Friday, April 26, 2019

Mixed second day at the draft

John Dorsey covered himself with glory with his first college draft as Browns general manager last year. He hit what amounted to a grand slam.

That definitely will not be the case this year. Far from it, in fact.

Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, Genard Avery and Antonio Callaway became either starters or major contributors in 2018.

Based on his selections Friday night in rounds two and three of this year’s lottery, Dorsey will be fortunate to wind up with one starter and/or major contributor after sitting out round one Thursday night..

The selections of cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round and linebacker Sione Takitaki in round three did not exactly send Browns Nation into waves of ecstasy, especially the latter pick.

Williams has a major flaw that tempers the selection. Thought by many draft gurus to be one of the best cover corners in the draft, he has an allergy to tackling. The Browns can ill afford another poor tackler. That facet the defense plagued the team all last season.

“Cornerbacks are paid to cover,” Dorsey told the Cleveland media. Maybe so, but they are also paid to be strong in run support. In the National Football League, cornerbacks are expected to be available in run support. Without it, opposing teams will relentlessly attack the edges all season.

One gets the impression the 6-2, 185-pound Williams – “I like big corners,” Dorsey said – will be automatically plugged in to play opposite Ward, who had trouble tackling in his rookie season and suffered two concussions as a result.

“He is immensely talented,” Dorsey said of the newest member of the Cleveland secondary. “He’s got feet, he’s got hips, he’s got length, he can press, he can play off. Now you just want to see him mature moving forward.

To be successful moving forward, Williams will need to bulk up his lean frame and not only learn how to learn how to tackle, but be willing to do it. It is a mind-set. If he can do that, he could turn out to be as good as another former LSU corner – Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals.

Dorsey, who said he tried several times to move up in round two when he saw corners snapped up, hauled out the we-couldn’t-believe-he-was-there bromide when Williams was still available at 46.

He finally found a trade partner in Indianapolis, surrendering one his three fifth-round choices, to grab the corner from Louisiana State, whose real first name is Andraez.

“I thought he’d be one of the first five guys picked off the board (Friday),” Dorsey said and then congratulated himself. “This is a really good pick, a heck of a pick.”

There was a reason six corners were selected before Williams, five of them at the top of the second round. Dorsey spoke almost as though Williams was the top-ranked player regardless of position on his board when he struck and obviously not in accord with his fellow GMs.

The Takitaki pick, on the other hand, is a head scratcher. Unless I’m way off here, the linebacker from Brigham Young is not well known at all beyond Provo, Utah.

He had a problem with self-discipline at BYU before straightening out his life. He missed one season at school after pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft, according to a story in, and was thrown off the team (only to be reinstated by a team vote) in another.

The 6-1, 240-pounder appears to be a project. Projects are not usually selected in the third round. Hard to believe he sat atop the Browns’ draft board at the time of his selection.

He will probably wind up on special teams, taking advantage of his aggressive approach, and most likely will be a pet project for defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Dorsey can make up for his less-than stellar performance (thus far) with four more rounds and five more picks (barring any movement) Saturday with his strong track record of successfully mining the depths of the draft clearly working in his favor.

Considering Dorsey passed on several well-regarded safeties in the draft, it looks as though the Browns plan on going with recent free-agent pickup Morgan Burnett to replace Jabrill Peppers at strong safety.

1 comment:

  1. Takitaki is probably a special teams pick until he hones his skills. But the thing that bothers me about Greedy Williams is the fact that his agent didn't allow any visits, leading many to suspect that they were hiding an injury.