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2014 NFL mock draft: Darqueze Dennard to Cleveland Browns at No. 26

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If the Browns can't address the quarterback position in Round 1, is finding a long-term complement to Joe Haden an acceptable fallback option?

Chris Pokorny of Dawgs By Nature took Auburn tackle Greg Robinson with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft. He did so with two quarterbacks (Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel) already off the board. Since then, two more quarterbacks (Blake Bortles, Derek Carr) have also been picked. With quarterback looking unlikely here, which direction will Mr. Pokorny lean with the Browns' second of three picks in our mock draft?

Team Player Pos. Ht Wt Class
26. Browns Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State CB 6'0 199 SR

"I was originally thinking wide receiver with this pick, but there are still several available and I think I can push that back to the No. 35 pick. Next on my agenda for the Browns was a cornerback or an inside linebacker. I like the physical nature of Dennard, with the ability to play press-man coverage and the competitive attitude he brings to the field. He would be an impact defensive player in year one of Mike Pettine’s defense.

"The Browns are expected to lock up Joe Haden to an extension soon, and the combination of Haden-Dennard could give the Browns one of the best one-two cornerback punches in the NFL. The pick would also address the Browns' need for a nickel corner, since Buster Skrine has excelled in that role in the past and can move down into that position from the starting lineup. Having a secondary with Haden, Dennard, Skrine and Donte Whitner would also alleviate the perceived weakness at the free safety position (Tashaun Gipson)."

Dan Kadar, our Ohio-native NFL Draft analyst, has some thoughts and opinions to share on the Browns' mock draft pick of Dennard:

Although cornerback is a big need for the Browns, the position could be viewed the same way as wide receiver in regard to depth. At that point it comes to down value and how the players are rated. Would Dennard grade out higher than, say, Southern California wide receiver Marqise Lee? For us here at MtD, Dennard is rated higher. But by that token, TCU cornerback Jason Verrett is rated higher than Dennard. In other words, the choice of Dennard can't be faulted too much. Verrett is just a better player.

Picks from the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers will be announced at noon and 3 p.m. ET, respectively, as we draw ever closer to finishing out the first round of our mock draft.

Top 5 players remaining

# Player Pos. College Ht. Wt.
12 Louis Nix DT Notre Dame 6'2 326
15 Xavier Su'a-Filo OG UCLA 6'4 307
18 Jason Verrett CB TCU 5'10 189
19 Ra'Shede Hageman DT Minnesota 6'6 310
25 Dee Ford DE Auburn 6'2 252

2014 SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft results

Browns picks

Rd # Team Player Pos. College
1 4 Cleveland Browns Greg Robinson OT Auburn
1 26 Cleveland Browns Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
2 35 Cleveland Browns