First-Time Feeling Confident in Scouting
While there are changes (again) to be made to this coaching staff, for the first time in quite a while the general manager and his scouts remain intact for the Cleveland Browns. Regardless of who is on the field, there are many men in charge to choose the best (former) collegiate athletes to bolster this roster. There were several seasons where the team was partially represented or not at all during all-star weeks. Fortunately that is not the case in 2015, and that makes me content with Ray Farmer’s plan of action.
East-West Shrine Game
The perceived “lesser of the two” contest between some of the better athletes occurs at St. Petersburg, Florida. Typically, these guys are not drafted too high in April – but it would be wise for the Browns’ front office to still study this pool of guys. The later rounds of the draft and free agent pickups are usually where these football players are selected. Just looking at last season; Isaiah Crowell, Taylor Gabriel, and K’Waun Williams are three guys who the Browns scooped up following the draft. All three were integral to the team’s success at different parts of the 2014 campaign; can Farmer make note of some under-the-radar guys and have them don orange and brown in the fall of 2015?
Mobile, Alabama is typically where most of the NFL travels to in late January. Coaches, general managers, and television outlets (i.e. NFL Network) all converge to see which top college seniors can improve a professional franchise. These athletes can be chosen anywhere in the draft, from the first round to a free agent acquisition. A huge part of scouting centers on understanding the personality of a young athlete – specifically how he treats football. Is the game a nine-to-five job where the guy is looking to collect checks? The Browns’ roster has been saddled with those types of players over the
years. Or, is football a passion and desire of the NFL prospect? Will the athlete study the sport (especially when few others are) and work hard to be the best in the world at his position? Does he make good decisions, both on and off the field? I do not want to see any more Johnny Manziel-type of players on this roster; a guy who emulates Russell Wilson would be a tremendous start.
The Browns’ Status
Ray Farmer and his scouts have now gone through an entire calendar year in their current roles with the team. They should have a good feeling as to whom to look at and which guys should be avoided in the next few weeks. Of course this is an inexact science, but I have faith that the general manager has the tools and resources to make sage decisions during draft weekend. If the Browns allow him to “take the bull by the horns” and run this draft, Farmer should be able to secure solid athletes consistently. One can debate the value of his two picks in the first round in 2014; however 2015 allows him two more shots to redeem himself (meanwhile Gilbert and Manziel still have time to improve). All that said, I feel much better at this time than I have since 1999.