The right to change the grade
Upon further review, and with no help from outside, the Browns’ final grade for the recently concluded National Football League college draft has been changed.
The malodorous aroma that still hovers from what Joe Banner and his merry men accomplished last weekend has convinced me that the C------- grade awarded them was too high.
That grade has now been changed officially to a straight D. No pluses, no minuses. A naked D. As in (a) disastrous, (b) dumb, (c) disgusting or (d) all of the above.
No other way to put it. Banner has set the Browns back at least one season and maybe two with his lame attempt at strengthening his team. Thumb twiddling replaced actual work over a three-day draft period as other members of the AFC North got even stronger.
For way too many seasons, the Browns have looked up at the rest of the division. Cincinnati slipped for a while, but strong drafts have elevated the Bengals back to contender status.
A blip appeared on Pittsburgh’s screen last season, but a very good draft last week is expected to result in a return to contending status for the Steelers.
And Baltimore, of course, rolls merrily along despite losing key performers to free agency and retirement. Ozzie Newsome knows what he’s doing in retooling the Ravens’ roster.
Two seasons from now, when we look back at the fruits of the Browns’ 2013’s labor, we most likely will wonder why certain holes that could have been filled in 2013 remain problem areas because of negligent draft work.
Ask yourself now in what way did the Browns help themselves in this draft?
How many holes did they plug on either side of the ball?
Where did they strengthen a weakness?
In what way has the offense been improved?
Questions seeking answers that aren’t there because the thinking heads who ran this draft never addressed those questions.
There are still holes on the offensive line, at inside linebacker, free safety and cornerback.
Areas of strength include the defensive line, running back, wide receivers (marginally) and pass rush.
Quarterbacking remains in the neutral, undecided category. Brandon Weeden played his rookie season with one hand figuratively tied behind his back. He was the square peg being forced into the round hole.
Playing in Pat Shurmur’s west coast offense magnified his weaknesses. Look for a different quarterback this season with Norv Turner calling the shots. Weeden fits much more comfortably into Turner’s offensive philosophy than he did Shurmur’s.
Otherwise, that’s it. That list of weaknesses could have been reduced with some innovative thinking at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. Instead, they focused on next season, when the draft is expected to be stronger and deeper.
The hell with this season, Banner & Co seemed to be saying. Let’s blow it off and see if we can break into the top five in next April’s draft. That might not be the case, but one can certainly understand how it might be interpreted that way in some corners.
What’s done is done, though. It can’t be changed.
Only the future will furnish the answers.