Cleveland Browns: Top 10 Prospects

Alex Mack (AP/Mark Duncan)

Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and profiles the Cleveland Browns. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or under 25 years of age. Find out who the Browns top 10 prospects are entering the 2010 season.

Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
C
6-4
311
2
24

After being the Cleveland Browns first round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, It didn't take long for Alex Mack to make his mark on the offensive line. From day one, Mack was positioned as the Browns starting center, and after a slow start, he got comfortable and began to dominate. He played in and started all 16 games and helped anchor a line that helped Jerome Harrison have the late season surge that he amassed, which included a 286-yard performance. With Mack and Joe Thomas on the offensive line for the foreseeable future, the Browns have solidified two of the most important positions upfront.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
CB
5-11
193
R
21

It was obvious that the Browns had to address their secondary in this year's draft. Last year, the defense allowed 244.7 YPG through the air and only recorded 10 interceptions. Even though they traded for former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown this offseason, the selection of Joe Haden gives the Browns a young CB that they can build their secondary around. Haden has lockdown ability and should be inserted into the starting lineup when the season kicks off. But with Brown and Eric Wright ahead of him on the depth chart, he will have to earn his spot.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 1st Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
QB
6-1
216
R
23

When the Browns decided to move on from underachievers Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, and replaced them with veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, there was no question that they were going to draft a quarterback this year. Colt McCoy became an attractive option for the Browns when he fell to the third round, and it's hard to argue with their decision after the prolific career McCoy had at Texas. He has great ability and tremendous leadership qualities that would allow him to be an immediate starter in the NFL. But, it appears the Browns will go with Delhomme as their starter with Wallace backing him up. Don't worry Browns fans, McCoy will take over the reigns sooner rather than later.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 3rd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-2
207
2
23

Mohamed Massaquoi was forced into being the Browns go to wide receiver as a rookie, and despite there being inconsistent play at quarterback, he did a great job and displayed plenty of promise for the future. Playing in all 16 games, Massaquoi started 11 and hauled in 34 receptions for 624 yards (18.4 YPC) and three touchdowns. With a year under his belt and the confidence that comes from knowing that he can be successful as a go-to-guy, Massaquoi could have a breakout year. Although, the success he achieves this year is dependent on Delhomme getting him the ball. That's a big concern.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 2nd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-0
225
R
23

The late season ascension of Jerome Harrison was a bright spot for the Browns during woeful '09 season. But, as good as Harrison was, the Browns knew that the NFL has become a two-back league, and by drafting Montario Hardesty, a runner who has the ability to be a featured back, they now have a solid one-two punch. After spending three years as a backup at Tennessee, Hardesty had a breakout senior campaign last year and rushed for 1,345 yards on 282 carries and scored 13 touchdowns. He also caught 25 passes for 302 yards and a touchdown. Hardesty has already received rave reviews from the coaching staff and front office and could eventually become the starter at some point this season.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 2nd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DT
6-2
330
3
23

A sixth round pick of the Browns during the 2008 draft, Ahtyba Rubin has gone from a backup as a rookie, to a player that took advantage of an injury last season, to now being a valued component on defense who could emerge as a starter this year. Last year, Rubin played in all 16 games and made five starts in place of the injured Shaun Rogers. In Rogers' place, he contributed 38 tackles and a forced fumble. Rubin's rise was so impressive that the Browns were entertaining trade offers for Rogers this offseason. It's possible that the Browns will still move Rogers prior to the start of the season, either way, Rubin will have a larger role in 2010.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 6th Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
S
5-10
211
R
23

A surprise second round selection because of his injury history, Oregon safety T.J. Ward has suffered multiple injuries during his career and even missed five games this past year with an ankle injury. But, when he’s healthy and in the lineup, his ball skills, instincts, intensity and range are unmatched. He may lack the ideal stature you look for in a safety, but he will remind Browns fans of Indianapolis Colts all-world defender Bob Sanders. Don't be surprised if Ward is the starting strong safety in Cleveland this season.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 2nd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
FB
6-1
240
3
24

Acquired from the Denver Broncos in the Brady Quinn trade, Peyton Hillis didn't have the 2009 season that he was hoping for in Denver. Hillis and Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels didn't see eye to eye, and Hillis quickly fell out of favor. With a new start in Cleveland, Hillis will become the starting fullback for the Browns and bring a lot of skills to the offense. He can be the big back that will move the chains and be a reliable receiver out of the backfield. If used correctly, Hillis could be a major addition to the Browns offense.

Drafted by Denver in the 7th Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-0
229
2
23

A valuable mid-round selection by the Browns in 2009, Kaluka Maiava played a key role on defense and special teams as a rookie. As a situational defender, Maiava played in all 16 games, starting three, and recorded 45 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He isn't a premiere talent, but he's a hard worker that will succeed in the league because of the maximum effort that he gives. Maiava will likely serve in a similar capacity this year as he did last year.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 4th Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-3
215
R
22

There were plenty of surprises on draft day this year, and one of those surprises was that a talented, raw wide receiver prospect like Carlton Mitchell fell to the sixth round. Mitchell, who decided to forego his senior season after he caught 40 passes for 706 yards and four touchdowns last year, is raw, but he has great size, speed and athleticism. He tends to drop easy passes, but he can stretch the field and has a knack for the acrobatic. Mitchell will be a training camp darling because of his incredible skill set, and if he does well during the preseason, he could challenge to be the No. 3 or 4 WR on the depth chart this year.

Drafted by Cleveland in the 6th Round (2010).


For more on the Browns, check out Orange and Brown Report.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.

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