Dawg Pound Lounge ,
April 29, 2012 4:30 pm
OK, so Wheeeden wears #3 and Richardson wears #33?
These are the things that keep me up at night...
Dawg Pound Lounge ,
April 29, 2012 4:43 pm
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After a full weekend of heavy-duty football construction, a few impressions ...
An outsider's look at the Browns ...
I talked to a vice president from a rival AFC team, here's what he had to say about the Browns' draft:
1. "Unless all 32 teams are wrong, Trent Richardson will be a star. Him in the backfield gives our defensive coaches something to worry about. That was never really the case, not even when they had [Peyton] Hillis. At least not like Richardson. Our personnel people love his talent, toughness and work ethic."
2. "Think about playing in the AFC North. The other three teams have big, strong quarterbacks -- especially [Pittsburgh's Ben] Roethlisberger and [Baltimore's] Joe Flacco. Those guys can take some hits and throw the ball into the wind and rain. Andy Dalton [Bengals] is not quite like that, but he's pretty good. We never thought Colt [McCoy] measured up in that division. Not enough arm strength in the wind, rain, snow and cold."
3. "We had [Brandon] Weeden rated higher than [Ryan] Tannehill. Better arm, more experienced, more mature."
4. "The Browns had to take a shot with Weeden. They couldn't come back with Colt as a starter and expect a big change on offense. Weeden is more like Dalton than he is like Flacco or Roethlisberger, but he should be an upgrade over Colt. We thought Colt couldn't consistently get the ball down field, no matter who they had at receiver."
5. "The Browns should keep Colt as a backup, he'll do a good job."
6. "We didn't have [right tackle Mitchell] Schwartz [second-round pick] rated as high as the Browns. We had him in the third round."
7. "We play a 3-4 so we didn't spend much time on [defensive tackle] John Hughes. He's mostly a 4-3 guy. We do really like their tackles -- [Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor]. Guess they wanted depth. [Jabaal] Sheard was a great pick last year for them in the second round."
8. "They still have a long way to go, but Richardson and Weeden have to make them better."
About Brandon Weeden and Browns quarterbacks ...In their third draft together, Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren created a signature moment -- for good or bad -- for their Browns' regime.<!-- IE6 HACK --> <!-- IE6 HACK -->
1. For Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert, the decision to draft Weeden is one that may define their time with the Browns. It will look great if Weeden has an Dalton-type rookie season (20 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 80.4 QB rating) while the Browns come even close to .500. Dalton helped the Bengals make the playoffs, and the Browns don't have enough talent to do that in the AFC North. But if Weeden and Richardson lead them out of the 4-12, 5-11 rut of the past four years, this draft will be perhaps the best since the Browns returned in 1999.
2. If Weeden flops, fingers of blame will easily be pointed at a front office that used the No. 22 pick on a 28-year-old quarterback. He is the oldest player ever picked in the first round. Weeden needs to show an immediate return, because time is not on his side and the Browns are giving him the job.
3. In their third year running the Browns, this is the biggest draft risk of the Holmgren/Heckert regime. They believe in Weeden. Coach Pat Shurmur has to stop himself from some uncharacteristic gushing about the Oklahoma State quarterback. They believe he has the size, the maturity and arm strength to be a viable starter in the rugged AFC North.
4. The Browns believe Weeden has mental toughness from his frustrating five-year experience as a failed minor-league pitcher who never rose above Class A in the Yankees' farm system -- then recreated himself as a college quarterback. To get a picture of what Weeden endured in the minors, read "The Bullpen Gospels" (the language is raw, but the story is powerful) by former Kent State pitcher Dirk Hayhurst.
5. Shurmur and new offensive coordinator Brad Childress were on the Eagles' coaching staff when Donovan McNabb entered the NFL in 1999. They helped teach him the West Coast offense. At St. Louis, Shurmur was the coordinator when St. Louis drafted Sam Bradford, and helped him learn to take snaps. They are confident Weeden is a quick study.
6. The challenge for Shurmur and Childress will be to convert Weeden from the college spread offense, where he's almost always in the shotgun, to the WCO. Last season, the Browns were in the shotgun 48 percent of the time -- 27th of 32 teams. Detroit (80 percent) led the way, followed by Buffalo (75 percent) and New England (74 percent).
7. Here's one more plea for the Browns to keep McCoy, who is paid $540,000 and $570,000 over the next two seasons. Compare that to the near-$2.5 million paid annually to Seneca Wallace. Since Wallace has shown little interest in helping young quarterbacks, it makes no sense to keep him.
About right tackles and first guesses ...
1. There is no problem with drafting Schwartz in the second round. I don't worry that some drafting services have him in the third round. He started 51 games at California, played two years with center Alex Mack. He's played 35 games at left tackle, 16 at right tackle. Made first team All-Pac 12 as a left tackle. Unlike some left tackles who have to adjust to a new position with the Browns, that won't be a problem for Schwartz.
2. The Browns have Joe Thomas and Mitchell at the tackles, Mack at center and youngsters Jason Pinkston and Shaun Lauvao at the guards. They appear in very good shape for several years. The Browns absolutely love Schwartz. They targeted him in the second round and believe in his physical toughness, durability and run-blocking skills.
3. By failing to sign a strong right tackle in free agency such as Eric Winston, the Browns needed to use a second-round pick on the right tackle -- rather than a receiver. Of course, signing a veteran receiver could have helped when it comes to plugging holes.
4. I pushed for the Browns to sign Winston when Houston cut him in a salary-cap squeeze. He went to Kansas City on a four-year, $22 million deal. It appears at least $9.3 million is guaranteed, perhaps more. It's not an outrageous contract for a 28-year-old tackle who started every game for Houston since 2007. The Browns had the cap room to beat the Chiefs' offer.
5. When the Browns made the decision to draft Weeden while only signing veteran free-agent defensive ends Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker, they simply created too many holes to fill in the draft. That led to them not taking a receiver in the first three rounds.
6. None of this is to second-guess drafting Schwartz. It's simply to say not signing a receiver or right tackle made it harder on draft day because their high picks went to fill other needs.