Archive for the ‘Cleveland Browns’ Category

Draft Preview: Cleveland Browns

April 7, 2009
Pick 5: Cleveland Browns
Strengths: Offensive skill positions
Weaknesses: Pass rush, chemistry
The Pick: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Like his counterpart in Seattle, new Browns coach Eric Mangini brings a defense-centric mindset to Cleveland. Outside of the fact that he’s grossly overrated as a head coach, that makes Man-genuis a great candidate to right the Browns’ ship. The Brownies finished 26th in total defense last season. If you’re looking for the main culprit in this collapse, consider that Cleveland finished next to last in the league with a putrid 17 sacks.

So, Homerism agrees with the conventional wisdom that this team desparately needs a pass rusher. A hybrid linebacker-defensive end would work well in Mangini’s 3-4 defensive scheme. However, if the Browns really want to get after the quarterback, they should go with a true defensive end.

Orakpo tormented opposing passers pretty consistently throughout his career in Austin. As a senior he took his game to another level, earning defensive player of the year in the Big 12. Granted, that was a bit like winning the tallest midget award in 2008, but Orakpo is legit. For instance, Orakpo thoroughly dominated Oklahoma tackle Phil Loadholt in the Red River Shootout, and the Texas defensive end’s absence in the loss to Texas Tech made it look like the Longhorns were trying to defend the Air Raid with a hand tied behind their backs.
Other defensive ends such as Aaron Maybin may appear to have a higher ceiling. Yet, none can boast Orakpo’s combination of talent and on-field production. He is the premier pass rusher in the draft this year.