Despite a multitude of needs on defense, Bucs Nation has decided to give the Cardinals a Quarterback. And not just any quarterback, but Blaine Gabbert out of Missouri. Athletic, fast and accurate, he'd be a good fit for the Cardinals' offense. He should at least be able to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. Somehow, the quarterbacks playing for the Cardinals last year failed to do exactly that. Astonishing. Blaine Gabbert could be the first cornerstone for a successful team.
Now we come to the Cleveland Browns. Several needs again, but surprisingly quarterback isn't really one of them. Second-year player Colt McCoy isn't the greatest quarterback, but he's serviceable and you can win with him. The Browns could easily skimp on quarterback to address other needs, and they have plenty. They need help at all levels of the defense and they need a receiver. Their offensive line is one of the best in the league, though, and Peyton Hillis proved to be a very valuable running back last year. So who do you think they'll pick?
The draft so far:
QB Jake Locker, Washington: A supremely talented quarterback with some really bad accuracy issues. Jake Locker was hyped badly coming into this year with the expectation that he'd get much better, but that improvement never occurred. Instead, he remained inaccurate and inconsistent. But Locker really reminds me of Josh Freeman - both were inaccurate coming out of college, they weren't big winners, they had trouble reading defenses, but they also had supreme talent at the quarterback position, a great work ethic and good leadership skills.
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU: Quite possibly the best pure talent in the draft. Patrick Peterson is a complete cornerback, physical with outstanding coverage and ball skills. He's probably at his best as a press-man cornerback, which shouldn't be a problem for the Browns. Some have also said that he may have to move to safety in the NFL because of his size, but I don't see that and it hasn't stopped his draft buzz. The Browns already picked a cornerback in the top 10 last year, though, and Joe Haden did well as a rookie, so they're unlikely to go after a corner.
DT Nick Fairley, Auburn: Fairley was briefly in consideration for the 1st overall pick after his destructive NCAA National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks. He's big, quick, strong and explosive, and could be a dominant defensive tackle at the next level. Unfortunately he's also really really raw, which is why he dropped out of the conversation for the first overall pick. He just doesn't use his hands, which means a big learning curve at the NFL level. He certainly fits the Browns' needs, who need defensive line help.
DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson: Bowers is perhaps the best talent at defensive end in this draft. He had a ridiculous junior year with 15.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss. He's a strong run defender and a potent pass-rusher. But there are two concerns about Da'Quan Bowers: his junior year was his first strong year, and he could be a one-year wonder. Second, a knee injury has prevented him from working out and he still wasn't fully healthy at his pro day. if his knee doesn't check out at the Combine Re-check, he could fall a long way on draft day. But if he does check out, he would certainly fit the Browns' needs who need some edge rushers.
DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina: Robert Quinn was one of several North Carolina players who were suspended for the 2010 season for receiving improper benefits from agents. Then add to that some minor medical concerns over a benign brain tumor, and it would be easy to understand if Quinn dropped a long way on draft day. But Quinn is a unique defensive end talent, with great speed off the edge and good strength. He kept in shape during his time away from the game and performed well at the scouting combine and his pro day. Overall there are no questions about his commitment to football, and he may be even better than Bowers.
WR Julio Jones, Alabama: Julio Jones is a lot like A.J. Green, perhaps a bit more physical and intimidating but a little less reliable, as he'll drop some easy catches at times. But he's a terrific route runner and should make an immediate impact for whoever drafts him. There are no character concerns with Julio Jones and he's certainly in the running for a top pick. More importantly, the Browns have no one at receiver outside of jack-of-all-trades Josh Cribbs