The Cleveland Browns' Draft, Part I: The Players
by, 04-29-2012 at 08:04 AM (2450 Views)
Round 1, Pick 3 – Trent Richardson (RB, Alabama), 5’9”, 228 lbs. – I was banging the table for Richardson all through March and April, and he’s gotten more press than almost any other prospect, so I won’t waste time going over his vitae. I’m delighted that we secured him on Thursday night. I think he was clearly the best player available after Luck and Griffin, and his presence will improve every individual performance on and team scoring output for what was truly a wretched offense last season.
Round 1, Pick 22 – Brandon Weeden (QB, Oklahoma State), 6’4”, 221 lbs. – I’m really conflicted about this pick. I hated it at the time, and I’m still not in love with it. I don’t see any future in complaining about it until I see him play in the pros. I’ve never heard anyone question his ability—everyone loves the arm strength, loves the accuracy—but nearly everyone questions his age and his potential to grow. It’s easy to look at this pick and say that it will set us back years if it doesn’t work out. On the other hand, in terms of physical ability, he’s an immediate step up over Colt McCoy, who’s a guy I’ve stood up for as much as any fan could have the past six months. What’s more, the Browns are clearly trying to deliver wins next season with these two picks.
Round 2, Pick 37 – Mitchell Schwartz (OT, California), 6’5”, 318 lbs. – This is a good pick. I wasn’t sure about it at the moment, but they want a big, durable right tackle who can start immediately. When you draft in the first five of the second round, you need a starter, and an RT can step in faster than a project wide receiver such as Stephen Hill. This was the correct choice in this position, because they clearly were scared away from Martin and felt Glenn projected to guard rather than tackle.
Round 3, Pick 87 – John Hughes (DT, Cincinnati), 6’2”, 309 lbs. – Weird selection, because it left gaping needs at wide receiver, linebacker, and cornerback unfilled for what seems like a perverse luxury pick. We have two solid defensive tackles in Rubin and Taylor, but they played a ton of snaps last year. He improves the rotation on the defensive line and he’s absolutely a run-stopper and a tackler. No one really valued him the way the Browns did, so the wisdom of taking him in the 3rd looks suspect, when he could have been gotten in 4th, 5th, or maybe 6th round. On the other hand, I would compare this selection to our picking T.J. Ward in 2010, when we drafted a guy we liked earlier than we needed to, but he’s filled a role nicely.
Round 4, Pick 100 – Travis Benjamin (WR, Miami, Fla.), 5’10”, 172 lbs. – I love—LOVE—this pick. He’s on the slight side, certainly, but he gives us the burner on offense we haven’t had in years. His forty-time is 4.36, but more than that his speed on the field is excellent and his ability to change direction is good. I’ve heard some people peg him as a return guy—to which he will contribute—but his receiving skills are underrated; his jump is more than adequate, and he times it well. I’m not saying he’s going to be as successful a player, but I’m just going to toss this out there. DeSean Jackson was 5’10”, 169 lbs. at the Combine. They’re the same player on paper, and Tom Heckert served as a General Manager of the Eagles when Jackson was drafted. JESUS, LAY OFF ME, I’M JUST SAYING.
Round 4, Pick 120 – James Michael-Johnson (LB, Nevada), 6’1”, 241 lbs. – Personally, I think you can never draft enough linebackers, and this is a good addition. He adds depth behind D’Qwell Jackson on the inside, and has the ability to play outside and tackle if necessary. He’s a run-stopper and a leader (two-time captain at Nevada), and it’s a good value here in the 4th.
Round 5, Pick 160 – Ryan Miller (OG, Colorado), 6’7”, 321 lbs. – This is an intriguing pick. He would be an enormous guard, and it’s worth pointing out that he was a 5-star recruit as a tackle coming out of high school. He’ll probably play inside in the pros and could challenge Shaun Lauvao (starting RG), whose performance has been somewhat disappointing. He builds depth at guard, shoring up the interior of an offensive line which should shape up very nicely next season.
Round 6, Pick 204 – Emmanuel Acho (LB, Texas), 6’1”, 238 lbs. – As sixth round picks go, this one I like. Living in Texas for two years, I got to see a lot of the Longhorns, and I noticed him and his brother, Sam, who had a solid rookie season with Arizona last year. I expect Emmanuel to contribute on special teams and in running situations immediately, but he has the speed to become a deceptive pass rusher over time and I would not be surprised to see a long-term home for him on the outside. He seems like a smart kid and a good person, and is probably very coachable. I don’t know if he’s going to set the world on fire, but this is a guy I expect to make the team and do his job well.
Round 6, Pick 205 – Billy Winn (DT, Boise State), 6’4”, 294 lbs. – If the Browns drafted John Hughes ‘too high,’ this pick screams ‘great value.’ They landed a tackle with a second-round grade with the 205th pick, who probably fell because he had some medical issues we don’t know about. He’s tall, which is nice, a weight room guy, and a relentless player from a good program. He not only keeps the point but sheds nicely to make tackles, although he can get pushed around by double-teams or by linemen who have an overwhelming size advantage.
Round 7, Pick 245 – Trevin Wade (CB, Arizona), 5’10”, 192 lbs. – This is another second-round grade who fell late to the Browns. You can’t fill every need in the draft, but you had to wonder if they were going to someone to fill out the secondary eventually, and it would probably come at corner, considering how thin this draft was at safety.
Round 7, Pick 247 – Brad Smelley (FB/TE, Alabama), 6’2”, 237 lbs. – Something I never thought of that Shurmur brought up in his presser on Thursday night: he worked for Nick Saban at Michigan State. This is pursuing a blocker to free up Watson and Moore to work as receiving options while preserving the edge Richardson.
READ 'PART II' HERE.