The upcoming 2009 NFL Draft is going to be very important for the Browns, mainly because it will be the first of the Kokinis-Mangini regime, giving fans an idea of how the next three years or so will shake out. Granted, the new GM will be at a slight disadvantage having been dealt a team without picks in the third, fifth, and seventh rounds. Something tells me there will be moves made to obtain draft picks. Here are some of the biggest draft needs of the Browns:
Linebacker – The great teams in the AFC North are known for having great linebackers. The corps of the Browns, however, are known for being beyond previously-known levels of suck. The defense needs a presence and that is certainly lacking among the linebackers. There is no such thing as a rush to this defense and when Willie McGinest is being talked about as your best linebacker at some points, there is a serious problem. Beau Bell, although he never played a snap during his rookie season, should be ready to provide depth in 2009, but the inside is still weak (then again, the outside is even more so). If Aaron Curry is still available at five, although I would not expect him to be, look for him to be donning the brown and orange. I do not believe that Rey Maualuga is a top-five talent.
Secondary – The secondary as a whole is in need of a major overhaul. Thus, the reason why I have the Browns taking Ohio State CB Malcolm Jenkins with the fifth overall pick; that is, if they do not trade down, and also because I have Curry already taken in my mocks. Eric Wright is developing into a solid cornerback and while I will agree that Brandon McDonald finished the season on a strong note, most of his season was a nightmare. Does anyone remember how laughable that Broncos game was? If the Browns are going to get serious about the defense, the secondary needs depth, and Jenkins will provide that. The safety position is also one in a state of flux, and Taylor Mays was ideal for some time before he decided to stay at school for fear of making the almighty Pete Carroll upset. However, the Browns should probably be more concerned with re-signing S Sean Jones.
Wide Receiver – All of a sudden, this has become one of the weaker units on the team. Braylon Edwards can’t seem to catch balls like he does in those Five Hour Energy commercials and Donte’ Stallworth was a significant bust. The return of Joe Jurevicius (hopefully) is much needed, but no one knows how long that will last.
Offensive Line – The right side of the line is a disaster. A new right offensive tackle and right guard would do wonders to an offense that went from high octane to setting new records of futility in just one year.
Defensive End – The Browns need playmakers at defensive end, or at least someone who knows what it means to put pressure on a quarterback. Julius Peppers is out there and wants to play in a 3-4, but is he just a pipe dream?
Running Back – Jamal Lewis is certainly not getting any younger, but at least he buys you a year to tend to more pressing positional needs. However, what the Browns do in free agency could dictate what they do in the draft in regards to a running back.
The Browns can go in a number of directions with the fifth overall pick. Everyone has seemingly fallen in love with Aaron Curry, but I wouldn’t expect him to fall to five. If that does become the case, Jenkins is the next forseeable option. However, I’m of the belief that the Browns will explore every opportunity to make a few trades and obtain as many picks as possible. In other words, for the love of all things that are holy, please trade Derek Anderson. A team like the Jets is in desperate need of a quarterback and Anderson will likely bring in a few picks – perhaps a third-rounder or even a second-rounder to a crazy enough team
What do you think?