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Monday, April 13, 2009
On the Clock: Cleveland Browns


Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Team needs: Linebacker, receiver, defensive line

 
  Scott Boehm/Getty Images
  Because it's unlikely Aaron Curry will be on the board, the Browns should consider defensive lineman Brian Orakpo (above).
Dream scenario: Cleveland would love for Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry to fall into its lap at No. 5. Curry is considered by some to be the best player in the draft. Last month, the Browns desperately needed help at linebacker but figured Curry would be gone, so the team signed former New York Jets linebackers Eric Barton and David Bowens to fill the needs. Barton and Bowens are over 30 and will be stopgap players in Cleveland for a couple seasons. Landing Curry would give the Browns a franchise defensive player to possibly build around for the next decade.

Plan B: If Curry is off the board, the Browns could turn their attention to Texas linebacker/defensive end hybrid Brian Orakpo. New head coach Eric Mangini needs versatile players for his 3-4 defense. Orakpo also brings a pass rush, which was a major weakness last season in Cleveland. Do not completely rule out Cleveland looking at receiver. It recently released receiver Joe Jurevicius and starter Donte Stallworth is facing legal woes that have put his career in jeopardy. With top receiver Braylon Edwards a big name on the trading block, Cleveland will need someone to throw to in '09.

Scouts Inc. take: "Their needs are many. Going across their offense, the Browns need receivers now. I think receiver all of a sudden is a huge need and Michael Crabtree might be a great pick for them. They need a running back-in-waiting. But they really need a pass-rusher. Their pass rush is atrocious, so Orakpo makes sense for them, putting him on the other side of Kamerion Wimbley. I think Wimbley has proven that he is not a No. 1 pass-rusher. He could be OK as a complementary guy. But he's been disappointing when the attention is rolled in his direction. So Orakpo or Crabtree makes the most sense, but they need a lot." -- Matt Williamson, Scouts Inc.

PollCenter: On the Clock
What is the Cleveland Browns' biggest positional need? VOTE

Who has final say: Contractually, first-year general manager George Kokinis has final say on the 53-man roster. But based on the team's moves in free agency -- acquiring four Jets last month -- it's clear that new coach Eric Mangini is pulling many of the strings behind the scenes. The company line is that both Mangini and Kokinis will work together as an equal tandem.

Now on the Clock: Seattle Seahawks.

Previous On the Clock: Cincinnati Bengals. The team-by-team series.