The picks are coming fast and furious now. The Browns never made that next step after a successful 2007, which has them pick in the top ten for the 7th time in the 11th drafts since they returned to Cleveland. Drafting on behalf of the Mangenius are the good folks from No Logo Needed that organized this mock draft.
With the fifth pick in the draft, the Cleveland Browns select:
Sure, the Browns need help on defense and the secondary was inconsistent, but the cornerback position is the least of the team's problems. In 2008, the Browns defense allowed an average of 151.9 yards rushing per game. The Browns lost to the Bengals 14-0 on Dec. 21 as Cedric Benson ran for 171 yards on 38 carries and back-up quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was 5-for-9 passing for 55 yards.
First and foremost, the Browns need to look to trade down and obtain some more draft picks. This will prove impossible since that’s the goal of most teams. The Browns also would be interested in Aaron Curry, but he is long gone.
With new coach Eric Mangini, the Browns will stick with the 3-4. So linebacker is the Browns' biggest need in the draft. The Browns need an edge pass rusher to fill Willie McGinest's position, but outside linebacker is one of the deepest positions in this draft. That brings us to the void in the middle of the defense left by the departure of Andre Davis.
Maualuga is a nasty middle linebacker, the type of player that can bring attitude to a defense that sorely needs an identity. He is built perfectly to line up in the 3-4. Peter King called him Ray Lewis, Jr. and Jon Gruden said Maualuga is the type of player to build a defense around.
Maualuga is known for his big hits and aggressive style of play. That should fit perfectly on the strong side of the Browns 3-4 defense next to D'Qwell Jackson. Pairing Jackson's sideline-to-sideline speed with Maualuga's power behind the mammoth Shaun Rogers, should make the Browns strong up the middle and help them slow down the opposition's rushing attack.
Can you name a Pro Bowl defensive lineman or cornerback from the successful 3-4 defense in Pittsburgh? In Baltimore? No. But you can reel off a list of who's who of linebackers. It's time the Browns start making the some names of their own.
And another highlight video, just because: