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SB Nation Writers Mock Draft: Round 1, Pick #5

No. 5


Pick by Dawgs By Nature

Brian Orakpo
Defensive end


Not only do the Browns have arguably the worst logo in pro sports, but one of the most headache-inducing organizations. Chris Pokorny manages to overcome both at Dawgs By Nature. He is now up.

When Eric Mangini took over the New York Jets in 2006, he inherited a team with a depleted offensive line. His immediate response to this predicament was to draft two offensive linemen in the first round -- OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson at No. 4 overall, and C Nick Mangold at No. 29 overall. The Jets went on to have a tremendous season, even capturing a playoff berth.

The Browns are far from being perfect at every position. When it comes to our most depleted unit, the linebacker position is begging for assistance ten times more than any other position. The Browns reached the quarterback for a sack just 17 times last season, second worst in the league. Compare that to the 51 sacks of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also run a 3-4 defense, and you'll understand why no one is intimidated by our group.

Mangini has made it pretty clear that MLB D'Qwell Jackson is already a favorite of his. At one OLB position, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has indicated that he believes he can get former first-round selection Kamerion Wimbley going again. That leaves two holes in the starting lineup after MLB Andra Davis and OLB Willie McGinest were not re-signed in the offseason (and, fans had been waiting for both of them to lose their starting roles for years). *Note: While LB Eric Barton will probably start, he is not considered a long-term solution for the Browns.

Mangini has to see this in plain sight and select the best available LB on the board at this point. With Aaron Curry going right away to the Lions, the next best choice is Texas LB Brian Orakpo. Orakpo excelled in college as a pass-rusher. His superior athletic ability and strength gives him the potential to make the successful transition to a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. Given the fact that the Browns have taken a strong interest to Orakpo already (scouting and news reports), the pick would not be surprising in the least come draft day.

Michael Crabtree was an option, but I'm a firm believer in having a respected veteran WR in place before taking a young receiver with high-bust potential so early. Braylon Edwards is not the veteran to lead a youngster, either. DT B.J. Raji was very close to being chosen here, but ultimately, the overall need for linebackers took precedence. Orakpo doesn't even need to be the next DeMarcus Ware in his first season; as long as he provides the stability that we haven't had at the position in nearly a decade, the pick will have been worth it.

MTD thoughts: The success of this pick boils down to whether or not Orakpo has the agility to play linebacker. I'm not completely certain he does. It seems like Everette Brown is a better athlete than Orakpo, which makes him a better fit for the 3-4. Regardless, either player would be an improvement over what Cleveland currently has on its roster. This draft doesn't allow trades. If it did, I'm fairly certain this would be a traded pick.

Mocking the Draft's Top Five Remaining Prospects - WR Michael Crabtree, CB Malcolm Jenkins, OT Michael Oher, RB Knowshon Moreno, MLB Rey Maualuga