Cleveland Browns: When To Draft a Wide Receiver

Joe HunleyContributor IFebruary 16, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Jerrel Jernigan #3 of the Troy Trojans gets loose for a second quarter touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes on September 20, 2008 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As the 2011 NFL Draft approaches, there are many "mock drafts" circulating regarding who the Cleveland Browns should pick up via their picks and when.

There are numerous positions where the Browns need improvement, and there are numerous opinions as to which of these positions are more vital to fill.

Improvements to the offensive line along with the defense are much needed and considered by many to be the most vital. Others feel that it is paramount to take a high-profile, game-changing wide receiver quickly in the first round.

Understanding the need for improvement at the WR position, I feel it places below the urgency to make improvements to the offensive line, as there will be quality receivers to be found in the later rounds.

History has shown us that it is hard to determine where many players will be positioned on the draft; however, it is entertaining to speculate where they will be taken along with whether that fit your needs.

Due to the Browns going to a variation of the west coast offense, along with his projection of going in the second, possibly third round of the draft, I find Jerrel Jernigan of Troy University an interesting possibility.

Reading Jernigan's scouting report, one can see many qualities that would fit well with the west coast offense.

He is explosive off the line of scrimmage, quick and elusive with instant acceleration and is a threat for yards after catch. Known for being able to catch passes while running at full speed, he has shown great focus on the ball and is considered hard to bring down.

Although his best running routes are within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, this sets well with the WCO, which is primarily a short- to intermediate-passing offense. Many reports tout him as an ideal fit as a slot receiver, highly capable of having an impact in the middle of the field.

Jernigan has experience in the wildcat formation lining up as quarterback and has also been used as a tailback and on returns.

As with just about anything positive, there are also the negatives, or what many consider negatives.

Jernigan is rather short at 5'9'' and weighs 190 pounds, which means he gets knocked around by larger defenders. Not considered to be much of a vertical threat, the majority of his big plays are via yards after catch.

Jernigan has qualities that would possibly fit well with the Browns and the WCO. His ability for yards after catch and his speed, along with his ability to make plays across the middle, add one more weapon used in the WCO.

His ability to line up as quarterback in the wildcat or at tailback and to be used as a return man make him a versatile player.

Although the major "knock" on him is his size, there are players who contribute that share Jernigan's lack of size—Steve Smith and DeSean Jackson come to mind.

There are numerous receivers that will be available in the later rounds of the draft. I chose Jernigan as an example of a receiver that could possibly be picked up in the later rounds and possibly fit into the Browns' new offense.

What are your thoughts regarding the most urgent needs via the draft?

What other possibly later round receivers should the Browns pursue?