Two Rd. NFL Mock Draft: Building The Defense
Oct 5, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (12) is stopped by the Cleveland Browns defense on a fourth down conversion attempt during the second half at LP Field. The Browns beat the Titans 29-28. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
While you were looking at these three picks you likely found yourself asking about the offense, we will talk about that in a second. First, adding Shelton, Armstead and McKinney would quickly upgrade the worst unit on the Browns team: their rush defense. No longer would teams be able to run down our throats. No longer would Pettine have to send more men to try to stop the run, opening up play action passing lanes. And no longer would we see undrafted free agents, free agents no team had signed for half the season or players passed their prime starting for the Browns on the defensive line.
With the run defense now stout the Browns great pass defense would have an equal partner. Teams struggled to throw on the Browns, with some exceptions that included play action passing. Now with the Browns locking down the run defense, without sacrificing any pass rush or pass defense, the Browns identity as a defense first team would be cemented, with no weaknesses.
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That is a great benefit for the offense. The offense doesn’t have to be great to be complimentary, ask Seattle. Instead if the Browns can push their running attack and short passing game to give their defense time to get rest, the team should be in, and win, many games. The Browns have a good to great offensive line when everyone is healthy and they love their 3 young backs in Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West and Glenn Winston. Keeping the chains moving, grinding clock and not turning the ball over is all that will be needed from them.
The good news for the offense is that the stout defense should cause a ton of turnovers. Backs will try to get extra yards, exposing the ball to being stripped, quarterbacks will have to try to squeeze the ball in to tight windows and receivers will feel pressure to make plays. All of that should give the Browns offense the ball in good position regularly. This is especially true when the defense can finally stop first and second down runs.
These three picks, along with re-signing Tashaun Gipson, would give the Browns an elite defense. They would likely be ranked in the Top 5 of most important categories, thus making the game far easier for the offense. The Browns would also have 7 more picks to look to upgrade their offense, in a draft that is deep at wide receiver and offensive linemen but not so much at quarterback or tight end.
How dominate do you think these three picks would make the Browns defense?
Next: La'El Collins Draft Profile: Fits Browns Offensive Line