. Still learning the position, but coaches and teammates consider him a great student.