Monday, April 27, 2009

Biff's Draft Reactions

You all know that my default position regarding the Browns and the new regime is one of complete skepticism. I'm not sure I really understand what they've been trying to do and I don't necessarily appreciate the attitude with which they've done it. That said, I approached this draft having disposed of most of my animosity toward the franchise and put to rest the majority of my personal grudges against its owner and head coach. I was ready to give the new regime the fresh start that they probably deserve. With that little preamble, allow me to give you my thoughts on the Browns 2009 draft.


1. Trading down from the #5 pick was a godsend. Truthfully, I don't even need to know anything about the players we acquired from the Jets. It was the right move. It would have been completely absurd for the Browns to pay #5 money to any of the guys that were on the board when they were picking. Not a single player in the top 10 of this year's draft is the type of sure thing pro-bowler that would warrant the type of money they're going to get. It's not worth butchering your cap situation to roll the dice on virtually the same calliber of player that you can get for a third of the money a handful of slots later. As you can tell, I absolutely loved the move back, even though I think based on traditional value charts, it should've cost the Jets a little bit more to move up twelve spots in round 1 (but maybe that's just because as a Browns fan, I'm used to paying high second rounders to move up one spot). Either way, it was a GREAT move.

2. I loved that the Browns kept moving back. It didn't matter that they were only getting 6th rounders in return; they were going to get the same quality of player for less money and pick up additional opportunities to take shots in the dark with late picks. No brainer.

3. With the 21st pick, the Browns select Alex Mack, C, California: Ok, I didn't see that one coming and I didn't necessarily love it. But, my reasoning is probably different than it is for a lot of other people out there. I don't have a problem with the Browns drafting a center in the first round. Truthfully, I think the importance of the center position is underestimated by most fans. Not only are you anchoring the point of attack, nowadays usually against a mammoth two gap tackle, but you're also making the line calls. I like the idea of having a massive, intelligent guy manning the middle of the Browns line. That said, here's what bothers me about Mack: He's not a great run blocker. If there's such a thing, it sounds like he's more of a finesse center. Now, when we're talking about our left tackle, the guy protecting our quarterback's blind side, I'll take agility and finesse at the expense of some run blocking power. At center though . . . I want a road grader. I'm not sure that Mack fits that bill. I love drafting offensive linemen in the first round but I would've rather seen them take Michael Oher. To me, getting a top flight right tackle would've given them a little bit more than a top flight center. I know Fraley is done but the same could be said of whichever miscellaneous journeyman we're going to have manning the right tackle position this year. I think the upgrade would've been more significant at RT, but, I realize that that's just a matter of opinion. Overall, I don't think any of us should have a real beef with the Mack pick.

4. With the 36th pick, the Browns select Brian Robiskie, WR, OSU: Inexcusable. Flat out inexcusable. I understand that with or without Braylon, we needed a receiver. That said, there were a lot of great players left on the board. Even if the Browns had decided they weren't going to take Maulagua (a decision with which I now agree with after reading scout after scout say he is an out of control alcoholic maniac), there were other players available there that offered more than Robiskie. This is especially true if the Browns knew they had another receiver on their board for the second round that they liked in Massaquoi. Why not take, say, Lesean McCoy (you realize our starting RB is finished, right?) or even a D-lineman or defensive back to bolster the defense? As for Robiskie himself, I have two thoughts: 1) People love to tout the fact that he was the most NFL ready receiver in the draft. Well, to me, that's code for the fact that he probably has the least room for growth of any receiver in the draft. He's going to remain exactly what he is right now: A smart receiver with good size and route running ability who is just too slow to get good separation. I don't see him filling a slot role because of his lack of speed and I'm not sure he will ever be effective on the outside because he can't get separation. 2) Say what you want about Robiskie's hands but I'll always remember him for dropping the biggest pass of his college career. I don't care what anybody else says: if he catches that TD pass in the Superdome, that game would've played out totally differently. This was just a really bad pick. I hated it.

5. With the 50th pick, the Browns select Mohammed Massaquoi: Massaquoi was a good college receiver and should make a solid #2/3 receiver in the pros. Plus, he has a fantastic reciever name that I sincerly enjoy saying out loud for no reason. This pick would've made a ton of sense had they not just taken a crappier version of the same guy 14 slots earlier. After taking Robiskie at 36, this pick made NO SENSE. With all of the holes on the roster, you're taking TWO possession receivers in the second round? That's maximizing the value of the picks? I'm sorry but I just don't get it. The Browns should've gone defense or running back with one of those two picks and I think down the line, this will prove to be a costly mistake. Second rounders are hard to obtain. You can't just keep burning them up by making redundant picks of "safe" players at a position that is far less important than others at which your team has gaping holes. Overall, a good player but a head-scratching pick given the circumstances.

6. With the 52nd pick, the Browns select David Veikune, DE, Hawaii: I'll be honest and say that I don't know the first thing about this guy. I know he was projected as about a 3rd rounder and it never makes me feel wonderful when the pundits are calling the pick a reach. I'll give the new regime the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe they're just smarter than we think and they know how to find guys to fit their system. Still, I just can't help but think that this is another case of a front office thinking they're smarter than everyone else. Then again, I've also lived through a regime that came to a consensus on using a second rounder on a guy that nobody had ever heard of who played on a winless college team called West Texas A&M. Excuse me for being skeptical on the whole idea of the small school diamond in the rough. Still, it's not fair to criticize a pick I know nothing about. We certainly needed a "hybrid" DE/LB (which essentially means you end up spending a high pick on a guy without knowing if he has any ability to play the position for which he's just been drafted) so I'll take a wait and see approach.

7. With the 104st pick, the Browns select Kaluke Maiave: The Browns add yet another Polynesian defender to take the sting out of the Maulaga miss! Seriously though, there is nothing wrong with this pick . . . other than the fact that between Maiave and Veikune, I'm not sure we found a single linebacker who is big and physical enough to play every down in the NFL. I have nothing against Maiave, but a 229 lb linebacker probably isn't the cure for what ails our run defense. Perhaps maybe we should've taken a linebacker with a bit better size instead of a crappy possession receiver at 36. Editor's note: My buddy DC started referring to this guy as "the third tenor," a nickname which I find to be very appropriate even though, truthfully, Clay Matthews Jr. is really the third USC tenor and this guy is . . . I don't know, the guy who served as Carreras's backup. Who knows, maybe he'll add some bulk to his frame and end up being a contributor. But hey, on the bright side for Maiave, he'll have virtually no competition at his position on the roster, so that's a positive!

8. I'll lump all of the sixth rounders together:

177 - Carey: Scouting report says he has tight hips. I have no idea what that means but if I had a scouting to english dictionary, it would probably say that "tight hips" translates to "nickel at best." I might've gone with Cedrick Peerman at this spot, the RB out of Virginia. Obviously it's a shot in the dark with anyone this late in the draft but Peerman graded out significantly higher than James Davis, who we ended up drafting later on.

191 - Coye Francies: The scouts like him and after all of the yawnworthy picks that came before him, I like the fact that he's a bit of a risk/reward pick . . . and by risk, I mean he was once brought up on weapons charges and kicked out of Oregon State. I'm glad we carried the "high character" theme all the way through the draft.

195 - James Davis: Well, we certainly needed a running back. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we needed one with all the explosiveness of a 30 year old Jamal Lewis. I'm doubtful Davis will be on the roster by this time next year. I really would've like to have seen this position addressed in round 2 with LeSean McCoy.

Overall Grade (because grades mean so much and are not in any way arbitrary): C+

If nothing else, the Browns were smart enough to trade out of the 5th spot and prevent the inevitable contract holdout/money hemmorhage that goes with it. In addition, between the trade with the Jets and the picks, the team probably added 4 starters. Unfortunately, the starters they added are probably the quality of players that you would expect to be starting for a 5-11 or 6-10 team. I guess you have to take baby steps when you're rebuilding and get your hands on as many solid guys as possible, but I'm still a little concerned that we came out of this draft without a single player that projects to be a major impact guy at any point in his career. They all seem to be solid but unspectacular . . . which is probably the way I'll remember this draft in general.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

The problem last year was not the defense, the reason for 4-12 was lack of offense. The O Line stunk, and we had no possession receiver. This year, we have Braylon, a jailbird and somebody named Steptoe. We now have three legit receivers, and a center to anchor the line. By the way, you might want to review the scouting reports on McCoy. Most of them said his intelligence was a concern. As for the back we got, check his stats for 2007, not 2008, when he was in a new offensive system. He has Harrison's speed in a 210 lb package.

Biff said...

The problem last year was pretty much everything except for special teams. I mean really, the Browns could've made a legitimate case for addressing any area of the team. As far as saying we have "3 legit receivers," I'd caution you to take a wait and see approach. Last time we saw Braylon, he had literally forgotten to catch the ball, Massaquoi has been known to have the dropsies, and Robiskie's only real college success came when he was matched up against the nickel corners from big-ten schools. As for McCoy, I'll take a running back with intelligence issues over one with ability issues. If there's one position on offense where intelligence is not at as much of a premium, it's probably RB. See hole, hit hole, run through hole. Obviously you've gotta be able to pick up blitzes and what not but still; it's not like we're talking about center, quarterback, or even receiver. As for Davis, I realize we're not supposed to be getting the second coming of Walter Payton in the 6th round. Still, when the scouting report says "lacks explosion and speed," it doesn't exactly make me want to believe that our running back problems have been addressed.

lenny k said...

hey "anon" did you watch the Ravens game last year??? when the defense gave up a W that the offense put together for that game...post under a name so we know who to laugh at when you make outragous statements.
biff is right the whole team was the problem, for to say the defense wasnt a problem last year is ridiculous.

lenny k said...

Or maybe you forgot the Denver game where Cutler threw for 450 yrds, blowing a 10 point lead entering the fourth quarter...

Art Brosef said...

Picking two recievers in a row is puzzling to me for a couple reasons. Number one, they Browns have so many needs, and that only addresses one. Secondly, wide recievers typically have a steep learning curve when adjusting to the NFL. So not only did they only address one need, they addressed a position where players struggle to contribute right away.

Which is why Im with Biff that Mccoy would have been a great pick. They couldve addressed another need with a player who will most likely contribute sooner.

If a running back had "speed and explosiveness", they wouldnt be available in the 6th round.

I cant sit here and complain about the draft, but I cant say Im in love with it either. And truth be told, nobody really knows right now anyway.

Barry Lakin said...

I have no idea why you wanted McCoy. He is less than 200 pounds and only runs a 4.5 forty. Slow and small. Not exactly what we need with a second round pick.

Plus, who are you going to replace on the roster with a RB? We aren't cutting Lewis. He has two years left on his contract and we are going to give him at least one of them to see if he can do well with a rebuilt line. We just signed Herron and Harrison is awesome. The only way I could have justified picking a rb was if Beanie fell to us in round 2.

Issue number two: How is Robiske a possession receiver? He did nothing this season with Pryor. The year before he was great at catching deep balls in the end zone. Hartline was the slot man. Then, for some inexplicable reason, Tressel decided to send Hartline deep and keep Robiske running underneath routes. Robiske was atrocious in that roll. That strategy was a large part of us losing the title game, in my opinion.

Barry Lakin said...

You may have said Robiske was a good "route runner" instead of "possession receiver" as I said previously. Whatever. basically used the same way.

Biff said...

McCoy is 5'11, 200 which may not be huge but it's big enough. He's got good top end speed, great balance, and is great coming out of the backfield. He would've been a good value in round 2 as someone who could split carries this year and then eventually become a feature back.

Are you really concerned about finding a roster spot for a second round pick on this team? Think about that for a second? As for our current running backs, they could cut Lewis tomorrow and not be any worse. The guy is completely finished. As for Harrison, there's a big difference between a guy making some big plays with his speed and being "awesome," even as a platoon back. Herron could be thrown right back on to the scrap heap he came from and I don't think anyone would bat an eye. The point is, the Browns aren't so flush with uncutable running backs that they couldn't make room for another. They're going to find a place for Davis aren't they?

As for saying the Browns should've looked to get Wells, you have to be out of your mind unless you're talking about a late 2nd round pick. When you're a rebuilding NFL team, you don't go spending first or even high second round picks on running backs with degenerative ankle conditions that couldn't stay healthy in the big ten. Wells is a talent, for sure, but the injury risk with him is off the charts.

Robiskie is a possession receiver because he's slow but can catch the ball. He succeeded on deep balls in the slot because he was being covered by big-ten nicklebacks that he could outrun and outjump. Somehow, I don't think he'd have that same success against NFL corners. I'll even give him the benefit of the doubt with last year because OSU essentially scrapped the passing game when they went with Prior. He still didn't show anything in two years that would've led anyone to believe he could be more than possession receiver in the NFL.

Biff said...

And yes, I realize I just misspelled Pryor

Barry Lakin said...

I believe I said only take Beanie if he fell to us in the second round. Not with a first rounder.

Anonymous said...

How is Robiskie slow?? he ran a 4.45

Anonymous said...

4.49, sorry

Biff said...

Right, at his pro-day workout at Ohio State, which means that the time is completely meaningless. Ohio State's track is notorious for producing artificially inflated 40 times. For example, Chris Wells was barely under 4.6 in Indianapolis but then back at OSU, he magically ran in the 3.4-3.5 range. If NFL scouts really believed Wells was that fast, my guess is he would've gone before the 31st pick.

But the truth of the matter is that you don't need to know someone's 40 time to know about his speed. Robiskie is a great route runner right? Now, think about how many times, other than as a slot receiver, that you remember him being wide open. Not very many right? I watched him play in person for two years and I only remember a couple of times where I ever saw him just outrun a DB to create separation. With the way he runs his routes, you would think that if he was really fast enough, he would've been open all the time in the Big 10. The guy just doesn't get separation.

Anonymous said...

Ya Im also "guessing" that if he ran a 3.4-3.5 in the 40 than he would have been the top pick, your knowledge is laughable, come on 4.4 is fast, but 3.4 or 3.5 is ridiculous, do you watch the NFL or football in general, no one runs that fast biff

Biff said...

Obviously a typo you idiot. 4.4-4.5

Anonymous said...

hey you wrote it not me. at least i caught it since obviously you did not.

Frank said...

Ya i agree a 3.4 40-time is pretty outrageous biff, not sure we will see that in our lifetime, not sure how you can say that___ how should i put it? Oh "idiot"

Anonymous said...

Do you guys think we should be rooting for the 76ers against orlando tonight? I think we will have an easier series in round 2 with the 7 seed, rather than Atlanta/Miami. If orlando wins we would have to play the winner of the atlanta/miami seed, what you think?

Art Brosef said...

I just wanna know what kind of person in their sane mind would bet 1000 dollars to win 100 on the cavs winning the title. For everyone who voted for that option on the poll, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

Anonymous said...

Cavs winning the title is a lock, Ill take 100 dollars extra in my pocket...thats not gambling to me its like taking money from a baby.

Art Brosef said...

I dont even know how to respond to this.

Vegas loves people who think there is such a think as a "lock".

You wanna risk 1000 only to POSSIBLY make 100??? Either you smoke too much crack or your mother did.

Ive been reading this site since its inception and this is easily the dumbest thing ive ever read.

Biff said...

Cavs winning title is 11/10. Cavs winning east is 1/10.

Anonymous said...

Its not gambling when you bet on the cavs, its like free money, i would put a few grand if i was there, pay for part of my trip, not sure why you wouldnt want an extra 300 in your pocket, i know i do.

Anonymous said...

Dont do crack either, just some 80s

Anonymous said...

Do you think the Celtics/Hawks game will go into Quadruple super overtime on Saturday? Without KG they seem to be struggling, but with two starters out for Atlanta it will be hard for them to keep up with Ray Allen and Company. what you guys think of the Joe Johnson/Paul Pierce matchup should be an instant classic.

Anonymous said...

There is one thing I do know from reading this article and comments that people in Cleveland know nothing about football. Nothing pisses me off more than you people complaining about things you havent seen yet. I usually dont make comments until their 1st practice. I predicted 4-12 last year by watching their 1st contact practice.

Steve said...

all hail the anonomyous poster who claims he is a football genious, go back to whatever hole you came from and quit posting on his site troll.

Art Brosef said...

"I predicted 4-12 last year by watching their 1st contact practice."

Hahahahahahaha thank you for this. Made my morning.

Art Brosef said...

"I predicted 4-12 last year by watching their 1st contact practice."

Hahahahahaha, thank you so much for this. Made my morning.

Anonymous said...

Why did I make your day, its the truth.