Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Browns: Looking ahead to the 2010 NFL Draft
So first we need to establish the needs of the Browns. We'll start with a roster analysis.
Quarterback: Brady Quinn/Derek Anderson, Brett Ratliff
Runningback: Jamal Lewis, Jerome Harrison, Chris Jennings/James Davis
Fullback: Lawrence Vickers
Wide Receiver: Mohamed Massoquoi, Brian Robiskie, Mike Furrey, Joshua Cribbs, Chansey Stuckey, Ray Ventrone
Tight End: Steve Heiden, Robert Royal, Greg Estandia
Offensive Tackle: Joe Thomas, John St. Clair, Billy Yates
Offensive Guard: Eric Steinbach, Hank Fraley, Rex Hadnot
Center: Alex Mack, Hank Fraley, Rex Hadnot
Defensive Line: Shaun Rogers (NT), Kenyon Coleman, Corey Williams, Robaire Smith, CJ Mosley, Ahtyba Rubin (NT)
Linebackers: Kamerion Wimbley, D'Qwell Jackson, Eric Barton, Alex Hall, David Bowens, David Veikune, Kaluka Maiava, Jason Trusnik, Blake Constanzo
Safeties: Abram Elam, Brodney Pool, Mike Adams, Nick Sorensen
Cornerbacks: Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, Coye Francies, Anthony Madison, Gerard Lawson, Hank Poteat
K: Phil Dawson, Billy Cundiff
P: Dave Zastudil
LS: Ryan Pontbriand
So looking at the base roster, we have glaring needs at: QB, RB, WR, TE, DE, OLB (1), ILB (1), S, and CB.
We're not sure what's going to happen with Quinn and Anderson, but as of now, it looks like we're going to need a quarterback with our first pick...
But here's the deal. If we're drafting in the top 5, we've got some big names to look at. Players like Eric Berry*, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy*, Carlos Dunlap*, Joe Haden*, Rolando McClain*, Dez Bryant*. On top of them, we've got QB's moving up in the draft boards like Jake Locker*, Jimmy Clausen*, and Sam Bradford*.
So many people debate what we need to draft, and why. I'm a big fan of drafting Best Player Available (BPA), in correlation with need. Basically what that means if you take the best player available in a position that you still need. So if you have Peyton Manning, and Jake Locker is the best player, go to the next best player overall, in a position that you need. There are many teams that still draft based on need, which can be bad at times because you can reach for a player.
Here's my rank of those players listed in terms of overall talent.
1) Eric Berry
2a) Gerald McCoy
2b) Ndamukong Suh
4) Jake Locker
5) Carlos Dunlap
6) Dez Bryant
7) Joe Haden
8) Jimmy Clausen
9) Sam Bradford
Bradford to me is a 2nd round pick now because of the 2nd shoulder injury in one season. I'm not taking a chance on him. But for now some experts have in as a top 15-20 pick.
So looking at this, we see how big a need for quarterback is potentially (assuming Quinn doesn't go back in, or he goes back in and shows no improvement), as well as DE, and S. Safety isn't a HUGE need for the Browns, but it's pretty big and it's important to have a play maker like Ed Reed, Polamalu, Bob Sanders, Brian Dawkins, etc.
If I'm sitting at #1 with that top 5, I have a tough choice to make. I have to weigh out all the positives and negatives of drafting each player. So what am I getting when drafting these players?
Eric Berry- With Berry you get a play making safety. He's easily the best defensive player in the nation, and possibly the best overall talent in the nation. He's as close to NFL ready as a player will get as well, especially this year working with former defensive coaching juggernaut Monte Kiffin. Berry has a game changing ability, sort of like Ed Reed. He's not the biggest guy (5'11 205), and he won't knock anybody out, but he's one of the most fundamentally sound players in the draft. He's got excellent hands, as well as instincts and pass/run recognition. He can play cornerback, safety, and even a little linebacker. He'll rush the passer, he'll drop back into a middle third in coverage, or he'll cover a teams best receiver man on. This is a guy that teams just cannot pass on. Remember Eric Turner? Yeah, he's that good, if not better.
NFL Comparison- Ed Reed
Ndamukong Suh- (Pronounced En-dom-ah-ken Soo) Suh is an absolute monster against the run. He's very strong and has a very high motor. He's one of the few DT's in the NCAA that rarely takes plays off, which is very important for the NFL. He's got excellent hand usage, maintaining that important separation with the linemen so that he doesn't get pushed and pulled around. He dominates offensive guards and centers being double teamed often. You just can't run up the middle against this guy. His pass rush skills are very solid as well, but not the greatest. The best part about him is his ability to play in space, as well as his versatility. He could play 34 NT for a few plays, and play 34 DE.
NFL Comparison- Ty Warren
Gerald McCoy- McCoy is on the same level as Suh, except their roles are reversed. McCoy is an elite pass rusher. He's very stout against the run as well, but his pass rushing skills are what causes teams to have to double him up, which is perfect for a 34 defense. He's got quick feet and uses his hands very well, again maintaining that separation that defensive lineman need to do. McCoy is quite strong, and is a space eater with great lateral movement.
NFL Comparison- Richard Seymour
Rolando McClain- McClain is a linebacker who makes his presence felt when you are on the opposing sideline. He's a big hitting linebacker at 6'4 254 pounds who is one of the most fundamentally sound tacklers in the nation. He wraps up and puts players on the ground, rarely missing tackles, especially in the open field. His instincts are fantastic when it comes to play recognition, and he's a very difficult linebacker to block. He's very good at shedding blocks and is an all around linebacker. He's a leader on the field, and an academic player as well as an Honor Roll student. Last season he was a finalist for the Butkus Award, and it'll be hard for him not to win that this season being the leader of the nations 2nd best defense.
NFL Comparison- Patrick Willis
Jake Locker- Locker is quite the athlete. When he hurt his hand in 2008, he wanted to play safety for the Huskies defense. Jake Locker is a quarterback who has a weak supporting cast. He has to make a lot of plays on his own as there is not much of a running game or wide receiver support for him, which is why it's hard to look at his stats as telling the true story to his collegiate career. Locker is a big armed guy who can make all the NFL throws, while also being elusive and evading defenders trying to bring him down in the backfield. His problem is that he struggles with touch, and short/intermediate passing (sound familiar?). However, with Locker, he's shown improvement each year according to the coaches, and has developed as quite the leader. Locker is only a junior, so he may stay for his last season instead of opting for the NFL.
NFL Comparison- Donovan McNabb
Jimmy Clausen- Clausen is the prototype NFL QB. Like Locker, he can make all the throws. He's a strong armed QB who's accuracy down the field is fantastic, and his intermediate game is very good too. He puts good touch on most of his passes, and doesn't force the ball. He's a good decision maker in the pocket, and can evade the rush if needed. His production hasn't been the greatest at Notre Dame, which is something many people are skeptical of, but his overall mechanics are the best out of any quarterback potentially coming out in 2010.
NFL Comparison- Aaron Rodgers
Looking at these guys, I find it hard to believe that none of them will be available with our pick. But if you had the #1 pick, who would you take? All of these positions are a substantial need for our beloved Cleveland Browns. So how do you make your choice?
For me, it's easy. I like both Clausen and Locker a lot. However, quarterbacks are much bigger projects in the NFL, compared to 34 DE's and safeties. With the lack of support our offense could give a rookie QB, I'm hard pressed to take a young QB just to ruin him because he has no WR's, no RB, no TE, and no blocking from the right side of the line. I personally don't believe that every single QB we've had in Cleveland was absolutely terrible. I feel like had most of these QB's had some sort of running game, or even wide receivers that could run crisp routes and catch, or even a line that blocked, they'd all be at least average.
What I'm getting at is that I don't want a quarterback this year. I know that we're just going to rush him in, because we have no other option. Mangini doesn't like Quinn because Quinn questioned the playcalling (even though it was deservedly so), and Derek Anderson can't be on this team next year because he's due to make 7.45 million dollars. If we pay DA that much next year, I'm going to crap a brick. He's barely worth the 1.45M that he's making this season. So who do I want?
That comes down to Suh, McCoy, and Berry. All 3 are positions of need, however DE may be the bigger need. If we grab Suh, or McCoy, we can have a stout rush defense with Shaun Rogers, Suh/McCoy, and Kenyon Coleman, along with our linebackers. If we draft Berry, we can have a player that's actually feared in the secondary. Teams throw the deep ball on the Browns more often than most teams because our safeties are slow, and struggle in coverage, zone coverage more specifically. With Berry back there, we keep teams from throwing in the 5-15 yard range, and taking less shots down the field. Not to mention we still get good run support.
My pick is Eric Berry. It's really a no brainer. In Cleveland, we need football players, not projects like Clausen and Locker. We've always reached for need, and it's turned out to be bad. We reached for Gerard Warren (Ladainian Tomlinson, Richard Seymour), we reached for Courtney Brown (Lavar Arrington, Chris Samuels, Jamal Lewis), we reached for Kamerion Wimbley (Haloti Ngata), as well as William Green (Ed Reed). That's just the gist of what I'm saying. Sure hindsight is 20/20, but there's no question that we reached. We took players that we needed over positions that we needed less, but had better value.
Eric Berry needs to be in Cleveland in 2010. We've got 11 picks. If Braylon Edwards gets to 55 catches with the Jets, we could add another first day pick and grab more talent. Like I said, we need football players and talent, not projects. We aren't New England, Indianapolis, or Pittsburgh. We can't take chances on guys like Lawrence Timmons, Brandon Merriweather, etc. and try to develop them. We need football players.