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Monthly Archives: April 2014

So who’s the guy at the fourth selection?

So who’s the guy at the fourth selection?

Final call at #4 – Who are the Browns going to take?

Enough of this speculation, the time has finally come to make my official prediction regarding who the Cleveland Browns will choose with the fourth overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft.  Clearly, they can go a myriad of directions but they need a impactful playmaker who can excel over a long period of time.

Again, the ideal scenario is that the franchise secures their signal caller at number four and can worry about other positions for years to come.  However, I’m buying into (which could turn out to be erroneous) the hype that the Browns will wait to take their quarterback.  Therefore, that reduces my options to just two players.

On the offensive side of the football, wide receiver has become the second most important position – after the quarterback.  Despite featuring one of the best in the league (at this spot) in Josh Gordon, the team could still use another guy in the huddle to put fear in their opponent.  That guy is Sammy Watkins; the dynamic standout from Clemson.  He is not as tall as Gordon (just under six-feet, one-inch), but his skill set – which features break-away speed – is very complementary.

Defensively, terrorizing quarterbacks is the name of the game.  Some have argued that Jadeveon Clowney may not be the best pass rusher available in this draft – that distinction lies with Khalil Mack.  He has tremendous measurables (six-feet, three-inches and 248 pounds) while flashing brilliance last season.  Would the team take a guy in the same position as they did in 2013?  Is passing on Mack a wise idea?  The defender’s presence could really help transform this franchise.

I understand the receiving crop is very deep, but my gut feeling is that the Browns will take Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall selection.  The thought of him, Gordon, Andrew Hawkins, Ben Tate, and Jordan Cameron makes me smile.  This might be the most talented offense the Cleveland Browns have had since probably the 1980s.  Obviously, they have to still have to put it together on the field – but I would be willing to roll the dice with these athletes.

Conclusion:  The two additional weeks of draft chatter has been mind-numbing, and I am thankful it is coming to an end.  I may not be correct in my prediction, but getting Watkins would be great for this organization.  However, trading down or choosing a quarterback early would not surprise me in the least.  The offense has sputtered greatly for a long period of time; Watkins could make life easier for Hoyer and any other quarterbacks on this roster

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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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How much better are these Browns?

How much better are these Browns?

The 2014 Cleveland Browns – Really Improved or Excellent Marketing?

I recently went to the team’s official website (clevelandbrowns.com) and noticed there were multiple videos featuring veterans.  Two have been here for one season, while the other was a recent acquisition.  That being said, they have not been accustomed to the perpetual losing like some of the other members on the roster.  Are these athletes genuine and will they turn the team around, beginning this campaign?  Or is the website providing false optimism about the Browns now, while impending doom will occur in the fall?  It remains to be seen, but let’s review the three online videos.

Defensive End Desmond Bryant:

The athletic defender clamined to be hungry and ready to go for the upcoming season (following his irregular heartbeat, which prematurely concluded his 2013 campaign).  The now healthy Bryant has been working hard in California and is anxious to join his teammates.  As far as his new boss is concerned, the lineman has shown a great deal of  respect and admiration for coach Pettine – who is defensive-minded.  All of this is positive, and should Bryant remain healthy – I could see another solid year for him.

Cornerback Donte Whitner: 

Discussing the training regimen he is going through, Whitner knows what it takes to be a winner in this league (appearing in three consecutive NFL Championship Games).  The cornerback also spoke about team’s chemistry and how the players are buying in to the new regime.  In order to lay the foundation, Pettine assembled the roster and asked questions in order to find out more about the athletes.  This process was lauded by Whitner; none of this will matter when it’s third-and-goal being up four against the Steelers, and the defense needs a stop.  However, perhaps that moment will be the origin of a strong locker room – which will last for years to come.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer:

After tearing his ACL last season, the signal caller is excited for his teammates to return to Berea.  The veteran has been rehabilitating there and likely misses the camraderie of others.  Hoyer also spoke about the organization and changing the culture – obviously winning will expedite that transformation.  Spearheading that is the quarterback, who has the greatest impact on his team’s success.  Remaining confident, the former Michigan State player believes he will be “the guy” this year.  This interview is extremely positive, but there is ample amount of work to be accomplished, and many things have to go right, in order for his vision to be realized.

Conclusion:  As is likely the case with many fans, watching Bryant, Whitner, and Hoyer gets you amped for the regular season to commence.  However, the Cleveland Browns have not proved anything on the field as of late to give you hope for 2014.  As for the debate, this was a tremendous job by the organization to promote the players’ drive and determination.  I find it hard that the team is truly enhanced at this point; perhaps that won’t be the case in a few weeks or months though.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Offseason, Players

 

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The Expiration Date on Alex Mack’s Ploy

The Expiration Date on Alex Mack’s Ploy

Starting to Sour on Alex Mack

The transition-tagged center from California is trying his best to shed donning the orange and brown for the rest of his career.  After not re-signing his contract extension a few weeks ago (after multiple members of the front office flew out to “pitch” the Cleveland Browns), his agent Marvin Demoff told the media he would try to construct a contract that would not be matched by his current employer – ensuring his departure.  Now, Mack is meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars and an offer may be the end result.  As a Browns fan, I am beyond disappointed by Mack and his agent – and am leaning towards the Browns making plans for life after Mack.

Despite the team’s favorable salary cap situation, they are under no obligation to pay an exorbitant amount to a center.  I understand the player touches the ball every single play – but there will be a time when athletes like Joe Haden, Josh Gordon, and whoever the franchise quarterback will be, are going to negotiate their own contracts.  I highly favor securing longer deals with players who can impact the game more than an interior offensive lineman.  The exception to that rule is left tackle, as a priority has been given to that position and Joe Thomas has excelled at protecting several guys behind center.

My ideal scenario would be that no team signs Mack to a contract extension, the Browns choose a center (my favorites are Travis Swanson and Weston Richburg) and start him out at guard.  In 2015, this player would then slide to his natural position.  Another option would be that this rookie lines up in the middle near the end of the 2014 season; however that’s only if the campaign is a lost cause.

Should Jacksonville, or another NFL franchise for that matter, ink the center to a contract extension then the Browns will have a difficult decision.  If there is an ample amount of guaranteed money and the annual salary is close to his transition tag amount (just over $10 million), I would be content with Ray Farmer and the front office bidding adieu to the two-time Pro Bowler.  The Browns have ten draft picks this year; heck, take two centers if you are that worried about the position!  Having a solid snapper is important in this league, but as far as the pecking order goes – it is well below quarterback, pass rusher, lock-down cornerback, etc.

If the Browns do match Alex Mack’s deal, I will be pulling for him (just as I would with any of the other fifty-two guys on the roster).  However, it’s apparent he and his agent want to relocate after a futile fife-year run.  Frankly, I don’t really blame him – but the Jacksonville Jaguars are not the model of consistent winning in the league either.  This will-he-or-won’t-he is getting old, and the Browns do not have much leverage at this point.  That can all change after the draft, expediting the process before Mack is mandated to report – training camp starts in mid July.

 

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