2011 NFL Draft: Pat Shurmur Believes First Round Trade With Falcons Was Historic

A look at the latest news and notes leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft

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Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft Recap: Browns' New Class Filled With Balance, Talent

Mike Holmgren and the Cleveland Browns were wheeling and dealing on draft weekend, making sure the Browns improve off of their 3rd place finish in 2010. At least on paper, it appears as though the Browns have done just that. After trading down with the Atlanta Falcons and then moving back up with the Chiefs, the Browns came away with one of the more balanced draft classes in the league.

Probably the most telling thing from this draft was that Holmgren did not draft a quarterback as he’d promised, indicating his confidence in young Colt McCoy, at least for the time being.

1. First Round, 21st overall: Phil Taylor, DL, Baylor

There was a lot of speculation that Taylor was the top 3-4 nose tackle in the draft, making it odd that the Browns decided to take him with their first pick and start the rebuild of their 4-3 scheme. However, Taylor has very quick feet, showed a lot of maturity in his game this past season, and could be a Pat Williams type of player for the Browns’ new look defense. At 6’4" 330 pounds, he is a mauler who will take up space and can provide a little bit more than just gap clogging. The name of Taylor’s game is playmaking, and the Browns have to be excited about what he brings for the future.

2. Second Round, 37th overall: Jabaal Sheard, Defensive End, Pittsburgh

Sheard was the Big East player of the year for Pitt and is one of the more underrated pass rushers in the draft. He will likely start for the Browns as the weak-side defensive end and is not bad against the run by any means, at least not by what his size would indicate. This is a guy who is going to come in and bring intensity and the ability to sack the quarterback. He had some minor character concerns at Pitt, which is why he fell to the 2nd round.

3. Second Round, 59th overall: Greg Little, Wide Receiver, North Carolina

At 6’3" 230 pounds, Little has drawn comparisons to Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall. The former Tar Heel is simply a playmaker, but he really has boom or bust potential for the Browns. This is the third straight character concern player they drafted, but apparently Mike Holmgren isn’t worried about it. Little has the chance to be an early contributor for the Browns, and if you’re a fantasy football player, he could be a real sleeper as a third receiver.

4. Fourth Round, 102nd overall: Jordan Cameron, Tight End, USC

This is another gutsy pick from Holmgren, but one that on paper I really like. Cameron was a top five TE prospect on my board, and has excellent ability and potential. He is one of those “basketball” style tight ends who will be a great vertical threat in the Browns’ offense. He is a phenomenal athlete with a ton of speed for his size, and he reminds me of Tony Scheffler.

5. Fourth Round, 124th overall: Owen Marecic, Fullback/Linebacker, Stanford

This was probably the coolest pick of the entire Browns draft. Owen Marecic is a guy who played both ways at Stanford, and won the award for the country’s most versatile player. He is a hard-nosed runner who loves to hit—sound familiar?

The thought of pairing Marecic with Peyton Hillis in the backfield is one of the more interesting things NFL fans have to think about in the next few months as we await free agency and normal football activity to begin once again. Marecic will be a great fit for this offense, and can also be a strong contributor on special teams.

6. Fifth Round, 137th overall: Buster Skrine, Cornerback, UT-Chattanooga

Buster Skrine is a very raw prospect, but he has a ton of upside for the Browns. He is a supreme athlete with the requisite size, speed, and athletic ability that you look for in a starting quarterback. Now, he was very inconsistent at UTC, and that is why he dropped this far. The Browns got a great athlete, but what they need to do is mold him into a great player. Right now, he will contribute on special teams, and develop as a nickel or dime defensive back for the Browns.

7. Fifth Round, 150th overall: Jason Pinkston, Offensive Lineman, Pittsburgh

This was a great value pick for the Browns, because not too long ago, Pinkston was considered a second round prospect. There’s obviously a reason he fell this far, but the upside is still there. Pinkston can play guard or tackle, but scouts think he projects best to guard at the professional level. He is a powerful blocker who drew rave reviews at the draft from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.

8. Seventh Round, 248th overall: Eric Hagg, Safety, Nebraska

This was one of the best picks the Browns made. Not because Hagg is going to be the ultimate steal at this pick, but I believe he is one of the hardest working players that was available in the draft, and he is also a guy who will be a special teams ace in the NFL, and what more can you ask of this pick?

Hagg’s scouting report reads, “Productive, durable, and reliable in coverage.” That’s a pretty solid seventh round pick, if you ask me.


I absolutely hate to grade a draft before it has the chance to perform, but on paper this is a boom or bust draft. It could be an A+, or it could be a D. I will say, for now, that this draft was in the B to B+ range, because I like the risks that Holmgren is taking and I believe in taking calculated risks.

Hopefully the Browns can build off of a season that showed promise, potential, and something of a future with this draft.


2011 NFL Draft: Browns First Fourth Round Pick Is TE Jordan Cameron

It seems the Browns are devoted to giving Colt McCoy as many big play guys as he can get. And with the fifth pick in the fourth round, USC TE Jordan Cameron is just that. The former basketball player at BYU had a tough time adjusting to the college game and never really found his role, but there is no doubt about his athleticism.

At 6'5", 254 lbs, Cameron is perfect for jump balls and takes his basketball instincts with him into a receiver role. He absolutely needs to build strength and learn how to block if he wants to stay on the football field for extended periods of time in the NFL, but fans have to believe that the Browns are looking at the natural Anthony Gates and Tony Gonzalez comparison with regards to Cameron. It is important to note that it will take time for the Browns to get Cameron up to speed and learn the intricacies of the pro game.

This is low-risk pick, but I do believe Cameron would have been there later on for the Browns second fourth rounder. It is obvious that Cleveland was very high on the Southern Cal tight end, and I wouldn't be surprised if they trade back into the fourth for another pick or two in hopes of finding another instant impact player.


2011 NFL Draft Results: Cleveland Browns Select Wide Receiver Greg Little

The Cleveland Browns made their second pick of the 2nd Round in the 2011 NFL Draft, selecting wide receiver Greg Little from North Carolina. Little, coached by former Browns coach Butch Davis, has great size – 6-2 1/2, 230 lbs. – and is a perfect fit for the West Coast Offense the Browns will employ in 2011.

Mike Holmgren had promised quarterback Colt McCoy that he would get the young signal-caller some weapons, and after addressing the defense with their first two picks of the Draft they Browns finally did so, getting Little to had a big target to the Browns offense.

Little ran a 4.5/40 with a 40.5" vertical. Little joins DT Phil Taylor, whom the Browns drafted with the 21st pick in the draft and defensive end Jabaal Sheard from Pittsburgh with their first of two picks in the second round.

Unless the Browns make a deal, they are done for today.


Jabaal Sheard Selected By Cleveland Browns With Second Round Pick Of The 2011 NFL Draft

The Cleveland Browns selected defensive end Jabaal Sheard with the 37th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, deciding to shore up the defensive line with their first of two picks in Friday’s second round.

Sheard is a 6-foot-3, 264-pound pass rusher who played pretty well as a senior last season for Pittsburgh and should fit in well with Mike Holmgren’s 4-3 scheme this season as he’s got the speed and quickness — if not the size — to provide consistent pressure.

According to SB Nation’s NFL Draft blog Mocking The Draft, Sheard is going to be a developmental player with a chance to help out on passing situations early as well as possible player that could be moved to linebacker due to his ability in pursuit.

With the selection Phil Taylor from Baylor in the first round, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Browns buck the trend of picking defensive lineman with their next pick, the 59th overall, later Friday evening.


2011 NFL Draft: A Look At The Cleveland Browns Remaining Picks

With the first round craziness complete and things settling down a bit, it's a good time to go over just what picks the Cleveland Browns have remaining in the 2011 NFL Draft. The second and third rounds are Friday night, with the remaining rounds finishing up on Saturday.

Here is what the Browns have to work with:

Second Round:
5th pick (37th overall)
27th pick (59th overall)

Third Round
None (6th pick (70th overall) traded to Kansas City to allow the Browns to move from 27 to 21 for their selection of DT Phil Taylor)

Fourth Round
5th (102nd overall)
27th (124th overall)

Fifth Round
6th (137th overall)

Sixth Round
3rd (168th overall--from Denver as a result of the Brady Quinn trade)
5th (170th overall)

Seventh Round
45th (248th overall --compensatory pick)
Note: Browns original 7th round pick traded to Seattle as part of the Seneca Wallace deal.

That gives the Browns eight remaining picks in this year's draft, a number that should net the team a number of players who can contribute right away as long as the front office has an established plan in place and can effectively scout the class out there.

Obviously, Cleveland still has needs at DE, WR, OT, CB and LB, and the second round will go a long way toward addressing those needs. It makes a lot of sense for the team to focus on DE with their first second rounder, and if Da'Quan Bowers does fall in their laps, it will be hard not to draft him as a risk/reward option. The medical concerns are obviously keeping teams away, but his talent level is very high, and if the knee can hold up, he has the potential to be very productive.

It also isn't out of the question that the Browns start feeling out other teams to see if those with quarterback needs are interested in trying to snag TCU's Dalton or Ryan Mallett. If the Browns can trade down in the second and snag another couple draft picks, I don't see that being a bad thing.

This team needs a lot of help, and every bullet in the chamber counts at this point. Regardless, the first four picks of the second round will go a long way toward deciding what the Browns next direction is, and what their strategy will be for the remainder of the draft.


2011 NFL Draft Picks: Cleveland Browns Receive Praise From Media

How good was the Cleveland Browns' first-round on Thursday? While many fans seemed to have an initial hostile reaction, things turned out very well for Tom Heckert and company. Peter King noted earlier that the only player the Browns would have stayed at No. 6 overall for was A.J. Green, who was taken by Cincinnati at No. 4 overall.

Forget about the fact that the Browns lost a third round pick in moving up to draft Baylor's Phil Taylor. Let's take a look at the "net" gain for Cleveland, considering players like Marcel Dareus, A.J. Green, and Patrick Peterson were off the board:

  • They got Phil Taylor at No. 21 overall, who fills a need on the defensive line
  • They now have two second round picks instead of one
  • They lost a third, but they now have two fourth round picks
  • The icing on the cake is that next year, the Browns have two first rounders and two fourth rounders

Over at Dawgs By Nature, we took a greater look as to why the way things unfolded last night made for an "excellent" first round for the Browns. Heckert praised Taylor for his ability to stop the run, something that is always important in the AFC North. Heckert shot down any rumors of Taylor still having character or injury issues too. For the criticism Taylor received for not being an every-down guy, he certainly played a lot more than Nick Fairley did.

Also at Dawgs By Nature, one of the writers took a look at a favorable defensive scheme the Browns could run that would make fans very happy.

As we look toward the second round, one of the hot topics will be whether or not the Browns take a flier on defensive end Da'Quan Bowers. Most mock drafts had him being the Browns' first-round draft pick at No. 6 overall a couple of months ago, but his injury concerns caused him to fall out of the first round. The Browns took Montario Hardesty last year in round two despite his injury history; could they do the same with Bowers?

Cleveland has two second-round picks for Friday, as the draft starts at 6:00 PM EST.


2011 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Execute Trade To Select DT Phil Taylor

The Cleveland Browns are wheeling and dealing in the 2011 NFl Draft.  After acquiring five draft picks in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons to move down from #6 to #27, the Browns made another deal, this time with the Kansas City Chiefs, to move up six spots to #21.  Their target, defensive tackle Phil Taylor from Baylor.  Taylor is a mountain of a man - Taylor goes 6-4, 340 - who has risen on draft boards throughout the NFL since the Senior Bowl in February.

There are some character concerns, however.  Taylor began his college career at Penn State before running into trouble after his involvement in a fight at a frat party.  Taylor was dismissed from the Nittany Lions and landed at Baylor where he blossomed as a college football player.

With the pick being announced by Madden '12 coverboy Peyton Hillis, Taylor will fit right in on a defense that needed a replacement for Shaun Rogers on the interior of the defensive line.

Details of the trade are below:


21st Overall Pick


27th Overall Pick

3rd Round Pick(70)


2011 NFL Draft: Could The Cleveland Browns Be Moving Back Up?

According to Aaron Goldhammer of ESPN 850 AM Radio, there are rumors that the Cleveland Browns could move back up from the No. 27 overall pick if a player they want is still available. Some of the defensive linemen are slipping, and the team could be considering the option of taking Da’Quan Bowers if his injury causes him to fall that far.


2011 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Make Deal With Atlanta Falcons For Sixth Pick

The Atlanta Falcons feel they are a Super Bowl team.  The Cleveland Browns are trying to get there.  Keep those two thinngs in mind when looking at the trade the two teams pulled off for the 6th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  The Browns, having missed out on the top-5 players in the draft, accepted a deal from the Atlanta Falcons that gives them plenty of flexibility and plenty of firepower - this year and in years to come.

Cleveland gave up the sixth overall pick in the draft and will receive a total of five picks in the 2011 and 2012 draft.  Quite the haul for a team continuing to rebuild.

Atlanta will send the Browns their 1st Round pick(27th overall), their 2nd round pick(59th overall) and their 4th round pick(124th overall) in the 2011 draft as well as their 1st and 4th round picks in the 2012 draft.  For their effort, the Falcons were able to select Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, a player the Falcons feel will put them over the top.

A summary of the trade:


6th Overall Pick


27th Overall Pick

2nd Round PIck(59)

4th Round Pick(124)

2012 1st Round and 4th Round Pick


Rumored NFL Draft Trades Between Cleveland Browns And Atlanta Falcons Or New England Patriots

The Cleveland Browns are currently the “hot” team in the league right now when it comes to possibly trading down in the first round of the draft, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.

There are many teams who have reportedly inquired about moving up, but the three teams drawing the most speculation are the New England Patriots, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Tennessee Titans.

Here is what the Patriots would be interested in doing:

ESPN reported that the Patriots have shown an interest in moving up. A league source said the Patriots have spoken to the Browns about the sixth pick and Quinn would be the likely target, although receiver Julio Jones and cornerback Patrick Peterson cannot be discounted. The Patriots could package the 17th and 28th picks to move up. Or the 17th, 60th (second round), 74th (third), and perhaps a late pick.

Per Jay Glazer of FOXSports, the Falcons are really trying to move into the top seven to get A.J. Green or Patrick Peterson, and the Browns are one of the top teams they could try to pull off a deal with.

Lastly, King’s initial report is where the speculation for the Titans moving up or other teams moving up came from:

If Gabbert’s there, as Mayock and Gosselin project he will be, there’s a chance the Browns could get a good extra pick (from Tennessee, moving up two spots) or more (from a QB-needy team down in the round).

It will certainly be interesting when the Browns are on the clock to see whether or not Tom Heckert pulls off a deal. For all your Browns coverage and a live thread during the draft, head on over to Dawgs By Nature, our Cleveland Browns affiliate.


Todd McShay's Latest 2011 NFL Draft Buzz: Texans Trading up For Peterson?

Todd McShay, head of Scouts, Inc. and one of the lead NFL Draft analysts at ESPN has a couple of nuggets on potential changes at the top of the draft.

McShay first notes that the Denver Broncos might be keying in on Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller even though all along it has seemed like Marcell Dareus was “their guy”. The Broncos pick 2nd as of right now, and are a candidate to possibly trade down.

One team who might be looking to trade down in the first round according to McShay is the Arizona Cardinals, who might be a perfect candidate to trade with the Houston Texans. McShay predicts that the Texans will try to move up into the top ten and take LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

McShay also noted that the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots could be in talks for a trade. Per McShay, the Patriots want to trade up presumably to take Cal DL Cam Jordan, and the Cowboys feel like they can move down and still get the offensive tackle of their choosing.


2011 NFL Draft Picks For Cleveland Browns, Per Round

Here is a list of the picks the Cleveland Browns currently have for the 2011 NFL Draft:

  • Round 1: No. 6 overall
  • Round 2: No. 37 overall
  • Round 3: No. 70 overall
  • Round 4: No. 102 overall
  • Round 5: No. 137 overall
  • Round 6: No. 168 overall
  • Round 6: No. 170 overall
  • Round 7: No. 248 overall

Round 1 is on April 28th at 8:00 PM EST. Rounds 2-3 are on April 29th starting at 6:00 PM EST. Rounds 4-7 are on April 30th starting at noon.


2011 NFL Draft: SB Nation's Final Mock Has Browns Looking Quinn

While many other 2011 NFL Mock Drafts have progressed their way from the Browns taking a WR to a DE and back again to a WR in the final mocks before the first pick is announced, SB Nation draft guru Brian Galliford has the Browns sticking with a defensive player in UNC defensive end Robert Quinn.

Quinn has been a trendy pick for Cleveland for the last few weeks. They worked him out, and despite him missing the entire 2011 season, the Browns are very high on his upside and physical tools. Via Galliford:

6. Cleveland Browns: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina. Green or Peterson will go here if available; if not, it's imperative that the team get Dick Jauron a defensive building block. Quinn barely trumps Nick Fairley.

Now, it is important to make note of the fact that Brian does have A.J. Green or Patrick Peterson going to the Browns if they do slip to No. 6, and I fully agree. If LSU's Peterson is available, that would be the steal of the draft. Many draft experts have Peterson as the best player on the board if need is not factored into the conversation. Having him covering the field with Joe Haden will lock down receivers and give whichever defensive players the Browns do have more time to get pressure on the quarterback.

And obviously, the reasoning for taking Georgia's stud receiver is obvious. The Browns need a playmaker desperately, and Green is far too great a talent to pass up.

Mel Kiper still sees Cleveland reaching for Julio Jones, and that's not a horrible idea. The differential between Green and Jones and the rest of the WRs in the draft is striking. At the end of the day, I still believe one of Peterson or Green will be available, and the decision will be easy. There will be DEs who can help immediately in the second round, and I fully expect the Browns to go that route.

And not that it has a direct relation to the draft as a whole, but if the Browns do not take a flier on Plaxico Burress, I will be sorely disappointed.


2011 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Sees Julio Jones In Cleveland

With just hours remaining until the start of the 2011 NFL Draft, the draft pundits are starting to release their final mock drafts. Mel Kiper, of course, is one of the most famous, and people always seem to react to what Kiper has to say.

Kiper has Cam Newton going first overall to the Carolina Panthers, followed by linebacker Von Miller to Denver, Marcel; Dareus to Buffalo, wide receiver A.J. Green to Cincinnati and cornerback Patrick Peterson to Arizona.

That leads us to the Browns, who would have to be disappointed one of the top-of-the-line talents didn’t fall to them. That said, Kiper thinks Julio Jones would be the best ‘consolation prize’ in the 2011 Draft.

“Jones is by far the best consolation prize in the draft, as the Ohio franchises combine to clear the board of the top wideouts. This is a guy Colt McCoy will love. Jones’ size and speed combination is the best in the draft at the position and his development as a wideout over the past year shows a determination and work ethic that will be loved by the coaching staff. The Browns need a true No. 1 at wide receiver, and if healthy, Jones can be that guy. A gifted athlete, what you love about Jones is that he blocks as hard as he runs routes. He played hard while in pain last season at Alabama.”

Kiper has also said in the past that Jones is the best blocking wide receiver he has ever graded.


2011 NFL Draft Rumors: Browns and Vikings Talking Blockbuster Trade?

As was reported earlier by the National Football Authority and then relayed by John Bena, the Browns and Vikings are apparently in talks for a trade, and this makes a ton of sense when you read between the lines here.

What is the Vikings’ main goal in the first round? Well, knowing how Rick Spielman works, this team is posturing itself for a multitude of trades. We all know the Vikings need a quarterback—could it be possible that they are posturing themselves to jump back into the first round and get a guy like Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett?

The trade in question had the Vikings receiving the 37th pick as well as a first round pick in 2012, and it might take an additional 3rd round pick in 2011 to actually get a deal like this done, but this is a deal the Vikings would love to make. In order to get the quarterback they want, they want to also dictate where they get him. Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett are both widely expected to be available in the later portion of the first round, and the Vikings could use those picks to move up and get one of them.

The Browns, on the other hand, could be trying to move up in front of a team like Cincinnati who has interest in taking A.J. Green with the fourth overall pick, and this trade gives them the ammunition to move up or stand pat and take two high level players. Two top 12 picks could really revamp their defensive front. Feasibly, the Browns could come away from a trade like this with Nick Fairley and Da’Quan Bowers, should they choose to go in that direction. That kind of move would give their defensive front hope for the future.

They could take it another direction and go with Peterson and Julio Jones like John said, or they could look to a multitude of players.

This would be a great trade for both squads, and could be just the beginning of a huge day of wheeling and dealing during the NFL Draft.


REPORT: Cleveland Browns In Talks To Acquire Vikings First Round PIck

The 2011 NFL Draft is a little over 48 hours away, but there are already reports that the Cleveland Browns are looking to add a second 1st round pick Thursday night and a potential deal could already be in place.

According to the website National Football Authority, the Browns and Minnesota Vikings have been discussing a deal that would send the #12 overall pick to the Browns for the #37 overall pick this year in addition to a first round pick in 2012. This would allow the Browns to get two of the top-12 players in the draft, with LSU DB Patrick Peterson and Alabama WR Julius Jones possible targets.

Is this real? It seems possible and is the type of bold move Mike Holmgren is not afraid to make. What surprise me is the compensation. For the Vikings to move completely out of the first round, the Browns are paying a 2nd round pick in 2011 and a 1st Round pick in 2012? That’s a steal in my opinion.

There is likely to be much more about draft-day trades in the hours ahead.


2011 NFL Draft: NFL-Record 25 College Players To Attend NFL Draft

After several days of thinking there may not be any college players in attendance at the 2011 NFL Draft, the NFL confirmed today that no less than 25 prospects will be in attendance on Thursday night when the 1st Round of the Draft gets underway at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Included in the group are four players from the Big Ten, all on defense - DE Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue, DE Adrian Clayborn from Iowa, DT Corey Liuget from Illinois and DE J.J. Watt from Wisconsin. All could be taken during Thursday night's first round.

The rest of the players expected to attend are below:

Prince Amumamara, DB - Nebraska

Akeem Ayers, LB - UCLA Corey Liuget, DT - Illinois

Adrian Clayborn, DE - Iowa Von Miller, LB - Texas, A&M

Randall Cobb, WR - Kentucky Rahim Moore, S - UCLA

Marcell Dareus, DT - Alabama Cam Newton, QB - Auburn

Nick Fairley, DT - Auburn Patrick Peterson, CB - LSU

Blaine Gabbert, QB - Missouri Mike Pouncey, OL - Florida

AJ Green, WR - Georgia Tyron Smith, T - USC

Mark Herzlich, LB - BC Phil Taylor, DT - Baylor

Mark Ingram, RB - Alabama Danny Watkins, G - Baylor

Cameron Jordan, DE - CAL JJ Watt, DE - Wisconsin

Julio Jones, WR - Alabama Ryan Williams, RB - Virginia Tech

Ryan Kerrigan, DE - Purdue

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