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Browns Look Ahead: 2010 Part 2

November 12, 2009

Earlier this week I took a look at the offense. Where the offense is now, what they need to do the rest of the year, and where the team should go in 2010. Today I will do the same with the defense. In terms of potential free agents and draft picks the same rule apply as the first part of this look ahead.

Defensive Line

Where are they now? Actually they aren't in bad shape. Shaun Rogers is the best player on the defense and Kenyon Coleman and Robaire Smith have been very good at the end spots. Problem is they are all on the wrong side of 30. Ahtyba Rubin has been a solid guy off the bench. Corey Williams has played well, particularly in pass rushing situations. This unit is pretty decent, but maybe a little long in the tooth. Just a little.

What about the last 8 games? Keep doing what they have been doing. The D-Line had maybe it's best game of the year against Chicago as a unit. It didn't help much with the final score, but it's still good. If the Browns are going to be competitive in the second half of the season the defensive line is going to have to be a big part of it. Considering the problems in the secondary and the injuries at linebacker, the defense is going to have to lean heavily on the guys in the trenches.

And 2010? Add a good young player or two. Either in free agency or the draft. If the Browns have a high first round pick there are some elite defensive line prospects who could probably play defensive end in the 3-4 if need be. The Browns don't need a new starter for next year though. However, it'd be nice to see the team add a younger player who can start in 2011 or 2012.

Potential Defensive Line Draft Picks: Gerald McCoy (8.5); Ndamukong Suh (9.5); Arthur Jones (6.5); Marvin Austin (7.5); Jared Odrick (7); Terrence Cody (8); Gene Atkins (5.5); Vince Oghobaase (6); Brandon Deaderick (5); D'Anthony Smith (5.5); Tyson Alualu (5); Carlos Dunlap (8.5); Everson Griffen (6); Brandon Graham (6.5) Corey Wooten (5.5)

Potential Defensive Line Free Agents: Tony Brown (5.5); Ryan Pickett (4); Vince Wilfork (7.5); Brett Keisel (7);
Richard Seymour (8)

Linebackers

Where are they now? Hurting. D'Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton are done for the season. However, Kamerion Wimbley has rediscovered his knack for getting to the quarterback last seen in 2006. After totaling 9 sacks the last two seasons, Wimbley has 5 sacks in the 7 games he has played. He has consistently pressured the quarterback. David Bowens has been okay and he has some versatility with the ability to play inside and outside. Kaluka Maiava and Jason Trusnik appear to be special teams guys that are acceptable for depth but probably not ideal as starters. They do still have time and potential to grow. Alex Hall gets spot time. The Browns appear to have little interest in playing David Veikune.

What about the last 8 games? Continue to get production from Wimbley. It will improve his confidence as well as help a continued improvement in his game. It also gives the fans something to watch. Maybe play David Veikune. The guy was a 2nd round pick. I know he is transitioning from hand-in-the-dirt defensive end to stand up linebacker, but football is football. Let him play and learn on the job. Play Maiava, Trusnik, and Hall and see if you can get more development out of those guys. Don't lean to heavily on any one of them. Use David Bowens to fill in where ever a linebacker is needed, inside or out. He's a hard working veteran and he can help these you guys along while continuing to be productive on Sundays. He has been the most pleasant surprise of the free agents we signed this off season.

And 2010? Get Jackson healthy and sign him to a long term deal. Wimbley and Jackson give you two good linebackers for next year. Figure out what is going on with Eric Barton, but consider an upgrade regardless. It could be Veikune, it could be a free agent. David Bowens is best as the 5th linebacker. He has versatility, size and strength, and veteran savvy. If a playmaking linebacker falls to the Browns in the draft, they shouldn't hesistate to pull the trigger but it needs t be a good value pick (think Rey Maualuga). After Wimbley and Jackson the position needs an overall upgrade in talent. However there is enough talent here that linebacker doesn't need to be a top priority in the draft. Adding a solid free agent may be more wise.

Potential Draft Picks: Rolando McClain (9); Brandon Spikes (8.5); Sean Lee (7); Micah Johnson (7.5); Daryl Washington (2.5); Jamar Chaney (5); Darryl Sharpton (4); Navorro Bowman (7); Sergio Kindle (9); Bruce Carter (6.5); Sean Weatherspoon (7); Jerry Hughes (7.5); Rod Muckleroy (7); Eric Norwood (5); Antonio Coleman (6); Brandon Lang (7); Ricky Sapp (6.5); Jermaine Cunningham (6); George Selvie (7.5)

Potential Free Agents: Tully Banta-Cain (4); Gary Brackett (5); Keith Bullock (7); Thomas Davis (6); Elvis Dumervil (9); Thomas Howard (5); Derrick Johnson (7); Aaron Kampman (8); Shawne Merriman (9); Barrett Ruud (8); DeMeco Ryans (8.5); Jeff Ulbrich (7); Mike Vrabel (3)

Defensive Backs

Where are they now? They are not talented enough. Eric Wright is a number 2 corner playing as a number 1. Brandon McDonald is a number 3 corner playing as a number 2. Brodney Pool has had his moments, but you really want him to be your second best safety. Abe Elam should not be more than your second best safety. Mike Adams is a very good 5th DB with his versatility and special teams ability. He can cover okay in man and okay in zone and tackle okay. He seems quite selfless. Our 6th defensive back is a wide receiver. That should tell you all you need to know about the depth on this team.

What about the last 8 games? The Browns need to give Coye Francies some playing time. Physically he is impressive. Brodney Pool has had a few very good games this year and it'd be nice to see more out of him. Eric Wright has been rather productive, although he gets beat too often for a number 1 corner. That doesn't mean he can't be an important player on a good defense. He needs to continue to grow and improve. I like his competitive nature. Brandon McDonald is really a nickel corner. I still think he'd be a really good slot corner. Play with Wright and Francies on the outside and McDonald in the slot more. I'd like to see how that works out.

And 2010? The secondary is the unit on defense most in need of a playmaker. Brodney Pool is a free agent and it is hard to say what will happen with him. There are some really talented guys coming out this year. particularly if a few juniors leave early. Defensive back needs to be a major focus of this draft. I would like seeing the Browns grab the best defensive back available with their first round pick. A major upgrade in free agency is unlikely. A lot of the guys we have can be complimentary players in a good secondary, but none of them can be the star. Got to upgrade the talent. Have to. I know the offense has been horrible, but upgrading the secondary, at least in the draft, is perhaps even more important.

Possible 2010 Draft Picks: Eric Berry (10), Taylor Mays (10), Earl Thomas (9), Nate Allen (6), Kurt Coleman- as a later rounder (7), Myron Rolle- as a later rounder (8); Joe Haden (9); Patrick Robinson (9); Donovan Warren (7); Javier Arenas (6); Syd'Quan Thompson (6); Perrish Cox (7.5); Brandon Ghee (7); Trevard Lindley (6); Kyle Wilson (5.5); Jerome Murphy (7); Alterraun Verner (6.5); Myron Lewis (7.5)

Possible 2010 Free Agents: Dre' Bly (3); Leigh Bodden (5); Anthony Henry (2.5); Richard Marshall (5.5); Terrence McGee (6.5); Carlos Rogers (5); Fabian Washington (6); Will Allen (5): Oshiomogho Atogwe (7.5); Daniel Bullocks (4); Josh Bullocks (5); Ryan Clark (7); Daniel Manning (6); Bernard Pollard (6); Ko Simpson (5); Adrian Wilson (7.5)

What is the bottom line of my 2010 Look Ahead? The Browns need help. A lot of it.

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