Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns get defensive with first pick

Well, we didn’t see that one coming.

General manager Tom Heckert put on his Eric Mangini mask and made multiple trades as the Browns bounced around the first round from No. 6 to No. 27 before finally settling at No. 21 and picking Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor.

The Browns also ended up with four additional draft picks after all the trading was done.

Heckert said leading up to the draft that there were two players the Browns were targeting and, if they were gone, the Browns would be open to a deal. That appeared to be the case, especially after the Cardinals got their revenge for Derek Anderson by taking LSU’s Patrick Peterson one pick before the Browns.

The Browns picked up five picks from Atlanta – the Falcons giving up their first-, second-, and fourth-round selections this year and first- and fourth-round picks in 2012 – so that Atlanta could take Alabama’s Julio Jones.

The Browns then gave KC the 27th overall pick acquired from Atlanta and the Browns’ third-round selection, No. 70 overall, to move up to 21 and pick Taylor.

So, was it all worth it?

Taylor will pair with Ahtyba Rubin in the Browns four-man front, hopefully building a large wall to bolster the run defense.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. wrote that Taylor “showed he can be a disruptive force along the interior of the defensive line. Taylor is a massive tackle who can throw around the center or guards like they’re rag dolls. He’s tremendously powerful and strong and is a great run-stuffing defensive tackle, showing excellent stoutness at the point of attack.

“In fact, Taylor is arguably the best pure nose tackle in this draft … an immovable object along the interior.”

“We really like Phil Taylor,” Heckert told The Plain Dealer. “We think with him and Rubin, we’re going to be tough inside.”He’s a big man who can push the pocket. If your guards or center are undersized, he’s going to run right over the top of them. That’s intriguing for us.”

The consensus seems to be that the Browns really took it to Atlanta with the trade, so they have that going for them.

Two years ago when the Browns moved around the first round they ended up walking away with Alex Mack, who’s the best center in the division. Hopefully they can come close with the selection of Taylor.

The Browns still have eight picks to make in this year’s draft as the team continues to rebuild and get younger. They have two picks in the second round – No. 37 & No. 59 – as well as picks 102, 124, 137, 168, 170 and 248.

And there is still more to come with the second round starting tonight. And plenty of players still available. Da’Quan Bowers anyone?

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