NFL Mock Draft Review: 02/11/08

With the NFL Draft approximately two months away, I felt it would be a good time to test the Mock Draft waters.  There is no doubt that the Browns should be looking to bolster the defense as we head in to 2009.  But with only a small amount of cap space, George Kokinis and Eric Mangini will be forced to find an instant impact type player with the fifth overall selection.

Last year, Mangini selected former Ohio State Buckeye Vernon Gholston.  While many rookies flourished this past year, VG was obviously not one of them.  His career is still ahead of him, but the Browns can ill afford to select someone that will be considered a first-year flop.  To get a rough estimate of whom the Browns will be looking at come April, I decided to poll 20 separate Mock Drafts.  Some are main stream (ESPN, FoxSports).  Others range from team-specific blogs all the way to sites that specialize solely on the NFL Draft.  The results of this groundbreaking research are encapsulated in the very high-tech pie chart below.

If you’re surprised by the number of times that Malcolm Jenkins was named, you’re not alone.  I’m a big fan of the kid, but I just think that we need help up the middle a lot more than a lock-down corner.  And if you’re wondering what sort of reasoning we were given on the selections, I’ve decided to include a few responses below.

“As has been the case, well, forever, the Browns need to shore up their defense. The team shipped Leigh Bodden to Detroit in the Shaun Rogers trade, but Brandon McDonald can not, under any circumstances, be allowed to step foot on the field next season.” – AOL FanHouse for Malcolm Jenkins

“With new Head Coach Eric Mangini coming in, the 3-4 defense will be staying, and Curry, the nations #1 senior, will make an immediate impact. Aaron Curry is an amazing talent who is a great run stuffer as well as an excellent coverage man. In a simple sentence, ‘he can do it all.’” – NFL Draft Experts for Aaron Curry

“With Taylor Mays staying in school and Curry off the board, the Browns will look to provide depth to the secondary.  Eric Wright is developing into a true starting corner, but Brandon McDonald was a nightmare for most of the season.” Dawg Pound Daily for Malcolm Jenkins

“Brown’s pass-rushing skills would be a welcome addition to a Cleveland defense that notched only 17 sacks in 2008.” Todd McShay/ESPN for Everette Brown

“The Browns have improved in the secondary, but they need a front line CB who is a game-changer.  Jenkins is a cornerstone defender who will start right away.” for Malcolm Jenkins

Personally, I’m fully aboard the Aaron Curry train.  I think the kid would bring a much-needed presence to an mundane linebacking corps.  It should be noted that of the 13 Mock Drafts that have the Browns taking someone other than Curry, eight of them have the Wake Forest linebacker going ahead of the fifth pick.  One even has him going first overall to Detroit, which I think speaks volumes for how this kid is being rated across the board. 

One strange exclusion, which may have simply been due to the statistical nature of the sample, was Ray Malaluga from USC.  He has been frequently been coming off of the Mock boards around selection 12 (Denver). 

You guys can take it from here.  What say you on Jenkins?  Orakpo?  Do I have company on the Curry bandwagon?  Let’s hear it.

  • Craig

    Question… and I am on board with Curry from Wake, BUT…

    Would it surprise anyone if Maualuga ended up being the better player in the long run between he and Curry?

    I don’t think I would be surprised one bit.

  • hectorakacd

    Rey Mauluga!

    What makes the Ravens and Steelers so good? Their linebacking core. I’m sorry but Wimbley’s rookie season has been over for about 4 years now and he’s not repeated the effort yet. The Browns need a presence up the middle and rey Rey could be our Ray Lewis or Jerome Harrison. Antwaan Peak just, Kamerion, all them guys are freakin bums.

  • Chris M

    Curry sounds good to me right now, but isn’t this putting the cart in front of the horse, with the combine starting in 9 days?

  • RandyOSU

    Scott-from here I’d have to agree that Curry makes most sense at the Browns #5 slot, given the position he plays and impact he can have. (I said before, too bad Taylor Mays decided to stay, he would have been my pick). If the Brown did take Malcom Jenkins I’d not have a problem with that as he would clearly provide a big time need (along with the size we don’t have at CB). From what I’ve seen, Maulaluga is really not a 3/4 player, rather a classic 4/3 MLB.

    Viva la Mankok.

  • RandyOSU

    hector-what makes the Steelers d at lb is strong edge players in their 34 scheme, not necessarily middle linebackers (Maualuga). It’s an aggressive zone/blitz scheme where pressure typically comes from the edge (think Harrison/Porter/Woodley….). Nothing against Malualuga, but he’d get lost inside here particularly with Rogers. And…….I’ll say it again, Wimbley is one big fat bust……….so the need is doubled.

  • DP

    I’m on the Curry train if he’s there. I’m not a big fan of Orakpo after watching the Fiesta Bowl. I wouldn’t be mad with Jenkins, but if Curry is on the board at 5 he’d be my guy. I honestly think Wimbley can be a better player if there is someone to take some pressure off of him in the LB corps. And he learns another freaking move.

  • Craig

    I am with DP on this one as Randy and I have talked Wimbley before in the past. Wimbley looks like a bust, but I haven’t exactly had a lot of faith in the coaches on defense here in the past few years. I am hoping that someone can turn the light on for Wimbley from a coaching standpoint. Nobody could be worse than Romeo and Mel Tucker, I am guessing.

  • Tom

    NEVER take a cornerback in the top 10! If we take Jenkins I’ll eat my hat.

  • Craig

    Also, Chris M… I am not a big fan of the hype machine that follows the combine. All of a sudden dudes who didn’t prove as much on the field start to see their stocks rise because they can do running drills and jump over a car on the vertical test.

    My point about Maualuga vs. Curry was just that Maualuga was on the big stage and performed very well. Curry wasn’t on quite as big a stage and has a gaudy highlight reel. That isn’t to say he wouldn’t be overmatched on an NFL quality defense. I know this isn’t ultra scientific, but look at the YouTube clips… dude is fast, but how many times did Curry flush the QB and sack him untouched? That won’t happen very often in the NFL.

  • JackGonzo

    Everyone forgets that Mock Drafts is what I do…

    I went another route, I went with Eugene Monroe and Clay Matthews IF we stay at five. Read more there, especially as to why I don’t take Jenkins at five.

  • Scott

    Apologies, Jack. Was unaware. Please do not hesitate to send anything you feel would be worth while to the tips address to the right.

    Regarding your mock, I hope that they trade down before taking another OL….

  • Denton

    Curry and then Mike Mickens from U of Cincinnati in the second round. This years draft is hella deep in Corner’s.

    Another topic which I think should be discussed is who we should target (likely have a chance at getting) In free agency. I honestly doubt we are able to reel in the type of players that we’ve been able to get the past couple years because of Mangini and the whole terrible season debacle last year. Blah… All we can do is wait for next year.

  • Boomhauer

    Linebacker, linebacker, linebacker

  • Scotty P

    I saw one on yahoo yesterday where they had us taking Brown at #5 and that RB from Pitt in Rd2. Curry went to KC, Orakpo went at #9 and Maybin went 15. Which in earlier mocks, Maybin was our pick at 5.

  • Harv 21

    @DP: “… Wimbley can be a better player if there is someone to take some pressure off of him in the LB corps…” Well, yeah, but can’t you say that about everyone? And what kind of pressure is on him, other than one offensive lineman? He was taken near the top of the draft to create pressure on the offense himself, and help his mediocre teammates. Nice kid, but it looks like he has some work to do just to get to mediocre.

  • S-Dub

    I’ve been preaching Curry for a while now, But if he is off the board I think we gotta take the best Defensive player available and that will be Jenkins. Everette Brown is exactly what Wimbley was when he came out of the same exact school at FSU.

    I think there is some unfair criticism of B-Mac, many point to the Denver game, but what many didn’t see was the fact that our edge LB’s got 0 pressure on Jay Cutler and Denver has two stud WR’s in Marshall and Royal. I was at the game so I saw everything from the Dawg Pound view.

    Hopefully we can trade DA to the Vikings, Jets, Panthers or someone else who needs a QB for a later 1st or a 2nd and 3rd round pick. The first picks needs to be Defense, and the best defensive player available, which could be Jenkins OR B.J. Raji.

  • IRB?

    That pie chart is unbelievable. I knew you were good with photoshop, etc. but not THAT good.

    In terms of Taylor Mays, couldn’t we wait for next year??

  • SambofromOH

    I am hoping that we trade our #5 overall for Detroits #20 and #33 overalls. That works well for both teams. Detroit gets Stafford and a stud OT. While some mocks have Maulaluga going as late as 20 I dont think he will. Lauranitis should go right around then and we could find a second LB with one of two picks at the beginning of the second round.

  • buckeyeinnyc

    I think Curry is a great player and would be a great choice at #5, but if he’s not there I don’t think Jenkins is worth the 5 spot. I would like it if we traded out of the 5 spot (perhaps in the 15-20 range) and picked up picks.

  • bobby

    I am completely on board with Curry. If he is not there at 5, then I think that there will be some interesting scenarios for the browns as to trade down and get more picks, because one of the QBs or crabtree would still be on the board (look at trading with Jets, i heard they lost their QB, whoever he was). If Curry isnt there, I would want the browns to go down, but still get a top LB with the first selection. I wouldnt be too upset with OL, but LB is where we hurt.

    With the 2nd pick (perhaps in the 1st rd. depending on trades) I would go for 1 of three things, DB, LB or WR. I am huge on Hakeem Nicks from UNC, and would love to see the browns O with him since I do not think Joe J will be effective IF he even gets back. Getting 2 LBs that early would be huge too, could really jump start the D this year.

  • mgbode


    hopefully we are not top10 next year which is what it will likely take to get Taylor Mays

    also, if we lose Sean Jones in FA…no, we cannot wait until next year to get a new safety (either Chung @36 or Jenkins @5 and convert him like many scouts are predicting will be done with Jenkins)

  • bobby

    if we lose Jones, we can go after Jim Leonard from Baltimore. I could see him Pool and Adams rotating.

  • mgbode

    If we ended up with #20/33/36 picks…I would really want the following to unfold:

    20 – Alex Mack, C, Cal
    33 – whichever OLB falls out of the first round (Michael Johnson or Cushing preferred)
    36 – McCoy / H. Nicks / S. Greene – any of them would do just fine.

  • saggydan


    Does the name Polamalu ring a bell??

  • buckeyeinnyc

    any of the USC defensive players would be great – Malaluga, Cushing, et al – just not at #5
    I also think a RB is worth drafting. Shonn Green in the 2nd round?

  • bobby

    Heres a link to a story about the browns thats pretty interesting, didnt know where else to put it.

  • Lyon

    Curry scares me only because he played in a lesser conference. I’m just afraid of using a number 5 on a guy who does not play the best competition week in week out.

  • buckeyeinnyc

    Lyon, your concern is valid, but from what I’ve heard Curry is the closest thing to a “sure thing” in this draft.

  • Regis

    I’ll be happy if the Browns picked either of the following: Malcolm Jenkins cornerback Ohio State, Rey Maualuga inside linebacker USC or Aaron Curry outside linebacker Wake Forest. Jenkins is a crazy corner. Curry has had better games than Curry but only because Rey’s competition was better than Aaron’s. So either of the three would be fine for me.

  • Vic

    I’m definitely on the Curry bandwagon. I agree it would be a bit early to draft a CB, but the Browns definitely need help there. Taking Jenkins could still work out well, but I don’t know if he could live up to the value as the #5 overall.

  • Ricky

    @ 27, your afraid of Curry because he played in the ACC? Its not like he played in the MAC, and lets be real its not as if the Big Ten is all that great. Florida St and Miami send players to the NFL every year that are very successful

    I guess I’m the only person who thinks that Brandon McDonald strung some good games together at the end of the year and while he definitely had some bad games he definitely did not get any help from any sort of pass rush. If you sit there and tell me that he didn’t improve drastically as the year goes on then you’re lying

  • Ricky

    That isn’t to say I wouldn’t be in favor of Jenkins though, you need more than 2 good corners

  • bobby

    I would agree with ricky, getting better pass rushing/ run stopping players are more important then getting a DB early. I dont think Maulauga would be with the pick unless they trade down. Its way too early to get him from every realistic mock draft you look at.

  • Ezzie

    I’m still saying “TRADE DOWN! TRADE DOWN!” Also, I still think package DA and KWII to Minnesota for a great slew of picks including this year’s #1.

  • Mark

    Aaron Curry…I don’t know, he just reeks of Mike Junkin to me. Ok, so maybe the only similarity is the ACC school (Junkin went to Duke), but still…didn’t the theory used to be that you could get linebackers in later rounds? Thats the logic that dictated that whole Courtney Brown over LaVar Arrington decision. Oh wait…

  • Glaumdawg

    Curry all the way! However, Jenkins is an excellent consolation prize.

  • gogiggs

    I think the Browns need pass rush more than they need secondary. I also think they have an adequate enough line to make it worth drafting a RB, not at the top of the first round, but maybe later in day 1.
    Mostly, like Ezzie, I’d rather see them trade down and do what they can to load up on picks. I don’t want to see another high pick hold out, sign a huge deal and then be collecting $9 mil a year to stink up the field in 3 years, like Braylon Edwards.

  • Drew

    I am both a fan of all things Cleveland and a Wake Forest alum living in NC — Aaron Curry is for real. The kid is a giant at 6’4″ 260 with legit 4.5 speed. He is high energy player. Good run stuffer but probably a better cover linebacker — he has 6 picks as a linebacker with 3 TDS , including two 75+ yard returns. I would love to see the Browns get him and then CB Alphonso Smith in the second round.

    And never compare Duke to Wake Forest, I’ll personally deliver an eye jammie.

  • dwhit

    Re: Trading with the Lions… Does anyone else think the #33 pick isn’t enough to warrant moving down 15 slots from #5 to #20 in the first round? I’d be a little upset if we didn’t pick up a 5th rounder in something like that as well.

  • Brandon @ nologoneeded

    The answer simply must be Rey Maualuga. The Browns defense will struggle as long as they can’t stop the run as shown by the previous 10 years they have been back. Get strong up the middle and stop the run first. Then worry about other aspects of defense. Aaron Curry is not necessarily a fit inside in the 3-4. While he may be an athletic marvel, he doesn’t really fit outside in the 3-4 either. He is undersized and hasn’t been the pass rushing specialist that premier 3-4 outside linebackers like Demarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, Terrell Suggs, Joey Porter, and Lamarr Woodley have been. They were all college defensive ends that set school sack records.

  • RHaas

    I would love to see get Curry with the 5th pick. He isn’t the rush specialist that we need but from what I read he is a sure tackler and can drop back into coverage well. He is an all around solid player that can stay healthy. If he isn’t there I would like Jenkins. With him on one side and Wright on the other we would be set at the position for years to come.

    For our second round pick I have two guys I would like to see. If we get Curry I would love to see Sean Smith, CB for Utah. He is big at over 6’2″ tall. He started off as a WR for them and has excellent ball skills. They moved him during his freshman year to get him on the field. If we go for a RB in the second round I think it has to be LeSean McCoy. The main reason for this is that Mangini likes to have a RB that can catch the ball. Behind Moreno, McCoy is the best in this years draft. Since I don’t see the Browns trading back up to get Moreno, McCoy would be the next best available.

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