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Tag Archives: Scouting Combine

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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NFL Scouting Combine – First Reaction

NFL Scouting Combine – First Reaction

What’s Going on During the NFL Combine – Early Negativity

On the first day of on the field competition, no one really stood out as performing exceptionally well on the gridiron.  Instead, there were medical or physical issues with multiple guys that could lead to evaluations that might hurt their draft stocks.  Obviously (whether that happens or not), that will be up to front offices and how they react/value this information.  Also, a couple of athletes will not be participating due to injury or illness.  Let’s take a deeper look into these situations.

Everyone Doesn’t Love Reuben

Linebacker Reuben Foster – billed as a top ten draft selection since last season ended, was dismissed from the combine after an altercation with a hospital employee (presumably during his medical assessment).  This is clearly not a good look for two reasons; it shows a bad side of his behavior and not being able to control his emotions.  Additionally, did Foster have something to hide regarding his health?  I still think he will be a fine investment, but he will likely slide in the first round of April’s draft.  Personally, I don’t feel that the Browns should go for him with the twelfth choice.

Leonard Packing on the Pounds

Many were surprised at running back Leonard Fournette weighing in a 240 pounds as a running back.  Despite this (and explaining himself as retaining water weight) he ran the forty yard dash and drills pretty well.  I cannot confirm that teams will drop him as a result of him “not being prepared” for the combine – but perhaps he drops below Dalvin Cook as an option.  Running back is not a position of need for the Browns – unfortunately they do not have the luxury of loading up there.  Thus, Fournette will not be an option for the orange and brown if still on the board (during their second pick).

Hooker is Hurt

These injuries occurred prior to the combine, but now they are coming ahead for the former Ohio State safety.  Malik Hooker had shoulder and groin surgery several weeks ago – causing the star to miss time prior to the draft.  Will clubs see this as a guy who is injury prone?  Or will they see it as Hooker trying to be fully healthy before entering the league?  I would be on board with taking the star at number twelve, provided he drops that far.  The Browns need a tremendous safety for their defense and Hooker fits that description.  His injuries do not worry me at this point.

Barnett’s Unavailability at Indy

Just coming down is the news that pass rusher Derek Barnett will not be performing due to him being sick.  That should obviously not affect his draft status, as these things happen.  I would not be surprised to be an exceptional player in this year’s draft – but assuming the orange and brown select Myles Garrett with the first overall pick, they will not take Barnett with their second choice.

Conclusion:  I am eager to see the signal callers and wideouts perform in today’s action.  The Browns need to improve in these areas and I would like to hear about positive news coming from Indianapolis.

 

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Cleveland Browns Offseason

Cleveland Browns Offseason

The Undefeated 2017 Cleveland Browns

Now that the pesky Super Bowl is over, it is time to look ahead to the NFL offseason – a fan favorite for the Browns’ supporters.  There were several moves made and multiple words said about a former teammate.  I would like to think the Browns are improving in this time frame, but let’s review what has happened.

Signing a Safety

The orange and brown inked second year pro Tyvis Powell this week, and provided them another option at the safety position.  The former OSU star fell all the way out of last year’s draft class but made his mark on the Seattle Seahawks roster.  Powell eventually got caught in the numbers game and was released a few weeks ago.  I believe Tyvis can have a realistic shot at being at least a backup safety for the Browns.  Hopefully the team will continue to improve upon this position in April’s draft.

Joe Thomas:  Uncut

The future Hall of Famer let loose over the airwaves in the recent future.  The first was news that appears to be surprising, especially with the team’s recent history.  Thomas said he expects the Browns to be extremely active in free agency and figures they will acquire three to four big name free agents.  I am fine with philosophy, provided they are great players who can help the team – instead of expensive busts.

The left tackle also took a shot at first round bust Justin Gilbert, who was recently released from his second franchise in three seasons.  Thomas hinted that Gilbert did not love the game of football – which is very hard to argue against this.  The first round of the 2014 draft continues to be a demise for this franchise; hopefully Sashi Brown and company can pull several tremendous athletes this spring and boost the franchise out of this rut.

Veterans Released

In a move that surprised nearly no one, the Cleveland Browns parted ways with quarterback Josh McCown and defensive back Tramon Williams.  Each were older,expensive players who were making too much money to justify their roster spots.  I wish the best for both but have a difficult time thinking that replacing this duo will be an arduous task.  Both are vital positions on this roster – but getting the elusive signal caller is desperately needed for this franchise.

Conclusion:  The Browns’ front office remains active in the weeks leading up to the Scouting Combine.  These little moves might not seem like much, but perhaps they can either impact the team in the fall or open up a roster spot for a guy who can.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Offseason, Players

 

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Latest Tidbits from Indy – Browns and the Combine

Latest Tidbits from Indy – Browns and the Combine

NFL Scouting Combine

Well it was the combine that went down last week in Indianapolis for all thirty-two professional franchises.  Once again, many topics were discussed, dissected, and overblown both by the local and national media alike.  Only concerning myself with the Cleveland Browns, let’s review a few of the stories of what occurred for the orange and brown.

Don’t Repeat Past Mistakes

Remember two years ago when many were worried about quarterback Teddy Bridgewater due to his slender frame and smaller hand size?  It would appear that the Browns were concerned, as they took a guy who had larger hands (despite being shorter).  The team must realize there is much more to the puzzle than a few attributes.

Flash forward to this year; it is looking early on that Jared Goff is barking up the same tree.  His hands are a full inch smaller than Carson Wentz’s and he is tipping the scales at not much north of two-hundred pounds.  I will repeat my stance on this, as it has not changed from 2014.  Can the guy play quarterback in the NFL?  By which I mean, can the athlete process information quickly, make correct decisions, and perform at a professional level?  My answer to this regarding Goff still remains at yes; I hope the Browns are not afraid to take the University of California product.

Great Words to Hear

During his press conference, Hue Jackson said two things I enjoyed hearing.  The reason why I found them refreshing, it that is was a stark contrast from his predecessors (who ultimately failed).

First, the Browns’ coach will be heading to multiple pro days in the coming weeks.  He will get an up-close look at the prospects at all the important positions – including quarterback.  What a noble concept, actually scouting potential employees prior to working with them!  This was not the norm for several years prior.

Also of importance, Jackson stated that he will not put a tremendous amount of stock into the scouting combine.  Of course it will be important, especially with the personal interviews – but one workout or measurement will not define an athlete’s value.

Sashi Brown Ridding Misinformation

Many media outlets are dismissing the possibility of the Browns retaining any of their four top free agents.  However, Sashi Brown stated at his press conference that they have been having updated conversations with each guy (Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Tashaun Gipson, and Travis Benjamin).  Will they re-sign any or all of these guys?  Time will tell, but I am not ready to say they definitely will not.

Conclusion:  The week in Indianapolis is vital for all NFL teams; they must use their time wisely to get the required information from the young athletes.  However, this is also a chance for front offices to meet to agents to discuss future contracts.  It appears that the Browns are doing both currently (and in depth).  I am not certain that was the case under past regimes – so I guess that is a positive heading into the 2016 free agency period.

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in NFL Combine

 

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Gangs of Indianapolis – Who to Scout?

Gangs of Indianapolis – Who to Scout?

Four Position Groups I’ll be Scrutinizing During the Combine

This week is a critical one for all NFL teams; this is a chance to get a better look into many different options to choose from during the final weekend in April. The Cleveland Browns need to improve in many areas (quarterback included) – but I feel there are four parts where the team should focus their attention during the first few rounds. Not surprisingly, they are mostly within the trenches – but I also included skilled positions as well. Breaking it down: 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

I do not care whether Ray Farmer said wide receivers are of tremendous importance or not – the Browns must acquire some talented guys at this part of the team. Kevin White and Davante Parker are two of my early favorites in the first round, but who knows what the team will actually do with those picks.

Along those lines, the tight end position is in dire need of upgrading (when Jordan Cameron leaves via free agency). A Clive Walford or Maxx Williams needs to be brought into this offense, to give the guy under center a reliable receiving option on passing downs. Upgrading both wide outs and tight ends would really give me confidence in the 2015 offense.

Offensive Line

Right now, the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line is better than average but is still lacking in certain areas (consistency, for one). The right side stands to be improved, and I would not be opposed if the team selected a guard or tackle in the first few rounds. Assuming that guy is near the capability of Joel Bitonio, which is a tall order, than this unit can become one of the best in the league. Are the Browns looking deeply into T.J. Clemmings, Cedric Ogbuehi, or Laken Tomlinson (to name a few)? I certainly hope so.

Defensive Line 

As of this point, I expect Ray Farmer to look more at interior guys upfront who can win the line of scrimmage battles during run plays. It’s no secret the team was porous in this area in 2014 and will likely lose veteran Ahtyba Rubin in a few weeks (as a free agent departure). Therefore a Danny Shelton, Eddie Goldman, and Malcom Brown are a few possibilities in the first round. Should the team take one of the three and, more importantly, he pans out – this defense should be feared.

Outside Linebackers

The depth of this positional group is not as strong as others, however it is still a huge need for the Cleveland Browns. Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo are going to likely be the only alternatives to start next year – and the latter has underwhelmed since joining the league. Therefore the team might want to turn towards an Alvin Dupree or a Dante Fowler to secure their edge rusher for many years. Solidifying the front seven must be a priority, and a consistent edge rusher is key to that equation.

Conclusion: We shall see what the Browns do with their quarterback in the next few weeks and months. Regardless, the team needs to improve along both lines, receiving options on offense, and a guy who can get to the quarterback. I anticipate Ray Farmer will get it right for these four spots.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in NFL Combine, NFL Draft

 

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