Tag Archives: NFL Draft

What’s the Latest from Berea?

What’s the Latest from Berea?

Pre-Combine News and Notes: Cleveland Browns

In just over a week, the Browns will be sending representatives to Indianapolis at the Scouting Combine.  That is a crucial part of the NFL season for two reasons.  Outside of the obvious that front offices can get up close looks at potential new members of their clubs, recent history has shown that this has been an outlet for trade and free agency discussion amongst franchises.  However, before that begins let’s look back at what has gone down for the Cleveland football team.

McCloughan on Board

The former General Manager of the Redskins, Scot McCloughan has joined up with the Browns in a consulting role for the upcoming league year.  It’s been reported that the executive has shared his feelings regarding some possible quarterbacks for the Browns.  First, is that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback – but not a great, franchise signal caller (you can win championships with).  Secondly, McCloughan has made mention that he is supportive of the former University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.  Granted, the former Redskin will be employed in a part-time advisory role, but one would have to believe his thoughts and beliefs will have to be considered strongly.  Personally, I would be ok with either – assuming the Browns secure both a veteran and a top-end rookie, they should vastly improve that position.

A.J. is Unrestricted

In an unusual set of circumstances, Bengals’ quarterback (for the time being) has been granted unrestricted free agency with the team who drafted him, following a grievance hearing.  I’ve always envisioned him with the dreaded label “game manager”, but it would appear that he might get his shot to be a full-time starter in 2018.  After nearly trading for McCarron last fall, the Browns might take another shot to secure the athlete.  The big difference between 2017 and 2018 is that the team has replaced Sashi Brown with John Dorsey (and Eliot Wolf and Alonzso Highsmith).  One would have to believe that the influx of football knowledge would overrule Hue Jackson if they did not share the same feelings towards the signal caller.  McCarron wouldn’t be my first choice as a Browns’ quarterback but the team could do worse.

Canton/Cleveland Draft?

It was recently announced that Canton and Cleveland (in a joint weekend) is a possible destination for either the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft.  I would be happy that the local economy would see another spike over a couple of days, as well as northeast Ohio being the center of the professional football world.  I might even attend some part of the event – provided they win the right to host.  There are other worthy candidates like Kansas City and Denver (to name a few).  Either way, I will be watching from somewhere and hope the Browns pick last in the first round instead of first.

Conclusion:  In the first slow period after the Super Bowl, the Browns will receive bits of information regarding potential new  members of the 2018 squad.  First, Scot McCloughan will put in his two cents about the team’s direction going forward.  It will be very interesting to see how it aligns with the rest of the front office.  Also, A.J. McCarron will be on the market next month, with no compensation required to sign him.  Will signing him be a sound decision, or was Hue Jackson (and company) panicking last year when they nearly traded for the Bengals’ backup quarterback?


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PSA Reminder

PSA Reminder

PSA:  Don’t Forget it’s Silly Season

Now there are reports of the Browns drafting Leonard Fournette or Mitchell Trubisky with the first overall pick.  There are also musings of the team putting a trade down “in play”.  This is a friendly reminder that this is not the truthful season.

It is not time to overthink this Browns’ fans.  When the Browns have made monumental moves historically – they were not announced in the media two weeks before the draft.  The same could have been said about other teams.

I fully expect the Browns to make move during the draft weekend; however it will not be the type of trade being announced in the media.

I am ready and eager about this pending draft, but I am not concerned about what the team may or might not do.

Expect other news to come out over the coming weeks regarding the Browns.  Remember, however, don’t believe everything report you hear.

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Posted by on April 12, 2017 in NFL Draft, Players


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What’s New with the Browns?

What’s New with the Browns?

Calm Before the Storm: Cleveland Browns Before the Draft

It’s April, and that means the NFL Draft is just only a few weeks away. It appears that the league is always generating news for all twelve months. That said; let’s see what is currently going down regarding the Cleveland Browns. First, the team said goodbye to a native son, a prevailing thought should be kept in mind by the front office, and the 2016 year kicks off.

Out with the Old

The analytics machine reared its ugly head last week, as veteran Donte Whitner was the latest casualty from the Browns’ roster. The safety played well in spurts in his first campaign with the club, but had his issues in 2015 (and is not getting any younger). Like Karlos Dansby and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu before him, I wish the athlete nothing but the best – as long as he’s not facing the Browns. It will be interesting to figure out how this could potentially shake up the team’s draft plans. Jalen Ramsey is a tremendous talent, but the Browns need a quarterback before they should worry about the safety position.

Reaching for those QBs

It’s extremely obvious that teams typically overvalue quarterbacks (and rightly so on some occasions), therefore teams not needing a signal caller are in line to be the beneficiaries. I have a good feeling that if the Browns take Goff or Wentz with the second overall selection, they will be able to scoop up a valuable athlete that was previously given a first round grade. I am partial to a wide out being taken by the team at the thirty-second position. However, the opening of a need at safety must be considered as well. I know the team needs to improve their offensive line following a pair of departures last month. However, analytics would likely say that this position group could be acquired in the middle rounds of the draft.

Pre-Draft Workouts

Despite the team not practicing plays and running routes, etc., the Browns gathered together and began their strength training for the 2016 campaign. Hopefully the new strength coaches can be improvements upon their predecessors – as the rash of injuries in 2015 was mind numbing. Some camaraderie would also be welcomed; even if the team does not have one of the most talented locker rooms, solidifying a close knit group would be an advantage during the season (especially the tough times).

Conclusion: The news and notes continue to roll out for the Cleveland Browns. The turnover of the 2015 roster continues and the older veterans are on the chopping block. I have faith in this front office, but they must get the right guys to succeed the departed players. The Browns finally got together as a team for the upcoming season; while the Xs and Os will not be a talking point – I’m pulling for this being the start of a vastly improved unit from a year ago.


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Zeroing in Team Needs – Cleveland Browns

Zeroing in Team Needs – Cleveland Browns

Top Three Priorities for the Cleveland Browns

As we are underway in the free agency period, there are a couple of positional groups that are in dire need of upgrading for the Cleveland Browns.  Some of these will be addressed by acquiring free agents (from other squads), while other positions will be improved upon (hopefully) via the draft.  Which are the most vital areas of the team that the front office should supplement with better athletes?  Let’s break it down below…


This is an obvious no-brainer, as Josh McCown is the only signal caller currently on the roster who could even have a shot at winning an NFL game.  It should be apparent that the team will select their next guy under center in April’s draft.  I would like to see the team secure their new athlete with the second overall pick, insert him in the lineup to play immediately, and see what happens from there. Unlike much of the fan base, I understand developing a franchise quarterback takes time – so the wins might not be there in 2016 but that could change down the road.

Wide Receiver

Another apparent spot to upgrade is at wide out.  Unlike quarterback, I want to see the Browns sign a guy in free agency (Mohamed Sanu is a likely candidate) as well as draft one in the second round.  Drafting a young signal caller is a good start for this team, however finding large, fast targets to help him out is something that the Browns need to accomplish as well.  The Browns were riddled last season with small receivers who got hurt easily and were not physically gifted to match up with their opponents.   I’m tired of seeing the team not scoring touchdowns in the fall; great wide receivers should help with this problem.


Both inside and outside linebackers need to be substantially better in 2016 than they have been in prior seasons.  Karlos Dansby is not getting any younger and Craig Robertson is solid but might not remain with this team.  The Browns need to find a guy who can not only cover receivers up the middle, but also be fundamentally sound with his ability to tackle.  On the outside, at least one dominant pass rusher is needed for this defense.   Nate Orchard is the only young athlete who showed promise in 2015 – everyone else either underachieved or has an unknown status.  The Browns might be able to scoop up a diamond in the rough (at linebacker) in the middle rounds of the draft; hopefully they are able to utilize him effectively in Ray Horton’s defense.

Conclusion:  I am looking forward to the Browns finally being able to make this roster better than it was a season ago.  I understand that they actually have to make the correct decisions, but I would like to believe they will do a better job than their predecessors.  The team needs to improve their quarterback, wide receiver, and linebacker positions – whichever way possible.  If the Browns can successfully accomplish this, perhaps they could actually make a leap towards respectability one year after seventeen weeks of misery.

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Posted by on March 11, 2016 in Free Agency, NFL Draft, Offseason


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What Can the Draft Do for You?

What Can the Draft Do for You?

Getting Giddy for September

The NFL season is not for another four months, and even the preseason is three months away. However, probably unwisely so, I am very excited to see what the 2015 Cleveland Browns can do on the field. Do I expect them to go 12 – 4 and have a first-round bye in the playoffs? No, but why couldn’t they finally make the leap from a bad-to-mediocre club to a feared one on an annual basis. Let’s see why I am positive on the orange and brown…

Achieving High Marks from Outsiders

Whether it was the Poll on NFL Network, Andrew Siciliano, Charlie Casserly, or Dane Brugler (to name a few) – the Browns drafted head and shoulders above many other franchises in the league. Some dubbed it as safe, while others label it as solid. I personally don’t care what they call it, as long as the team is both better as a result and narrows the perceived talent gap deficiency from several elite teams.

Last season the Browns made headway into the division, getting two victories in the AFC North. A solid draft, and exceptional coaching and development could continue to help the orange and brown. I feel the team is still on the right path and is improving well; securing more than two wins within the AFC North is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Getting Football Players who Love the Game 

Signing talented athletes is obviously the key of draft weekend. However, having the right guys is also a major aspect. This includes athletes who eat, breathe, study, and live football. Guys that not only love the sport, but treat this as a full-time job appears to be what was lacking from the first round of the 2014 draft (subject to change) for the Cleveland Browns.

I am getting a sense of excitement from these guys, for an opportunity to play in the league and improve the team for which he plays. I never got that Johnny Manziel or Justin Gilbert – they said some positive things, but enthusiasm to be a professional athlete was not one of them. If this duo takes a page from Shelton and Erving, and more importantly play to what we expect from them, the Browns can be well ahead of where they were not too long ago.

Conclusion: I know the Browns “won” the draft in 2007, according to many experts. While that was not the case (outside of All-Pro Joe Thomas), they still made some wise moves. In 2015, I expect a majority of the twelve selections to make a huge impact on this team. As we all know, there are so many facets that go into a successful NFL franchise. However, for the first time in awhile – most of these areas appear to be good-to-great. It’s now time for the team to getting top play across the board, following several weeks of practice and training.

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Posted by on May 9, 2015 in NFL Draft, NFL Season, Players


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Cleveland Browns – Round One Picks – Analysis

Cleveland Browns – Round One Picks – Analysis

Quick React – Day One of the NFL Draft

Many are touting both picks for the Cleveland Browns as safe and not exciting. That’s definitely fine by me, so long as they can get guys who can play and excel in professional. I was a bit surprised Ray Farmer did not trade up or down with either pick, but nonetheless let’s review his decisions.

Danny Shelton – Defensive Tackle – Washington

The twelfth selection was not much of a surprise (and #4 on my big board), and a welcomed addition to this team. While I would have preferred wide receiver DeVante Parker, Shelton is still a tremendous prospect. I cannot wait to see him in a rotation with Phil Taylor, John Hughes, and Desmond Bryant (to name a few). I am not worried about whether if he is a one-down, two-down, or three-down player. If he’s good, Shelton will be on the field. Finally, he comes across as a nice and genuine person – one cannot complain about that.

Conclusion:   I would rate this pick as a B+, he fulfilled a need with this franchise but might not have been the best player available. A draft full of these types of picks would be exceptional for the Cleveland Browns.

Cameron Erving – Offensive Guard – Florida State

I must admit I was more surprised with this pick for the Cleveland Browns. While he was also #4 on my big board at this spot, I was expecting the franchise to scoop up pass rusher Bud Dupree. However, the Browns got another good guy who is extremely versatile (and the only lineman who was deemed acceptable for this team in the first round of the draft). Erving should start day one, but will it be at right guard or right tackle? Also, with the possibility of Alex Mack leaving after next season, the Browns may have already found his replacement.

Conclusion: This pick is a sold B, in my opinion. Again, there appeared to be better players on the board during this point – but Erving is far from a consolation prize. If he can be a stalwart on this line for the next decade, then I will be extremely joyous.


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Pick #19 – EBBs and Flows – Eric’s Big Board

Pick #19 – EBBs and Flows – Eric’s Big Board

EBBs and Flows – Eric’s Big Board at #19

We now go further into the 2015 NFL Draft and the Browns’ second selection in the first round.  Again, I only put realistic options at this spot in my top five for the nineteenth pick.  Some of these guys listed below might be gone before the Browns pick for the second time, but let’s take a deeper look anyways.

1 – Malcom Brown – This is my top athlete to take, provided the Browns choose either Parker or a pass rusher at number twelve.  Brown will likely be a defensive end, as opposed to Shelton who is more of a tackle.  That should not be a problem though, with Phil Taylor and Ismaa’ily Kitchen manning the middle of the defensive line.  I really appreciate the speed he possesses off the edge, and he is unique blend
of power and quickness at the point of attack.

2 – Bud Dupree – The pass rusher would be the complementary piece to Shelton or Parker, as the Browns would be foolish to draft two pass rushers in the first round.  Dupree packs on an additional twenty pounds over a few of his counterparts, and should be able to hold his ground better when defending the run.  I really believe this could be a steal for the Browns at pick nineteen, provided they choose to go this route in a few weeks.

3 – Jalen Strong – Assuming the three top wide outs are chosen before the Browns’ first selection, they ought to go defense at the twelfth spot.  However, they could then nab the perceived fourth best receiver with their next pick.  Granted it might be a bit of a reach (many feel he will be taken a few spots later in the draft) – but the Browns need a number one option at wide receiver.  If they feel Strong is that guy, then I’m on board.

4 – Cameron Erving – Some could call this a boring pick by the Browns, but so were Joe Thomas and Alex Mack.  Let’s face it, Mack can leave after the 2015 campaign and Thomas is not getting any younger.  Erving would be another anchor for the interior of this offensive line – possibly starting at right guard and moving to center in 2016. Linemen can be found in all rounds of the draft, but one as versatile as Erving is very rare.

5 – Trade Down and Get Maxx Williams – Although I am still throwing a party for the Rob Housler signing, the Browns need an exceptional tight end.  Through game film, the NFL Combine, and Pro Days, Williams has been head and shoulders above the rest at his position.  The only issue at taking him at nineteen would be the look of desperation (and likely not taking the best player available).  If the Browns slide back a few spots, pick up an extra third round pick or so, and still get Williams – I would not complain.

Conclusion:  My big board became a little more difficult for this draft pick; as it is largely based on what Ray Farmer and company decide to do seven spots earlier.  The bottom line is they must get it right at both spots – getting best player available is a wise move.

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Posted by on April 25, 2015 in NFL Draft, Players


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