2012 NFL Mock Draft : What Would A Defensive Draft Look Like For The Cleveland Browns?

By Andrew Limpert

Most Cleveland Browns fans have been calling for offensive players in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.  I personally believe that is the right way to go.  However, it is tempting to consider taking defensive players to add to an already competitive defense.  With that thought it mind, what would a defensive first round look like?

Well, for starters, if the Browns were to go defensive minded, they would have addressed several key position issues in free agency.  The Browns could decide that Colt McCoy can continue to develop with the right offensive weapons.  Or they could choose to go with a signal caller in free agency.  Matt Flynn would be the most likely candidate.  But players like Jason Campbell and Kyle Orton can’t be ignored either.  And they would have their eyes on speedy wide receivers that can be found in the second to fourth rounds.  Players like Joe Adams and TY Hilton come to mind.

Now when it comes to defensive players, the fourth overall pick is a tough spot to be in.  The highest ranked defensive player is Morris Claiborne from LSU.  The talented cornerback would certainly be a great addition.  The idea of pairing him up with Haden would create an awesome defensive back field.  But if cornerback is not the addition to you want, then you most likely would have to trade down.  Quinton Coples, defensive end from North Carolina, wouldn’t be too much of a reach at four overall.  But there are questions about his attitude
and playing style.  May not be worth taking that high. Towards the middle of the first round, you will find more  defensive players.  Luke Kuechly is one of the top linebackers available.   He is a very instinctive player who always seems to be around the ball.  There is also the very talented weak side linebacker Zach Brown from North Carolina.  Defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Whitney Mercilus are available.  They are both intense players who can get to the quarterback regularly.  But why would the Browns take these kinds of players over
the popular offensive candidates?  Well the answer can be found by looking at the teams in the AFC North.  When you look at teams like the Steelers and Ravens, you think of dominating defenses.  And while you may think of their offenses, the defenses are defiantly their stronger side.  To win in the AFC North, as well as in the NFL as a whole, you must have a killer defense.  The Browns already have a pretty good defense.  But imagine for a moment what it could be.  Jabaal Sheard had a great season at defensive end.  What if he had a powerful compliment on the other end of the defensive line?  Joe Haden and TJ Ward have been great in the defensive backfield.  What if Morris Claiborne joined them?  D’Qwell Jackson had a standout year this season.  Chris Gocong emerged as a starting linebacker.  What if Zach Brown or Luke Kuechly was there lined up with them?  Put together two of those scenarios and imagine what the Browns defense could be. It would be a pretty darn good defense that will defiantly scare some people.

Obviously the call to arms on offense is greater than the call for defense.  Both sides of the ball will be addressed in the draft.  But one cannot help but wonder about the defensive side of the ball.  What could defensive playmakers do for our defense?  Could they make our defense elite?  I guess day dreaming about taking defensive players make the offensive situation even worse.  If the Browns had a half way decent offense, there would be more discussion about defense players.  Of course, if we did have a half way decent offense, we probably wouldn’t be talking about the fourth overall pick either.  So most, including myself, will continue to explore the possibilities with offensive players.  But at least for a moment, it’s fun to think about building on a strength.  Perhaps the Browns will be able to do this in coming years.  We can only hope.

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