Friday, April 26, 2013

Who said it couldn't get worse?

That’s it?

Three rounds of the National Football League college draft over a two-day period and all the Browns come away with are Mutt and Jeff?

This is what Browns Nation waited for the last several months? Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo and cornerback Leon McFadden is all they could come up with? A definite disappointment.

Not that I expected the club to come away with a couple of future Pro Bowlers, but my goodness, what a letdown.

It’s as though Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi, Ray Farmer and Rob Chudzinski sat on their hands for the better part of two days, staring longingly at their draft board, while the rest of the NFL feasted on all that talent.

During the second round, I kept waiting to hear Rich Eisen on the NFL Network or Trey Wingo on ESPN declare there’s a trade involving the Cleveland Browns.

Surely, Banner would try to recoup the second-round pick the Browns lost when they selected Josh Gordon in last summer’s supplemental draft. There were three deals in the round, but not a peep from Cleveland.

Maybe he tried. I don’t know. If so, he didn’t try hard enough.

One explanation we might hear out of the Browns’ relative non-participation in rounds two and three is that “Gordon is our second-round pick.” It’s a spin that will be bought by sycophantic Browns fans.

Sorry, that doesn’t wash. It’s nothing more than rationale.

By the time the Browns finally were placed on the clock at the top of the third round, most of the good players, those not quite good enough to receive first-round grades, were gone.

One can only guess there wasn’t anyone they deemed worthy enough of trading back into the second round.

A lot of second-rounders who were chosen could have filled a critical need for the Browns. Players like tight ends Zach Ernst and Gavin Escobar, inside linebackers Kevin Minter and Jon Bostic, guard Brian Winters from Kent State and cornerbacks Jamar Taylor, Johnathan Banks and David Amerson were there for the taking.

The club needs help in all those areas. And the best they could come up with in Friday’s exercise was McFadden, who can’t reach five-foot, 10 inches on a good day.

This is the guy the club wants to play opposite Joe Haden in the Cleveland secondary. After passing on the larger and more experienced Dee Milliner in the first round, a lot of hope and pressure is going to be unduly placed on McFadden, who was given a fifth-round grade by Mike Mayock of the NFL Network.

Known for his feistiness, probably to overcome his lack of ideal height, McFadden is way too small to compete against some of the AFC North’s large wideouts.

I find it hard to believe that Banner, with all his connections, could not find a willing trade partner. The best they could do was a deal for veteran Miami wide receiver Davone Bess that also involved swapping mid- and late-round draft picks. It’s appears to be insurance pending the recovery of free-agent signee David Nelson from ACL surgery.

Wonder what Norv Turner is thinking. Throughout his NFL career as a coordinator and head coach, he has always benefited from terrific tight ends. He was smart enough to build offenses around them.

Right now, the tight ends on the Cleveland roster are Jordan Cameron, Gary Barnidge, Kellen Davis, Dan Gronkowski and Brad Smelley. Based on that group, it looks very much as though Turner is going to dramatically change his philosophy and run the offense through another more talented group.

Ray Horton, his counterpart on defense, must have whispered more than sweet nothings in Banner’s ear considering the direction the club took in rounds one and three.

The two defensive selections are puzzling. Chudzinski is an offensive-minded coach. Unless he’s dumb, deaf and blind, he has to know the Cleveland offense needs some serious help.

Banner and his merry men have five picks in the final four rounds Saturday: No. 111 in the fourth, No. 164 in the fifth, No. 175 in the sixth and Nos. 217 and 227 in the seventh.

Given what we’ve seen the first two days, it’s hard to believe the Browns will be able to fill targeted needs with what’s left. Panning for those final-day gems will not be easy.

This is where the men are separated from the boys, the knowledgeable selectors from those who use darts.

Given what we’ve seen from the first two sessions, it’s hard to be optimistic about the direction this new regime is taking the club.

The overall grade after two days: C- verging on a D. 


  1. Wow shocker Rich that you would hate everything the Browns did so far. Can you document for us the last time you actually were pleased with something the team did? Your take is a C- verging on a D my friend. Go buy yourself a positive attitude...

  2. On one condition, anon. That you go buy yourself a large dose of reality. Nice to hear from one of the sycophants.

    Mine is only one opinion, sir. I have as good a chance of being wrong as I do of being correct. My track record over the years, though, indicates the latter.

    I'd love nothing better than to be proven wrong. That would mean the Browns are getting better, which would please me, believe it or not.

    And next time, please be brave enough to attach your name to a response. It's really not that difficult.

  3. I have no problems with what they've done so far and I like what I read about these guys. Rich, you most a comedian. I can always count on a good laugh when I come here.

  4. Happy to please you, unk. There's more on the way as long as they keep making clown moves.

  5. you're 100% on target here. great piece. kanick

  6. Thanx, Jim. The wrapup draft piece will make the first two look like puff pieces.

  7. I think my freaking head is going to explode. It feels like the Browns gave up on the draft, there was plenty of talent in rounds 4 and 5. But they chose to "wait until next year" and trade out of those rounds. I can live with Mingo. Heir Banner claimed they had a trade ready if Mingo wasn't there....I'm calling BS on that one. Makes me long for Tom Heckert.

  8. I can live with Mingo, but there was a lot of better talent on the board at the time. Just qualifying that statement, my head was exploding when I wrote it.

  9. Hi Marc,

    Advil, my friend, Advil.

    I think I'm going to call this the spectator draft for the Browns, puzzling inaction that cannot be adequately explained or spun.

    I've witnessed a lot of drafting techniques, but this one has me absolutely baffled. I'm not certain this was a Banner draft or a Lombardi draft. Or perhaps an amalgamation.

    Whatever, this does not bode well for 2013. It surely looks as though they didn't really try to improve this team.

    But I will say this. Strangely enough, I liked the last pick. I would much rather it had been Reid Fragel from OSU (who was drafted later by Cincinnati) than Garrett Gilkey. But Gilkey translates well to guard and could surprise in training camp.

    He's my dark horse candidate to raise some eyebrows.

    Other than that, it was a blah draft, one that had to puzzle Norv Turner as well. Of the five picks, four play defense. Maybe the Davone Bess trade counts for the offense.