Needs: DE, DT, LB, S, CB
After a season where they registered only 17 sacks and gave up 350 points (nearly 22 points a game!), look for Cleveland to spend their number 5 overall pick on a playmaker on defense. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who led the league in tackles, is the focal point of a defense that ranked near the bottom of the league in rushing defense and overall defense. You can’t win games in the National Football League if you can’t stop the run.
Choice #1: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The Browns run a 3-4 defense, which requires fast linebackers and talented lineman to still penetrate. They got no penetration last season. Orakpo is a great fit for this defense because he can put his hand on the ground and play end or stand up and play linebacker. His versatility was a weapon that made him effective at Texas. In 2008, Orakpo notched 19 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. This man-beast can get in the backfield. By the looks of it, no one else on the Browns can.
Choice #2: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College / Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Either way, look for the Browns to beef up their d-line. A big DT is a must for any 3-4 defense. The Browns currently have Shaun Rogers, but he isn’t getting any younger. Raji is young and has the frame for an outstanding DT at 6 foot 1, 337 pounds. He will engulf blockers for the Browns linebackers to penetrate and run wild. As for Aaron Maybin, he is very similar to Orakpo in his versatility and talent. Orakpo has more upside, though. At the end of the day, it may come to preference as to which player the Browns like better: Maybin or Orakpo.
Pierce’s Current Mock Draft:
1. Lions – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
2. Rams – Jason Smith, OL, Baylor
3. Chiefs – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
4. Seahawks – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
5. Browns – Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas