How will the Browns’ acquisition of Brown affect their draft?

It was believed that the Browns would target a cornerback such as Florida’s Joe Haden with the No. 7 overall pick in this month’s draft. But that was before the team acquired Sheldon Brown from the Eagles on Friday.

Along with Brown, Cleveland also acquired linebacker Chris Gocong from Philadelphia in exchange for linebacker Alex Hall, plus a fourth-round pick and a fifth-rounder. Gocong is a solid fit for the Browns’ 3-4 defense and will likely start opposite Matt Roth on the outside.

But the more intriguing player in this trade is Brown, because he signifies that Cleveland probably won’t draft a cornerback at No. 7. Brown is 31 years old, but he’s still playing at a high level and the Browns restructured his contract, which now goes through 2012. He’ll pair up with Eric Wright to form a now above average cornerback tandem in Cleveland.

Team president Mike Holmgren is probably hoping/banking on Tennessee’s Eric Berry slips to No. 7, seeing as how safety is now the Browns’ biggest need. But will Berry be there? Multiple teams that pick ahead of the Browns (including the Buccaneers and Seahawks) have been linked to Berry in mock drafts, although that means nothing at this point. Either way, Holmgren knew that he had to address his need at cornerback and may have felt that Haden would have been a reach at No. 7. If Berry falls to Cleveland in the first round, then Holmgren would have done very well in addressing the Browns’ defensive needs.

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2009 fantasy football is coming aoon—a look back at 2008 defenses

Last month we started looking at last season’s statistics for position players in fantasy football land, and today we’ll look at a position many often overlook. That’s fantasy defenses, which can sometimes put up just enough points to earn your team a victory once in a while. It’s always smart to try and grab one of the top units, although as we’ve seen before, things change, sometimes drastically, from year to year with fantasy D’s. Me? I like to grab my defense before my kicker. This list is based on point totals from one of my leagues, so keep in mind that stats vary from year to year.

1. Baltimore Ravens—The Ravens’ defense is perennially awesome, and we’ll find out for sure how much of that was due to former coordinator Rex Ryan, who is now the head honcho for the Jets. Ryan took plenty of players with him too, like LB Bart Scott and S Jim Leonhard, but the Ravens still have Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs. Reed just keeps getting better every year, and his sick nose for the ball is one reason the Ravens had a league high 26 picks. They will keep scoring low as always, but their 34 sacks last season isn’t much to get excited about. Bottom line: The Ravens won’t be a number one this year, but are still top 10.

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Bears, Eagles made trade offers to Cardinals for Boldin on draft day

According to the Arizona Republic, the Eagles offered the Cardinals cornerback Sheldon Brown and a third round pick in exchange for receiver Anquan Boldin on draft day, but Arizona quickly rejected it. Bears’ GM Jerry Angelo also admitted that he offered the 49th overall pick in exchange for Boldin, but obviously was turned down himself.

Earlier this week, Eagles coach Andy Reid told a Philadelphia radio audience that the price for Boldin was too high, both in terms of trade compensation and a new contract. As a baseline, Reid threw out trade terms of first, third and fifth-round picks, in addition to a new contract worth $10 million or so a year.

Maybe Reid was trying to spin the situation to satisfy Eagles fans, some of whom have long clamored to trade for Boldin. In the radio interview, Reid went on to say that he didn’t think the Cardinals ever really wanted to trade Boldin. Of course, it would be hard to determine that when the best offer is Brown and a third rounder.

Maybe the Eagles figured they would take a stab at stealing Boldin for a pittance. No harm in that.
The Eagles never offered more than the third round pick and Brown, a seven-year veteran who is unhappy with his current contract. The Cardinals didn’t have a need for a starting cornerback after signing Bryant McFadden in free agency.

Sheldon and a third round pick for Boldin? I thought I heard laughter off in the distance on draft day – turns out it was Cardinals’ GM Rod Graves after talking with the Eagles.

Hey, it was worth a shot for the Eagles. If nothing came out of it, so be it. But if the Cards were at all desperate to relieve themselves from the Boldin situation, maybe they would have pulled the trigger on Philly’s offer. (And then would have been rightfully lambasted by their fans and media in the process.)

I wonder if Graves would have done a deal with Angelo for a second and a third, although the third would have had to been for 2010 because Chicago had already traded that pick to Denver for Jay Cutler. Still, if Angelo was able to pull a deal off for Boldin, then the Bears would have went from perennial NFC North favorites to legit Super Bowl contenders.

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