In Praise of Peterson

Two weeks from now, the NFL Draft will be over and the pundits will analyze how everyone did, assigning them grades, based on how well the teams addressed their needs.

Most people think the Cleveland Browns’ biggest need is at the wide receivers position, where currently the starting wide outs are third year players Mohammad Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie. 

These people feel that for Colt McCoy to progress at QB, he needs a game changing receiver, and that may be true.  However, with a new defensive coordinator in Dick Jauron, a switch from the 3-4 set up to a 4-3 alignment, and a lot of age on last year’s unit, the Browns need to rebuild that side of the ball.

No matter what anyone tells you.  The defense is the primary need of this football team.  All you have to do is watch the games to see that.

Since the Browns have the sixth pick, no one knows who will be available when their selection comes up.  However, if LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson is there, Cleveland should snap him up.

Peterson is regarded the safest pick for stardom of anyone in this year’s draft, and the Browns can’t afford to have a pick bust at this time.

He plays defense, which is definitely an area of need.  A lot of people would say since he doesn’t play in the front seven, the Browns don’t need him.  But it’s not like Cleveland has a dominant secondary right now.  They have a solid corner in Joe Haden and a pretty good safety in T. J. Ward, both of whom were drafted last year. 

If you watched games last season, the team still has a weakness at other spots in the secondary with Sheldon Brown and Abe Elam, although the latter came on as the season progressed last year. 

They could still use some help back there and Peterson would definitely upgrade that area.

Adding Peterson to the defensive backfield could quite possibly make the secondary one of the NFL’s elite units.  For a team seeking a defensive identity, why not have at least one part of the unit being considered elite? 

And the more time receivers are covered, that’s extra time the defensive front has to get to the passer.  Also, have two solid cover corners would allow Jauron to dial-up some blitzes to put pressure on quarterbacks.

Besides, improving the defensive unit means the Browns would be in more games, and the more games you are in, the more you might be able to pull out a victory. 

In fact, outside of a couple of draft choices spent on a wide receiver and another offensive lineman, it would not be a surprise if GM Tom Heckert goes heavy on the defensive side of the ball again this year.

Last year’s defense had a lot of age on it, and already many of the players brought in by former coach Eric Mangini have been let go. 

That means Heckert needs to bring in some bodies, preferably younger guys to complement veterans like Scott Fujita, Ahtyba Rubin, and Brown. 

There are far more holes on the defensive side of the ball than on offense, because it is possible the front office believes the wide receivers would be more productive with a better passer manning the controls.

Whatever the so-called draft experts say, if Patrick Peterson is not taken in the first five picks, he should be a Cleveland Brown as of next Thursday night.  He fills a need, has the talent, and may just be the best player in the draft.

JD

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One thought on “In Praise of Peterson

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