The Final Two Pieces to the 2014 Draft – the Defenders
Over the past few weeks, I’ve delved further into 2014 draft picks for the Cleveland Browns. A majority of these have been on the offensive side of the football, and for good reason (as the Browns were once again putrid in that aspect in 2013). However, Ray Farmer also looked to improve at points of the defense as well. This led to selections made at linebacker and cornerback.
Information about Christian Kirksey:
The former University of Iowa athlete was a two-year captain for the Hawkeye defense. However, he fell under the radar for a few reasons. One is the lack of success by his collegiate program; his team has teetered around the .500 mark during his tenure. Couple that with the fact that it was in the Big 10 conference, and little respect was given to Kirksey and his teammates. However, the linebacker had a solid career and was an all-conference honorable mention his senior year. His weight (233 pounds) is roughly that of Barkevious Mingo – an “undersized” outside linebacker. I believe the Browns want Kirksey to play alongside Karlos Dansby up the middle; getting bigger and strong will be a part of the equation for success, however.
About Pierre Desir:
Hailing from Hati, it’s safe to say the cornerback has been well traveled. Desir began his collegiate career at Washburn University and transferred to Lindenwood (to be close to his young children). There, he garnered a pair of All-American awards and was one of the best cornerbacks in Division II. Though he got multiple accolades and had the second-most interceptions (twenty-five) in conference history – Desir was still fighting an uphill battle to prove himself to scouts. In the end, the Cleveland Browns gave him an opportunity in the fourth round of the draft. His sense of humility and desire appeal to me, but he’s go to make it count on the field.
Conclusion: The Cleveland Browns chose a pair of defenders that can help both in the short-term, as well as for many years to come. Both Kirksey and Desir will likely see a fair amount of playing time at special teams in 2014. However, depending on how training camp and preseason goes, their availability could elevate. Right now the franchise is looking for someone to replace Craig Robertson at middle linebacker. Kirksey appears to fit the role of a guy who excels in coverage – something needed in the current passing league. It’s a crowded defensive backfield as of now, but most didn’t believe Richard Sherman would be a starter (let alone a great one) after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Look for Pierre Desir to push Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine this training camp.