NFL Mock Draft 2012: Morris Claiborne And Cleveland Browns Connected In Surprise Mock

The new 2012 NFL Mock Draft from DraftCountdown pulls away from the status quo in one brief way in the increasingly settled Top 10 picks: Morris Claiborne goes to the No. 4 Cleveland Browns instead of the No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a major surprise. The Browns have apparently suggested they'll take the best player available—but after a poor season from Colt McCoy and a disastrous attempt to trade for Robert Griffin III, foiled when the St. Louis Rams took the Washington Redskins' offer, it would still be a surprise to see the Browns make a defensive upgrade.

Of course, they might be better off—reaching for Ryan Tannehill could be a disaster at No. 4, and Trent Richardson will put up impressive numbers but can only go so far, as a running back, toward bringing a team out of the dirt. Claiborne would disappoint Browns fans—and the team did an excellent job of keeping opposing quarterbacks out of the end zone in 2011—but at least he wouldn't be a response to their failure to secure Griffin.

More NFL Mock Draft coverage from SB Nation St. Louis, which is conducting its own 2012 NFL Mock Draft even as we speak:

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