Revisiting Browns, A.J. Green debate

I've been at odds with this question all offseason: Should the Cleveland Browns consider a top wide receiver or defensive lineman with the No. 6 overall draft pick?

After weeks of debating with myself, I've finally decided the defensive line prospects are so good in this draft that it would be smarter for the Browns to snag one in the first round. It doesn't matter if it's the best defensive end or defensive tackle because Cleveland needs both.

The Browns are switching to a 4-3 defense next season under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur and new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, and they will get run over in this physical division if they don't add monsters up front. Cleveland's pass rush also is important, and the team doesn't have anyone in the front seven whose specialty is getting to the quarterback.

Like most people, I agree that Georgia receiver A.J. Green is a tremendous prospect. But he's not better than Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. The aforementioned players are elite NFL receivers and they all played for losing teams in 2010. My point is the receiver position is not very important in the NFL hierarchy. You need to be good in other areas first, and that's why I'm usually steadfast in not drafting a receiver in the top 10.

Meanwhile, the defensive line is very important. Games are won and lost in the trenches, and if you noticed, teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers take offensive and defensive linemen nearly every year: Haloti Ngata, Michael Oher, Terrell Suggs, Maurkice Pouncey and Ziggy Hood just to name a few. These are non-sexy draft picks that turn out to be huge when it's time to play football.

Cleveland needs to start learning from the dominant teams in its division. President Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert drafted a lot of skill players last year (Joe Haden, T.J. Ward, Colt McCoy, Montario Hardesty), and it's time to add some meat to the NFL's 27th-ranked run defense. The Ravens (Ray Rice), Steelers (Rashard Mendenhall) and Cincinnati Bengals (Cedric Benson) all had 1,000-yard rushers in 2010.

The Browns still have to address their passing game. Although chances decrease after the first round, that doesn't mean the Browns cannot find good receivers. Studs such as Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace, Miami's Brandon Marshall and New Orleans’ Marques Colston were all receivers drafted in the third round or lower. The Browns just need to do their homework.