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Brown, Gocong Headed To Cleveland?

Both Brown, Gocong To Browns for 3rd Rounder
By Lance Epstein

According to Cbssportsline.com's Clark Judge a trade is brewing between the Eagles and the Cleveland Browns and does not include Donovan McNabb (kinda).

The web site is reporting that the trade includes cornerback Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong for one of Cleveland's 3rd-round picks. It is unknown whether it will be the 29th the Browns acquired from the Jets for wide receiver Braylon Edwards, the 21st pick or if it will be the seventh overall pick in the third round (71). Moreover, the Eagles could also receive a extra late round draft pick.

Besides the third-round pick, reports have surfaced out of Cleveland that the Eagles could also be receiving restricted free agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson as part of the package (he would have to sign his tender before the deal could happen-- could be a 4th if included as well).

Supposedly the hold up is that Brown is working on a new contract with the Browns. Hopefully for the Eagles, his demands are not outrageous like Lito Sheppard's were last year, which cost the Eagles a second-round pick.

As for the deal itself, fans are probably not going to be very happy about dismissing another team leader in Brown for merely a third-round pick. Brown might not be the flashiest player in the league but he has not missed a game his entire career and is consistent.

Despite that fact, Brown has shown in the last two post-seasons and during the stretch run that he is not the same player anymore. He is 31 and teams have begun to pick on him late in the season. If fans want proof they should go back and watch the Eagles playoff games over the last two years. He was beaten by Bernard Berrian for a touchdown, a long pass and what should've been another long touchdown if Tavaris Jackson was more accurate.

In the Giants' game, he got beat by wide receivers Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon (Hixon also should've had a 84 yard TD in the regular season if he didn't drop a wide open pass). Luckily for the Eagles, Eli Manning struggled with his accuracy that day. The two most recent playoff games, he struggled to contain Arizona and Dallas secondary options. Furthermore, Miles Austin had a field day against him this past season.

In spite of that, Brown had a career high five-interceptions this past season and returned a fumble and interception for a touchdown. Many people around the league believed he should have originally been selected to the Pro Bowl.

As it has been reported before on Eaglesmix it would not be a shocker if Brown was traded especially with this draft's deep talent at the corner position. In addition, if the trade does include Brown it could be the first domino to fall for the Eagles. What that means is that there could actually be truth to the rumors that the Eagles and Raiders are discussing a Nmandi Asomugha for McNabb deal (not saying it is but makes a lot more sense-- of course the Eagles might be just thinking of taking a corner high in the draft).

Now to the second player going to Cleveland in Gocong. It makes complete sense. For four years head coach Andy Reid has tried to fit a square peg into a round hole for Gocong.

In college, Gocong flourished by being a pass rushing defensive end. Ever since he took over the SAM linebacker position, he has always appeared awkward in pass-coverage. The only time he looked comfortable was rushing the passer against New England a couple years back. With Cleveland he will get to use his strengths since he will be an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. They will utilize his pass rushing skills and he could become a very nice player.

So are the Eagles getting good value in return? Well if they get the high 3rd-round pick from Cleveland it would be
a decent package. This draft is extremely deep and that pick could get them a player of second-round quality.

Furthermore, if the Eagles get any of the 3rd-round picks in this deal (like what is being reported by socutsnotebook.com), they would have three selections in that round. This could mean that the Eagles are looking to make a intriguing package (assuming they include 24th overall pick) to move up in the draft. May be it is Eric Berry, who could play free safety and allow Marlin Jackson to slide back into his natural cornerback position. Or it could mean the Eagles want more ammo to be able to move up and get a guy like Kyle Wilson, who might get draft before their selection at 24.

By acquiring the pick from the Browns, Philadelphia would have nine draft picks and five of which would be in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. So they have ammo to do what they want.

The best part of this deal however might be getting the linebacker Jackson. Jackson (6-0, 240) is a middle linebacker. The thinking here would be that he could become the team's starting MLB and current MLB Stewart Bradley can move back to his natural SAM linebacker position ( he played in college).

Jackson is an undersized middle linebacker but he is still able to identify the ball carrier and uses his aggressive style to make the tackle for a loss or minimal gain. With Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson at defensive tackle keeping potential blockers off of him, he should continue to productive in the Eagles aggressive scheme.

Probably the best part of Jackson's game that he will bring is that he has the agility and speed to cover running backs out of the backfield and tight ends. Last year, it was evident that Gocong, Gaither and Fokou lack this ability.

In Cleveland, Jackson was the team captain and signal caller for the defense, so he should have no problem taking that over that duty from Bradley if called upon him to do so. Speaking of Bradley, scouts have said he might be more effective as a SAM linebacker (even though he was pretty good at MLB). His ability to cover the tight end and help in run support will really improve the defense this year.

If Jackson is indeed included in the deal (being reported in Cleveland) and can stay healthy, he potentially makes the weakest part of the Eagles defense a strength. Key words in that sentence are "if he can stay healthy". He has missed 15 games due to injuries the last three seasons. This past season, he lost 10 games due to a shoulder injury. Before his injury though, his defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan raved about his potential.

“I am really impressed with him," Ryan said "I think the sky is the limit for that young man’s future. I think he is outstanding. We haven’t had any pads on, but I have seen enough film, and I’m not studying the scheme that was on the tape, but I watched that young man run around, run to the football and lead the league in tackles. A blind man could see his talent.”

If this trade does go down, at first fans will think they are getting ripped off. However that third round pick (my guess is it is going to be the 7th overall in the third round) might be part of a package to get premiere safety prospect Berry. Obviously he would bring a ton of smiles to the faces of Eagles fans. Also, it could mean the trade talks for Asomugha are beginning to heat up.

Update: Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane is reporting Brown and Gocong to Browns for 4th, 5th rounders and LB Alex Hall

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