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Cleveland Browns 2011 NFL Draft: How Andrew Luck's Stanford Return Changes Plans

LSU's Patrick Peterson could be in the Browns' draft plans now that Andrew Luck will not be in this draft class.
LSU's Patrick Peterson could be in the Browns' draft plans now that Andrew Luck will not be in this draft class.Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Daniel WolfSenior Writer IJanuary 6, 2011

After all the early speculation in the media and in many 2010 NFL mock drafts across the Internet, Stanford Cardinals junior quarterback Andrew Luck, who was projected as the No. 1 overall pick in April, is going back to school for the 2011 season.

With this breaking news hitting the web, this changes a lot in the top 10 layout of pretty much every single mock draft.

It also changes a lot for all the teams who are above the Cleveland Browns, who own the No. 6 overall pick, which many fans were hoping would be used to land Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green.

The Browns are in dire need of a big-time weapon on the outside to open up the field on offense, and No. 6 was a prime spot for Green to fall to. But now that Luck is out of the picture, this means that the Carolina Panthers could possibly go with Green at No. 1 overall.

So where does this leave the Browns?

It leaves them sitting at No. 6, hoping for several things.

First, that Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley falls into their lap, since an infusion of youth is needed on the line.

Next option could be that Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, who was honored as the top receiver in college in 2010, moves up the boards where the Browns can pick him at No. 6.

Another option could be the one general manager Tom Heckert really favors, and that is spending the pick on one of the two top cornerbacks in the draft in Nebraska's Prince Amukamara or LSU's Patrick Peterson.

Heckert favors having a defense with two shutdown corners, like he had with the Philadelphia Eagles with Ellis Hobbs and Asante Samuel.

Do not doubt that he could want the same in Cleveland with either Peterson or Amukamara and Joe Haden.

"It's possible for [the] Browns to go CB if Green is off board, Prince or Peterson," tweeted National Football Post's resident college guru, Wes Bunting.

With many pressing needs on both sides of the ball, the Browns can really pick a number of different players depending on how player stock rises and falls between now and April.

But picking another cornerback in the top of the first round for two straight years is another way to have a solid secondary on lockdown for the next five years in Cleveland.

Browns fans should cheer for that to happen, especially with how porous the secondary has been since 1999.


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(Also posted on Dawg Scooper: A Cleveland Browns Source)

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