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The Latest From Browns Town

The Latest From Browns Town

What is New in Berea?

Outside of an embarrassing segment on a morning talk show radio (accusing Browns’ players of frequent drug use), the Browns have relatively been out of the news since the draft has ended. I am excited to hear that the rookies are ready to take the field, and a veteran will be able to participate this season without any contract issues. On the other hand, the 500-pound elephant in the room reared his ugly head. Let’s look further into the recent happenings.

Thumbs Down to Gordon 

In an unsurprising move, wide out Josh Gordon’s appeal back into the league was denied. It’s rough and probably unfair – but at this point, Gordon has not taken a regular season snap since 2014. It is time to cut the cord and move on from this disastrous supplementary draft pick made several years ago. I wish the Browns had drafted another wide receiver a few weeks back (as they could use another talented weapon in that group) – but now they have to hope that Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis, or Jordan Payton step up in their second season.

Crowell Signs Tender

Fortunately, running back Isaiah Crowell inked his restricted free agent tender (at a second round price) a few days ago. 2017 will likely be a “prove it” deal for the rusher – and if he parlays this into a sizable contract with the Browns, then I will not complain. Odds are that he will be the primary runner this season; I anticipate that he will continue to run well for the team.  I would hope he can accumulate over 1,000 yards on the ground in 2017.

Minicamp Begins for Rookies

Sure they are just wearing shirts and shorts with their helmets at this time of year – but at least Myles Garrett, Jabril Peppers, and David Njoku (to name a few) will be on a field together representing the Cleveland Browns. Obviously I will not be able to watch these practices directly, but I would hope to hear about positive reports coming out noting how these guys appear to be much faster, stronger, and bigger than their predecessors. If Deshone Kizer is light years ahead of schedule as to where Cody Kessler was a year ago – that would not be a bad thing either.

Conclusion: We all know that real football does not begin for several months – but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing going on for the orange and brown. The rookies are getting a taste as the work environment, in addition to some good and bad news relating to a pair of veterans.

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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in NFL Draft, Offseason, Players

 

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Thoughts about the Draft

Thoughts about the Draft

How I Feel about the Browns’ Draft

After several months of reports, smokescreens, and debate – the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books.  The Browns came away with ten selections and have improved their team overall (but all franchises can say that).  Let’s go a little more in depth regarding their selections.

Day 1 Picks:

Myles Garrett was a no brainer selection; I am glad the Browns made him their choice and look for him to play well immediately.  I am eager to see him coming off the edge opposite Emmanuel Ogbah and disrupting opposing quarterbacks.  Jabril Peppers was a bit of a stretch when taken at the twenty-fifth selection, but I will give him a chance.  After thinking about it, Gregg Williams should be able to find a role for Peppers (likely at strong safety).  I have no doubts he can support the run and can make plays with the football in his hands.  However, I still worry about his pass coverage.  David Njoku was a value pick and his athletic ability is unmatched.  He might take a year to develop but he might be a dominant tight end in this league.  At the end of the day, how much better are O.J. Howard and Malik Hooker than the two guys the Browns chose?  If the orange and brown secured a pair of athletes with little drop-off than the two aforementioned players – the trade down was worth it.

Day 2 Picks:

I will admit that I have never been a huge Deshone Kizer fan, but as is the same with Peppers – I will give the signal caller a chance.  The fact that the team waited and did not force the pick for a quarterback speaks volumes about the front office.  If he isn’t the guy, then try it again next year.  At least the team did not mortgage the future in the process of the draft.  Larry Ogunjobi is a guy I really did not whole a ton about prior to the draft.  After hearing his story, I am pulling for the guy and would like to see him line up opposite Danny Shelton at some point.

Day 3 Picks:

Two guys who stand out are Howard Wilson and Caleb Brantley.  The former is a cornerback who, despite being a one year starter, could compete in this secondary.  I do not have tremendous faith in him immediately, but he could surprise me and the coaching staff alike.  Brantley is an enigma; he has a second round talent but his pending misdemeanor for assault is something to worry about.  I hope the team did their homework, as wasting a draft selection is not anything this franchise can afford.

Conclusion:  I would rate the Browns draft as a B overall, but looking at the values (of the players) they got – an A is not out of the question.  I’m already for the group to suit up and begin practicing, but I know I now have to wait several months…

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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Presser and Analysis

Presser and Analysis

Three Takeaways

There was a press conference today in Berea with Browns’ front office personnel Sashi Brown and Andrew Berry – which is typical for a team to do with just over a week until the impending NFL Draft. What can be gained from listening to these men converse with the media? As expected, not a ton but there was at least three things I picked up on.

1 – Standing Pat (at Least Early)

When asked whether a similar philosophy to 2016 (where they traded down multiple times) would be in place this year, Sashi Brown said he would be surprised if this occurred. He obviously left the door open for this scenario to occur, but the Browns need playmakers not extra picks after tearing down their roster following the 2015 campaign.  Andrew Berry mentioned that the team doesn’t want to get into a habit of turning two picks into one.

Therefore, I anticipate the team going forward with the first and twelfth selections in the draft (barring something wildly unforeseen).  However, the second round choices and beyond could be moved one way or the other.

2 – Targeting their Signal Caller

In regards to the position of quarterback, Sashi referenced a scarcity of these proficient athletes and Berry mentioned that are so few who can play quarterback in the NFL. What I garner from this is they believe that the most important position in sports must be filled with an exceptional player. Whether it is a trade for Jimmy Garappolo or a move up for a third choice in the first round – the Browns would give up a lot if it resulted in a franchise quarterback.

3 – Not Responding to Rumors

This was obvious yet refreshing to hear to the guys in charge of the press conference. There was no upside to answer questions about guys who the team may or may not choose. Brown and Berry have their draft board in place and changes during the draft could allow them to modify things. I’m frankly sick of all the rumors myself and am looking forward to draft weekend.

Conclusion: From the meeting with the media, it is apparent that theBrowns will not be trading down early on in the draft. Once they determine who their franchise signal caller will be (if applicable in this year’s draft) – they will stop short of nothing to secure him.  If there are no guys to fill the bill, I expect a repeat of last year’s draft. There are many ways the team can go next week in Philadelphia – and for once they might actually do it correctly.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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Thoughts about #12

Thoughts about #12

What I’m Thinking about Number Twelve

No, I’m not referring to the suspended wideout for the Cleveland Browns.  Instead, I am taking a deeper look at the second selection of the franchise – the twelfth overall selection.  It would only make sense that they choose Myles Garrett with the first overall choice – hopefully Sashi Brown and company pull the trigger on the defensive end.  That brings us to the huge question, what to do next?  Below are some options:

Best Offensive Weapon

This would likely be either tight end O.J. Howard or wide receiver Mike Williams.  Despite having Gary Barnidge, Seth DeValve, and Randall Telfair – the Browns could still use an improvement at the tight end spot.  Howard is gigantic (six foot, six inches – over 240 pounds), athletic, and could really help the Browns’ offense.  Underutilized in college – I have a sneaking suspicion that Hue Jackson would know how to best incorporate the athlete.

Seeing Terrelle Pryor depart in free agency, the Browns ought to look at an option to replace the wide receiver.  Williams appears to be the hands-down (save a few Corey Davis fans) best option in the draft.  The former Clemson wideout is rather tall (over six foot, three inches) and large (just under 220 pounds) but is not the fastest of athletes.  In the NFL, it is more about running proper routes and being at the right place at the right time.  The Browns could do a lot worse than Mike Williams with the twelfth choice.

Pick a Falling Defender

Though a less likely scenario, this could still be an option.  It would likely be the result of a few quarterbacks being taken in the top ten picks of the draft – leading to others sliding down the draft board.  Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker are the two top safeties and many are anticipating on both going well before the Browns are on the clock at twelve.  It would be rather tempting for the orange and brown to snag one of that duo up (provided they are available).  Judging for the team’s free agency attempts to secure Tony Jefferson and Bradley McDougald – it would appear that they are not confident at the safety spot.  The Browns can still get a Budda Baker or Obi Melifonwu in the second round, who would be great additions.

Go for the Quarterback

Ahh, the five-hundred pound elephant in the room – what to do with the most important position in sports?  The Browns clearly need a franchise quarterback, but what is their plan?  Will all options be available in the twelfth choice, and if so do the Browns draft their signal caller?  Or will the choose a guy later to develop and compete with Cody Kessler and the other quarterback on the roster (be it Brock Osweiler or someone else).  Personally, I like Mitchell Trubisky the best, but would ok with either Davis Webb or Patrick Mahomes in the later rounds.  I am greedy though, and would rather have the Browns pick Trubisky with their third-first round pick (after trading up).

Conclusion:  Assuming there are no trades made by the franchise (which could be a huge leap) – I hope the Browns take option number one with their second choice.  The NFL is an offensive league and the team needs more playmakers, especially to help out their signal caller.  They are fortifying their defense with Garrett and can complement the standout with solid secondary choices in rounds two through seven.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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On the the Next Phase: QB Talk

On the the Next Phase: QB Talk

Time to Move on

The Cleveland Browns need a franchise quarterback on their roster (I understand that this is a grossly obvious statement).  Having said that, there is no inconceivable reason as to why they should pick up an underachieving free agent signal caller.  Sashi Brown and company must focus on the draft instead of finding a guy who will not do anything of substance on the field.  Let’s review what I’m referring to.

Jimmy Garrappolo Situation

It appears that a trade scenario is dead – rumors of the Browns offering a reasonable pair of second round draft picks and being
turned away was all I needed to hear.  Giving up any more than that is insane and an awful decision for the Browns to surrender top choices for such a big question mark.  For that reason, the Browns (and more importantly the media) should look for answers in other directions.

Colin Kaepernick and Baggage

First, there is the kneeling during the national anthem last season – and the response that many NFL fans have given the quarterback.  However, the reason why I do not want Colin on this team is that he is not a viable professional quarterback.  Colin’s better days are behind him, and he appeared to be a quarterback on a team that caught lightning in a bottle.  The 49ers ran a zone read offense and were the benefactors of others not having a tremendous amount of film on the quarterback.  The same cannot be said in 2017 – thus the Browns must stay away.

Noise about Geno

Fortunately, Geno Smith is not signing a contact to come here and play football.  Like Kaepernick, Smith cannot play the position in the NFL and therefore will not be needed in Berea, Ohio.  I understand reporters want to write stories about what they are hearing – but picking up a known failure in the league is just a silly decision.

Draft and Two Routes

That leaves us with the 2017 NFL Draft – the Browns can go one of two ways.  The first is to secure a quarterback in the first or second round (and tab them as their franchise quarterback), or they could choose a guy in the middle rounds to develop into a viable option down the road.  For the first option, I am going back and forth between Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson.  Via the developmental route – Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes are two athletes who I would feel comfortable with.  I hope Sashi and company know the correct path and select the right guy.

Conclusion:  I am done hearing about the Cleveland Browns scouring the free agency market for guys to come in and be members of this team. Frankly, that market has dried up and the backup in New England is not
coming here.

The franchise’s fortunes should be clearer the weekend of April 27th through the 29th.  I cannot tell you who the front office will choose – but the best signal caller would be ideal.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in Free Agency, NFL Draft

 

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Two Rookies and Two Different Opinions

Two Rookies and Two Different Opinions

A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

I find it rather fascinating that two young men in the identical situation have two completely mindsets – at least to what the media
and fans are privy to.  Nonetheless, a pair of athletes chose to speak about their draft potential and where they want to play in the National Football League.  Will this mean anything in the big picture?  Possibly not, especially if the Cleveland Browns do not select either candidate in the upcoming draft.  Let’s look into the differing attitudes.

First up:  Deshaun Watson

On the heels of Myles Garrett stating he wants Jerry Jones to trade up and draft him to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys, a former Clemson quarterback all but reiterated these sentiments.  Whether Garrett and Watson were joking or not, the slight of the franchise in northeast Ohio is obvious by those who support the orange and brown.  (This is not even including the Senior Bowl snub by the quarterback, after Hue Jackson contacted the athlete to participate in Mobile,
Alabama).

Watson said at an awards ceremony that the Cowboys should trade both Tony Romo and Dak Prescott to the Browns so he could become the next signal caller in Dallas.  Again, whether he was being honest or not, turning off a rabid fan base is not a wise move for a guy wanting to break into the league.  Personally, I do not think Watson will translate to an excellent quarterback in the NFL – he does not possess a tremendous deep ball and his overall ability in the pocket could use improvement.  Could that change with great coaching?  Sure, but I still have my doubts.

Second Option:  Patrick Mahomes II

Meanwhile, the former Texas Tech signal caller said he is doing everything he can to be the number one overall selection and would love to learn from head coach Hue Jackson.  I understand it is not realistic that this will occur, but that does not mean the Browns will refrain from taking Mahomes at all (perhaps in the second round).  I have my reservations about Mahomes as well, as spread quarterbacks in the NCAA historically do not translate to the next level.  The signal caller will have to learn how to understand a complicated play book, read defenses, look off wide outs and hit the second or third options (to name a few things).

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh on the guy, but the jump from the collegiate level to the professional game is a significant one.  I suppose I could be on board with drafting this guy – provided the Browns address the quarterback via another route (i.e. Jimmy Garappolo or another veteran).  His attitude is definitely refreshing and I hope he makes it in the NFL, regardless of where he is selected.

Conclusion:  In another slow period of the year, the quarterback position makes news in Cleveland, Ohio.  Two options are making their feelings known about being chosen by the Browns – one said he would rather not go there, while the other embraced it.  I would prefer Deshone Kizer or Mitch Trubisky at this point, but perhaps Patrick Mahomes could be an under the radar choice in April.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Free Agency, NFL Draft, Offseason, Players

 

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Cleveland Browns and the Senior Bowl

Cleveland Browns and the Senior Bowl

The 2017 Senior Bowl 

For the first time since 1993, the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff is manning the sideline during the Senior Bowl. I hope this is to the advantage of the franchise, as more time up close and personal is an important thing prior to the NFL draft. I would like to think that Hue Jackson and company know what they are doing, but let’s take a deeper look.

Different Mentality

Several media members have been upset at the Cleveland Browns’ mentality as to how they are running Senior Bowl practices. Instead of the traditional “live” participation where it’s man against man each play – the coaches are instructing the guys on the correct techniques and working on individual drills. Granted, this is only going on for a week – but the Browns will find out which players will accept coaching and which want to do their own thing. I would like to believe that the Browns could potentially have an advantage here during the draft, where they find out a few extra details about potential draft selections.

Understand Positions

There is a stereotype that playmakers have usually come from collegiate Juniors (and redshirt Sophomores), thus the Senior Bowl is here to primarily display lineman and middle of the round selections. With a few exceptions, I subscribe to this thinking – the Browns will likely take a pair of non-Seniors in the first round. Therefore, they should utilize this time in Mobile to determine who makes sense in rounds three through six. 

Potential Options

Seeing as to what the Browns need, I would be content with several members of the Senior Bowl joining the team next fall. Ryan Switzer and Cooper Kupp have been impressive in practice, but I cannot see them as franchise wide receivers. Meanwhile, the quarterbacks appear to be prospects at this point; where they could possibly become respectable veterans at some point in their career.

Pass catchers have really jumped out to me. Outside of the aforementioned duo, O.J. Howard, Josh Reynolds, and Evan Engram each had their moments as well. I would more than welcome the Browns saddling up with these athletes in the second to fourth rounds. I understand Hue Jackson loves quarterbacks (and why not), so if he does not take a signal caller early in April’s draft – he could opt for a Josh Dobbs or Davis Webb later in the process.

Conclusion: The key about this week is to determine what to look for in athletes as well as translating this into the scouting combine and senior pro days. The Browns need tremendous athletes who are hungry for football and have a tremendous desire for the sport. I’m sick and tired of misses during the draft for one reason or another – it is finally time to get it right this April.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players

 

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