Monday, April 29, 2013

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.


  1. I must say, perplexed is the only way I can explain my feelings after this draft. I saw corner as our biggest need. You can fill it in the first round with the best corner in the draft, but no. Let's take a player at an already crowded position and hope he develops.

    Then in the fourth round you have a chance to pick a player, Barrett Jones, who would fill your guard need now and possible take over for Mack if he leaves via free agency in a few years, but no.

    They had a chance to take a flyer on someone with potential in the seventh round and they chose to pick a defensive end with a drug charge on his resume. Wouldn't it have been smarter to take a flyer on someone at a position of need that late in the draft, hoping you will strike gold AND fill a position of need?!? But, no.

    Yes, I do like the fact that we have extra picks in a deeper, if you listen to the experts, draft. However, you can't continually expect us as fans to wait for next year. You had a chance to improve the team now and you didn't take it. For their sakes, and ours, I hope they made the right decision. I don't know how much longer I can wait for next year to be this year!

  2. Wait till next year has become the Browns' mantra. It started in 2000 after the expansion season and has continued through the last 13 seasons. The only things that change are the names and faces. Otherwise, it's the same old, same old. Browns fans deserve better.

    I share in your frustration, Hank. I know that doesn't make you feel any better, but at least you know you have company.

  3. Glad to see other people realizing how drafts work. If a team's success is based on a draft from 2-3 years ago, then the 2015 Browns are going to have some issues.

    With the exception of the first pick (still a reach in my view), this draft smells like the 2008 one.

  4. Hi Dave,

    Nice to see you here. I follow your stuff on the OBR, a Web site with which I am somewhat familiar. Speaking of which, how much pull do you have there? I had a complimentary script when I wrote for the site. When I was dismissed by Barry, it disappeared. Any way it can be restored?

    As for the purpose of your reply, many people are ignorant of the way the aftereffects of the draft work. They see it strictly in the short term. It isn't until a few years down the line that they look back and say something like, "Oh. That's what they meant."

    As for the overall performance by Banner, Lombardi & Co., they hurt more than helped the team. As for the future higher draft picks they traded for, doesn't that depend of how well they draft at the time?

    If they are lousy drafters, what difference does it make? And right now, Banner and Lombardi are off to a shaky start in Cleveland in that regard. Only the sycophants are thrilled with what went down last weekend.

    As for the 2008 draft, kudos on a Beau Bell remembrance. But they did get lucky in round 6 with Ahtyba Rubin. There's something to be said for that.