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Tag:Cleveland
Posted on: April 27, 2011 11:07 am
 

Cleveland Browns Draft Preview

CLEVELAND BROWNS

   2010 record: 5-11, third place AFC North

2011 draft rundown

   Eight total picks (round): 6 (1), 37 (2), 70 (3), 102 (4), 137 (5), 168 (6), 170 (6), 248 (7) 

Top needs:

   Pass-rushing lineman: The Browns are switching to a 4-3 defense and must find a way to pressure the quarterback. It could come from and end or a tackle with their first pick, depending on who is left when the Browns pick sixth.

   Wide receiver: If finding pass rushers is Priority One, then finding a wide receiver with speed who can catch and run after making the catch is 1A. The Browns do not have a home-run hitter to star in Pat Shurmur's West Coast offense. The Browns will have a difficult decision to make if A.J. Green is available when they make their first pick.

   Cornerback: The Browns are unlikely to take a cornerback with their first pick, but they could be tempted to take one in the second round. Right now, they have Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown set on the corners. Eric Wright is a free agent. They could take a cornerback in the second round and move Brown to nickel back.

   Right tackle: The right side of the offensive line is unstable. John St. Clair, who started 10 games last year, was released. Tony Pashos was healthy for only three games. He played only five games in 2009 when he was with the 49ers. Floyd Womack is a free agent.

First pick focus

   6th overall

   --The Browns are knee-deep in needs, so any player they pick with the number six selection will help immediately. One of the dynamic duo of receivers, A.J. Green and Julio Jones, could help Colt McCoy continue to improve in his sophomore season. Potential difference-makers on defense abound, as well, though Nick Fairley, Da'Quan Bowers and Richard Quinn have significant question marks. The cleanest player may be cornerback Patrick Peterson, who would help President Mike Holmgren put together a strong corner duo with last year's first-rounder from the SEC, Joe Haden.

Five names on Browns' board
  --DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  --WR Julio Jones, Alabama
  --DT Nick Fairley, Cleveland
  --CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
  --WR A.J. Green, Georgia 

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Browns, Cleveland
 
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:47 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:54 pm
 

'Fairley' dominant game won't push DT to No. 1

For those who have watched Auburn's Nick Fairley dominate the competition all year long, last night's performance against Oregon in the BCS Championship game was no surprise. Even the comparisons to the Detroit's Pro Bowl rookie Ndamukong Suh used by ESPN announcer Kirk Herbstreit had been used before.

The reality is, however, many had not seen Fairley play until last night's game -- including some NFL general managers.

The 6-5, 299 pound Fairley was his typically disruptive self, posting five tackles, including three tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Oregon tried beating with with traps, double-teams and having QB Darron Thomas "read" him in an effort to slow down the big fella and nothing worked consistently.

The All-American finished his junior season with an eye-popping 60 tackles including nearly half of them behind the line of scrimmage (24 for a loss of 106 yards) and 11.5 sacks.

And yet for as dominant as Fairley was last night, he isn't likely to have moved himself into position to be taken with the first overall pick.

Why? There are two reasons.

For one, scouts are rightfully afraid that he is a bit of a one year wonder. Fairley did little to stand out in his first season at Auburn after transferring from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in Mississippi. Starting two of 13 games, Fairley posted 28 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss.

There is no denying Fairley's talent - I've had scouts tell me he's the most gifted player in the country - but few teams have been willing to gamble a high first round pick on a "one year wonder" at defensive tackle since some high profile busts of similar players in the early part of the decade. The Browns (Gerard Warren), Jets (Dewayne Robertson) and Saints (Johnathan Sullivan)  each devoted top six picks to flashy SEC defensive tackles whose stock was based largely off of one dominant season and that tantalizing thought of "upside."

More importantly, Fairley is simply a poor fit for the 3-4 defense Carolina may incorporate if they do hire San Diego's defensive coordinator Ron Rivera as is being widely reported.

EDIT - Rivera played and coached extensively out of the 4-3 alignment during his time with the Bears (player and coach) and Eagles before becoming the Chargers defensive coordinator --

Fairley's best attribute -- his explosive burst upfield - makes him a prototypical fit as a three-technique defensive tackle in the 4-3 alignment -- just as he was being used last night (and all year long) by Auburn. His long arms make it possible that he could make the transition to the 3-4, but it would be a waste of his talents to put him at defensive end in the odd man front, especially considering that the "money" man in this alignment is at nose guard. Fairley, for as dominant as he is, is special due to his quickness, not extraordinary strength -- a requirement to play the zero technique in the 3-4.

Of course, with Carolina expected to strongly pursue any trade offers out of the No. 1 pick, a teaming built around the 4-3 and willing to gamble on Fairley's upside could still make him the No. 1 pick.

As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com.

Posted on: March 10, 2010 7:06 pm
 

Husky defenders surprise at UW Pro Day

Washington inside linebacker Donald Butler made a strong impression at the Senior Bowl, earning himself a late invitation to the Combine after being passed over initially.

Then he surprised scouts in Indianapolis with his strength; leading all linebackers with 35 repetitions of 225 pounds. A sprained ankle suffered in Mobile kept him out of the rest of the drills, however.

Healthy, Butler helped himself Wednesday in Seattle, running in the high 4.6s to low 4.7s, according to those in attendance, and leading all participants with a 35.5" vertical jump.

While Butler may have solidified his reputation as one of more unheralded inside linebackers of this class, the player who helped himself the most was clearly pass rusher Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

Scouts (and I, as well) had often characterized Te'o-Nesheim as a try-hard, limited athlete with little to offer NFL teams in terms of upside. He leaves UW as a four-year starter and the team's career leader with 30 sacks. However, he helped his cause with a solid performance at the Combine, ranking among the best defensive linemen in the vertical jump (37), 3-cone drill (6.91) and short shuttle (4.18).

At the Washington Pro Day Wednesday, Te'o-Nesheim proved both bigger (6-3 1/2, 267 pounds) and faster (4.63) that scouts expected.

Considering his straight-line speed and the surprising agility he's shown during drills, a number of teams are beginning to look at Te'o-Nesheim as a rising prospect for the 3-4 rush linebacker position. I felt that he could be successful in this role due to his pass rush ability and instincts. There are few players in the country who play with greater and more consistent hustle and intensity that he did throughout his career.

The Combine and Pro Day drills often identify workout warriors whose film doesn't back up the athleticism they show in shorts.

For Te'o-Nesheim, who I once characterized as a likely priority free agent,  the surprising athleticism he's showing during these drills could really boost his stock -- perhaps to the middle rounds.

Seattle, San Diego, Cleveland and Indianapolis were among the teams represented at Washington's Pro Day.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com