Cleveland Browns Can Build On A Major Strength In The 2012 NFL Draft

By Andrew Limpert

The Browns can take Robert Griffin III.  The Browns can trade up for Andrew Luck.  They can draft playmakers in LaMichael James and TY Hilton.  But there is one thing the Browns cannot ignore in this draft.  That is the need for defensive playmakers.

The current Browns defense is already pretty good.  They kept the Browns in games when the offense did nothing.  But as good as they are they need more playmakers on that side of the ball.  For starters, the Browns need another linebacker.  They seem content to play with both Jackson and Gocong at this point.  However, another outside linebacker is needed.  That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns decide to take a chance on Vontaze Burfict.  While he is a great talent, he does tend to play out of control at times.  He has a reputation for committing personal fouls in his time at Arizona State.  Normally I would reluctant to take a player who has his reputation.  But I realize that he is simply an intense player.  All the personal fouls can be worked on with coaching and having a mentor like D’Qwell Jackson to help him grow as a player in the NFL.  He is exactly the player the Browns need.  He can be a player with both the physical tools to play the position and attitude and intensity to become a feared NFL linebacker.

But a linebacker is not enough.  The Browns need help at defensive end as well.  Jabaal Sheard had an excellent rookie season.  But a compliment is needed for him at the other defensive end slot.   Cam Johnson from Virginia could be a good option.  He has good size and good speed to close in on a quarterback.  What I love about him though is the fact he played through injury in the 2011 season.  His toughness and good first step after the snap make him an intriguing prospect.  There are many other defensive playmakers the Browns could select.  Burfict and Johnson are just two examples.  But regardless of who is selected, the Browns need to find defensive playmakers to complete the defense.  Offensive playmakers do have the priority.  Never the less, they can’t ignore the defense all together.  A few more impact players could make this good defense even better.

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