Originally posted on Cleveland Frowns  |  Last updated 4/22/13
Matt Borcas is a Mentor, Ohio native who recently emerged from a field of 4,000 competitors to land a job writing about the NFL for ESPN’s Grantland. Matt’s Browns-centric column on the NFL Draft will run regularly here all the way up to draft weekend and through its immediate aftermath. Enjoy! ————— With our annual day of reckoning drawing near, scenarios – the politically correct form of “mock drafts”– are the name of the game. Eric Mangini said so himself here: “[With less than a week until the Draft] you’re going to start going through scenarios…You’re sitting down with the decision makers and saying, ‘OK, what if this happens?’” If the what-if game is good enough for the Mangenius, it’s certainly good enough for us. Let’s examine some of the different situations the Browns may be facing Thursday night, running the gamut from heaven-sent to hellish. At the very least, you’ll know exactly when to reach for the Couch bottle. I’ll preface our scenario deep-dive with these potential Top 5s, which are possible but not likely. As you can see, Luke Joeckel and Sharrif Floyd are entrenched with the Chiefs and Raiders, while the Jaguars and Eagles are agenda-setters. Literally anything (short of a gameday sell-out) could happen in Jacksonville: I think they’ll take Geno Smith, the mock draft illuminati insist they’ll take Dion Jordan, and recent reports/smokescreens suggest they’ll take Eric Fisher. If it’s Geno or Jordan, I expect the Eagles to settle on Fisher – mostly because Michael Vick will be on crutches by Week 5 if Chip Kelly doesn’t upgrade his turnstile collection of an offensive line. If it’s Fisher, I think the Eagles will draft Jordan, in large part due to Kelly’s familiarity with him, but I wouldn’t rule out Lane Johnson, Star Lotulelei, or Geno. This brings us to the relatively unlikely portion of these scenarios: Dee Milliner to the Lions. Although Milliner fills a need for the Lions, I tearfully admit that they’ll probably take Ziggy Ansah. However, in the event that they don’t, the Browns should rush to the podium and make the BYU DE their pick. Instead of rehashing all the scouting report reasons why I love Ziggy (the only new development being how highly he rates on Football Outsiders’ admittedly dubious SackSEER metric), I present to you the following masterpiece, courtesy of the Frowns analytics department.  The defense rests. Moving on to more realistic scenarios… Hey, at least we’ll see Ziggy in the GLC each preseason! Still, options abound in this scenario. The Browns’ war room will feature its fair share of Milliner and trade-down advocates here, and while they’ll surely make compelling cases, Dion Jordan should be the pick. I think he will be, too, because Ray Horton will self-combust if he doesn’t get the Draft’s ultimate big man who can run. The stark choice between Milliner and trading down becomes relevant if either of these happen: Obviously, there’s no guarantee that a trade-down will be on the table, but let’s assume there is for the purposes of this exercise. Because of their reported interest in Lane Johnson, let’s also assume that our trading partner is the Dolphins, and that they are offering Nos. 12 and 42. (Our partner could’ve also been the Chargers with Nos. 11 and 45.) The argument for Milliner lies in the very justified fear of seeing Buster Skrine start next season. Big DBs are the rage right now, and at 6-foot-1, 200 lbs., Milliner qualifies. But with Joe Haden locking down his side of the field, is it really necessary to spend another Top 10 pick on a CB? Moreover, couldn’t we get the best of both worlds by making the trade and taking a CB at No. 42? (Yes we can!) Of course, the CB we get at No. 42 probably won’t be as good as Milliner, but he’ll still be good. When folks talk about the Seahawks’ strategically-constructed secondary, they often fail to mention that the many of the key pieces – Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, and Kam Chancellor – were late-round picks. No. 42 isn’t even late, and Mississippi State’s Jonathan Banks – a 6-foot-2, 215 lb. colossus – should be on the board. Take him (or Houston’s D.J. Hayden, if only to form the NFL’s best homophonic CB tandem of all-time), and use No. 12 to plug a different hole. The strength of this Draft is its depth, and the Browns must acquire a second-rounder to capitalize on it. Now, about No. 12… (Pretend the Browns helmet is a Dolphins logo below.) These are just a few of the myriad ways the Top 11 could play out if the Browns-Dolphins trade happens. The only constant after No. 6, in my expert opinion, is the Bills taking a QB. Last month I highlighted some of the potential prospects the Browns could draft at No. 12, and not much has changed. With it established that we are taking a CB at No. 42 (and therefore not taking Xavier Rhodes here), my priority list for No. 12 is as follows: Alec Ogletree Jarvis Jones Tyler Eifert Jonathan Cooper Give me Ogletree/Jones/Eifert/Cooper and Banks/Hayden over Milliner any day of the week, and twice on Sundays. Oh, and in case you were wondering when to reach for the Couch bottle… —————- A more comprehensive Draft preview coming this Thursday. Tweet
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