Expect the unexpected with Dorsey
Never let it be said John Dorsey is afraid of taking chances or keeping everyone guessing, usually incorrectly.
He gambled big time in the opening round of the National Football League college football draft by selecting the shortest quarterback in the lottery with the first pick and reaching for a cornerback, a need pick instead of the best player available, with his second.
So when the final four rounds of the draft began Saturday, one could only wonder what the unpredictable Dorsey would attempt. He did not disappoint. It took only five picks to find out.
Antonio Callaway is a super talented wide receiver at the University of Florida and regarded at one time as one of the best wideouts in this draft. He was regarded by many to be good enough to be no worse than a second-round certainty, if not higher.
But off-the-field baggage, which included failing a drug test at the Indy Combine, dropped his value so low, many teams erased his name from their draft boards.
Not the Browns. Not Dorsey. Five picks into the fourth round, the GM, fearful other clubs were about to make a move on Callahan, could wait no longer. He traded up with the New England Patriots and pulled the trigger.
Never mind that Callahan missed the entire 2017 season at Florida after being suspended along with several teammates for alleged credit card fraud. He previously faced sexual assault allegations and was ultimately found not responsible, and was cited a year ago for marijuana possession.
The young man was trouble. And didn’t the Browns have enough problems with Josh Gordon, who is just one step away from receiving a lifetime suspension from the NFL due to drug abuse? Numerous red flags surrounded him. Dorsey did not care
He arrived in Cleveland several months ago as the Browns’ general manager with the reputation of being fearless when stocking a franchise. If he was a quality football player, Dorsey did not hesitate to target him and eventually select him in the NFL’s annual college football draft regardless of personal problems.
Perfect example was wide receiver Tyreek Hill in Kansas City. Hill, who was involved in a nasty domestic assault incident at the time, lasted until the fifth round of the 2016 draft. And that’s when Dorsey pounced.
Hill rewarded Dorsey with two scintillating seasons as a wide receiver and kick returner, gaining the reputation as one of the most dangerous players in the league.
There is no question Dorsey is hoping lightning can strike twice with the 5-11, 200-pound Callahan, who would give the Browns a solid and potentially dangerous deep threat.
A wide receiver corps of Gordon, free-agent signee Jarvis Landry and Callahan would give the Browns strength at a position that has sorely lack the last several seasons.
Callahan, in an effort to turn his life around, has leaned on veteran Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown for guidance as he begins his professional football career.
Dorsey made three other picks in rounds five and six – Memphis linebacker Genard Avery, Texas A&M wide receiver Damion Ratley and Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Simeon Thomas – but none had the impact of the Callahan pick.
Dorsey justified his controversial move. “He’ll understand what it means to be a Cleveland Brown,” he said without defining what that meant. “Once he understands 100% . . .. the Cleveland Browns are 100% committed to make this man a football player.”
The Browns’ support system was one of the key factors in the decision he believes will help turn this young man’s life in the right direction.
Callaway, who recently became a father for the first time, said, “I’m not this bad person the media portrays. I can’t stress it enough. I just have to let my actions speak for me. . . . It ain’t too much about athletics, just really about life and how you have to make good decisions.”
Avery, Ratley and Thomas most likely will be special teamers at best if they make the final roster. At worst, they could wind up a training camp fodder.
All in all, an interesting – to say the least – three days for Dorsey’s first draft with the Browns. I’ll share my final thoughts and the final grade in a couple of days.