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.” Scout.com 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.