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Cleveland Browns

Draft second-guessing?

By Marla Ridenour Published: September 28, 2007


Baltimore flip-flopped first-round picks with Cleveland in the 2006 draft to move up one spot and draft defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at No. 12. Cleveland preferred pass rusher Kamerion Wimbley and had no problem making a deal with a division rival. The Ravens also gave up a sixth-round pick, which the Browns used to select defensive tackle Babatunde Oshinowo, who did not make the team this season.¶
Wimbley has started 18 career games and has 13 sacks, 11 in 2006 to set a Browns rookie record. But Ngata has been a starter since his first game and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis thinks his side got the better end of the deal. When Baltimore picked Ngata, there were rumors that Lewis wanted to be traded.¶
''You hear all the speculation and all this crazy stuff going on, 'Ray wants to be traded,' all this and that,'' Lewis said this week. ''The bottom line is Ray said, 'If you put a (defensive) tackle in front of me, we’ll go back to being what we were.'¶
''For the first time since I have been in the NFL, we went to the number one (ranked) defense as soon as we had Haloti Ngata, because that is what you're built by. Defenses are built by front sevens. That's where your money is made.''¶
Lewis said the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000 with Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams as the defensive tackles, but they were let go after the 2001 season. ''Then we might as well just let everyone do their own thing,'' Lewis said of the aftermath of those moves.¶
''When you look at a young guy like Ngata, you tell yourself this guy is so young and so talented that it's scary,'' Lewis said. ''It shows from last year to this year, it's much more of a pleasure just seeing his growth. Me and him, we’re just like a quarterback and a receiver. If me, him and (defensive tackle) Kelly (Gregg) are on the same page, then things are going to roll in our run game.¶
''That’s why we haven't seen 100-yard rushers and that's why our defense has been in the top whatever it has been for the last two years or so, because he is a great addition for us.''¶
In 2006, Baltimore allowed only two 100-yard rushers -- Tennessee's Travis Henry (107) and Kansas City's Larry Johnson (120).¶
But Browns' defensive coordinator Todd Grantham isn't second-guessing their choice of Wimbley, even though Cleveland is 31st in the league against the run.¶
''In a 3-4 you have to have outside 'backers because they generate your pass rush and play-making ability,'' Grantham said. ''In theory, it's a little bit easier to find a bigger guy who can press the pocket inside and be stout later on, as opposed to a pass rusher. Generally, guys who can rush the passer are going to go pretty quick.''¶
Grantham said he thinks the majority of teams would have made the same choice of a pass rusher over a defensive tackle.¶

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