With the 37th pick of Pride of Detroit's 2011 NFL Mock Draft, the Cleveland Browns select North Carolina linebacker Bruce Carter. Latif is serving as the Browns' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
When I picked A.J. Green in round one, I expected that there would be solid to great defensive end value to be there waiting for me in round two with so many talented pass rushers available in this draft. Well, it turns out that eight defensive ends were taken in the first 36 picks and I would be left choosing between the ninth best defensive end in the draft or one of the best (if not the best) linebackers. I chose to take value over need at this pick. Think of it sort of like the Louis Delmas pick instead of a middle linebacker.
At first glance, outside linebacker doesn't look to be the biggest need when it comes to the Browns, but its becomes pretty clear that the Browns are in need of a talented linebacker, maybe even more so than a defensive end. Think of it this way: their best linebackers last year were 275-pound Matt Roth and 263-pound Chris Gocong. Both of those guys could probably slide down to the defensive line or at least play the strong side linebacker position, while injured star D'Qwell Jackson mans the middle, but that still leaves the weakside spot open.
To me, the weakside linebacker spot is critical in a 4-3 defense. Whoever mans that position needs to be able to fly and tackle very well, and Bruce Carter fits that bill very well. Like we have heard a thousand times already, Carter would have been a first rounder this year had he not been injured and definitely has the potential to be the best linebacker in this draft. After seeing that there was no pass rushing talent available, Carter remained the only viable option here.
PS: I just made Drew's job 10x times harder.
Check out the 2011 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.