Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) scrambles away from Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor (98) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (97) at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

A Look Back at Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft

The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books, rookie camps are over and we are on to OTAs. Most fans evaluate drafts immediately, during the season and right after the season. Most fans want to mark down Barkevious Mingo as a bust, or at the very least a reach. Yet analysts and coaches always talk about grading a draft 3 years later. For the 2011 NFL Draft the time has come.

Matt Miller, via Bleacher Report, does an amazing job ramping up to the NFL Draft. He has now published his first post since the draft, in which he re-grades each team’s 2011 NFL Draft picks. Lets take a look at what Miller gave the Browns:

The Cleveland Browns have had many bad drafts in their history, but this was not one of them. In fact, the 2011 draft is arguably the team’s best since they returned to the NFL in 1999.

Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard are mainstays on a stout defense, and finding Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron in Round 4 adds a nice steal to the eight picks in this very good group. Even with Greg Little released and Owen Marecic out of the league, this is a team-building draft.

Updated Team Grade: A

The Browns set a foundation with this draft. Though it was the draft they traded down from #6, a trade that hurt the Atlanta Falcons more then it helped the Cleveland Browns, the still laid the groundwork for the team we see today. Taylor is on his way to a breakout season, right before his contract comes up, that could put him in line for best interior lineman, or at least Top 5. Sheard is an interesting player going forward as the Browns have committed money or draft picks to other players at OLB but Sheard is clearly the best they have at this point. Can the new regime spend the money on him, Taylor and Cameron all at the same time?

Cameron is obviously the steal of the draft, though his breakout season was only last year and he needs to build on it. Cameron was an interesting prospect coming out of college and finally made the most of his basketball abilities last year. Kyle Shanahan uses his tight ends wisely and Cameron’s production should continue.

The misses on Little and Marecic are to be expected in a Draft. You don’t hit on everyone. Little actually has some skills that are usable in the NFL but greatly struggles on comeback routes, slants and outs where he turns his chest to the QB. He does well on passes thrown over his shoulder or in tight coverage. Obviously it is a mental thing. He could breakout in Oakland or be out of the league. Marecic was an interesting pick, who you now have to wonder if he could of done better as a linebacker instead of a FB?

Miller also adds a chart that is interesting:

2011 Cleveland Browns draft
Rd/Pick Player School Pos. Pre-draft rank Status Grade
1/21 Phil Taylor Baylor DT 29 S-CLV A
2/37 Jabaal Sheard Pittsburgh DE 36 S-CLV A
2/59 Greg Little North Carolina WR 66 B-OAK D
4/102 Jordan Cameron USC TE 107 S-CLV A
4/124 Owen Marecic Stanford FB 128 OOL D
5/137 Buster Skrine Chattanooga CB 108 B-CLV A
5/150 Jason Pinkston Pittsburgh OG 111 S-CLV A
7/248 Eric Hagg Nebraska CB 201 B-DEN D

 

Taylor was drafted 8 spots higher then his ranking, Little 7, Cameron 5, and Marecic 4, all very close to Miller’s ranking for them. Skrine was drafted 29 spots lower, Pinkston39 and Hagg 47 compared to Miller’s ranking. Pinkston is fighting for a starting spot and Skrine has locked down the nickel corner spot after an accelerated development last year. All and all 5 A’s and 3 D’s on the draft re-grade makes for a heck of a foundational draft. The lack of star offensive players was addressed in the most recent draft, but is the most glaring omission from this draft class.

What do you think of the 2011 draft?

Tags: 2011 NFL Draft Cleveland Browns

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