Thursday, March 17, 2011
Revisiting Browns, A.J. Green debate
By James Walker
I've been at odds with this question all offseason: Should the Cleveland Browns consider a top wide receiver or defensive lineman with the No. 6 overall draft pick?
After weeks of debating with myself, I've finally decided the defensive line prospects are so good in this draft that it would be smarter for the Browns to snag one in the first round. It doesn't matter if it's the best defensive end or defensive tackle because Cleveland needs both.
While drafting Georgia's A.J. Green would bolster Cleveland's offense, the Browns need help on the D-line to compete in the AFC North.
The Browns are switching to a 4-3 defense next season under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur and new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, and they will get run over in this physical division if they don't add monsters up front. Cleveland's pass rush also is important, and the team doesn't have anyone in the front seven whose specialty is getting to the quarterback.
Like most people, I agree that Georgia receiver A.J. Green is a tremendous prospect. But he's not better than Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. The aforementioned players are elite NFL receivers and they all played for losing teams in 2010. My point is the receiver position is not very important in the NFL hierarchy. You need to be good in other areas first, and that's why I'm usually steadfast in not drafting a receiver in the top 10.
The Browns still have to address their passing game. Although chances decrease after the first round, that doesn't mean the Browns cannot find good receivers. Studs such as Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace, Miami's Brandon Marshall and New Orleans’ Marques Colston were all receivers drafted in the third round or lower. The Browns just need to do their homework.