The DEFEND Cleveland Show

The 2014 Cleveland Browns Draft: Finally, the Final Word

2014 Browns Draft


DISCLAIMER: The next paragraph is from the heart.

Fuck you NFL Draft. Fuck you for holding us hostage until May with this bullshit. Fuck you for being the most subjective and most over-hyped aspect of anything to do with the game of professional football. Fuck you for also being the most secretive of all things in the NFL and therefor relegating any news and rumors that come out to being nothing more than pure bullshit. Fuck you that roughly only 8 quarterbacks in the world are ever classifiable as “elite” in the NFL at any one point in time, yet every year there seems to be at least 3-5 being sold as the sure thing who then proceed to dominate all the headlines. Fuck you that only half of all 1st round picks actually become everyday starters in the league. Fuck you for every offensive and defensive linemen who go in the top 10 year after year, because they’re just not sexy enough for the masses. Fuck you for the wonderlic test. Fuck you for airing pro-days all of a sudden, an act that proves the Combine being televised wasn’t bad enough. Fuck you that George and Barbara Bush attended Johnny Manziel’s Pro Day. Fuck you Roger Goodell. Fuck everyone wearing a Jets jersey who are about to boo Goodell during every pick. Fuck you ESPN who televises this yearly extravaganza and for over 4 months shamelessly creates “news” for it everyday to ultimately boost its ratings. And finally, fuck you that I’m a Browns fan and like everyone else I still love this Titanic-esque event that somehow, no matter how much overexposure it gets and how hard the NFL may try, is still unsinkable.

I feel I speak for everyone in saying that. Thank you.

With that out of the way, let’s do this.

Who will the Browns pick?

Technically speaking, no one knows. Not even the Browns. Sure they have a definitive wish list with prospects aligned in order of importance, but until the first picks start coming off the board and they’re officially on the clock, not even new GM Ray Farmer knows who it’s going to be. That is the only absolute fact of the 2014 Draft. Outside of everything said in the disclaimer, that is.

Is there a QB worth taking at #4?

Hell no.

And anyone who suggest otherwise is being a delusional hopeful, as well as completely irrational. In the rearview mirror of hindsight, properly affixed two to three years from now, there will certain to be a QB who will end up playing at an early 1st round level. Much like the Kaepernick’s and Wilson’s of the world have recently proved. Those two and the likes of the Drew Brees’ and Tom Brady’s of the world are all exceptions to the rule, however, and not proof that others with big question marks heading into draft day should now be seen as top 1st round talents when they actually grade lower.

The truest reality check in this draft is that there’s no sure bet Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning or John Elway. That rare level of talent are guys who were selected #1 overall without hesitation. Guys who aren’t an undersized scramble first QB who throws a ton of interceptions as he plays jump ball downfield too often with his receivers. Or a tight end that was converted to QB at a small college who has a mediocre arm and probably will take at least 1-2 years worth of maturing at the position before he can even dream of being an effective starter in the NFL. Or another guy who played football at a basketball college, who is a little undersized, has small hands coupled with below average arm strength, and looks like he probably will end up a really good backup in the league but in no way will he ever be elite. With question marks like those encasing the top 3 prospects at QB, the Browns need to do better with their first pick than gambling on any of them.

The good news is that they will be able to do better.

Draft fact. Year after year the two positions selected in the 1st round more than any other are offensive tackles and pass rushing defensive linemen. In any given draft there’s an average of 5 tackles taken in the first round, and 5 defensive go get ’em linemen. This year thinking about Clowney, Robinson and Mathews, and guessing they’ll all go in the top 10 is about the safest bet out there. They most likely will all go in the first 5 picks. Will the Browns select one of them at 4? It’s way more likely than the die-hard Manziel fans are wanting to accept. If any one of these big 3 are available at 4, should they? The answer is yes with no complaint on this end.1

The only other truly viable “can’t miss” options in selecting at 4 this year for Farmer, are Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. Both fit Pettine’s plan of incredibly athletic and electric at their position, and both walk right in, start, and improve the Browns overnight.

Mix in the possibility of including Aaron Donald (DT from Pitt), and everything other than these 6 guys selected with Cleveland’s first pick overall in the 2014 Draft is a big gamble. No question.

Will the Browns trade their top pick?

Up or down, it’s possible, though unlikely. In years such as this when the draft is considered very deep, trades are fewer than in weaker years. The reason being is that the value of picks in later rounds are higher than they are in weak drafts, and it’s those later round picks that are typically most in play when teams move around with draft day trades. ESPN NFL analyst and Slayer fan John Clayton wrote the other day that in historically weak drafts there are upwards of over 30 trades made, and that in comparable deep drafts to this one,  a third less are dealt with some 20 picks usually traded about. What will be the focus of the trades that are made seems to be centered on where the QBs end up falling and whether a team is in love with one and looks to trade up to get the guy they’re fixated with. Something the Browns might do themselves, but not in moving ahead of their first pick at 4. Which more than anything could mean they might get the call for their first pick from someone looking to move up, which is more likely than I think the Browns trading up themselves is, but still unlikely.

As far as possibly moving up at some other point, I’m on record for loving Derek Carr and expect him to be who the Browns target to try and move back into the top 20 to nab. Almost 6’3″, the best arm in the draft, ran a 4.69 forty (Johnny Hype’s was 4.68), the best TD to INT rate in college, and though he’s regularly compared to his brother in a negative light, he’s not his brother. Thankfully for him and anyone who ends up selecting him, he’s better than his brother.

Of course history could prove me a fool in this thinking about Carr, but it’s no better of a likelihood than it is for anyone calling for the Browns to select Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Tom Savage, A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray, Janeane Garoppolo, Wolverine, Kendrick Lamar, or Carrot Top. So there.

With 7 picks in the first 4 rounds and 10 total to begin all this fun, the bottom line in this year’s draft for the Browns and for first time GM Ray Farmer is addressing their positional needs. No matter how their Big Board is ranked, who they draft and in what order, to walk away from Radio City Music Hall when it’s all said and done and having not addressed the team’s glaring concerns at QB, receiver, secondary, the O-line and middle linebacker (which is said to be the weakest picks per position in this year’s draft), and fans will have to view it with at best, leery optimism. But then again, it’s the draft, and no matter what there will be those who are happy and those who are pissed with what the team chose to do. That’s half the fun of it though, right? Has to be.

Go Browns.
– Mike James

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  1. One note for anyone shouting, “A lineman? This guy’s an idiot!” Keep in mind Joe Thomas will be 30 this year, and the fact is that the right tackle position is growing to be almost as important these days in protecting the QB as the blind spot importance of the left tackle. Nabbing a guy who’s as sure a bet to be a perennial Pro-Bowler in this draft as Robinson and Mathews look to be, is not only smart, it’s sound thinking given the question mark to how much longer Joe Thomas can continue to contribute at a Hall of Fame level he’s been pacing at since day one. A year, maybe two to three? Given that inevitable fact, selecting another in Thomas’ mold to shore up the right side for now and look to be his replacement in the future, isn’t foolish at all. Even if it is unsexy, and the fact that everyone who’s a Johnny Manziel fan will bleed out on the spot if they Browns select a linemen at #4. []

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Posted by on May 8 2014. Filed under Featured, Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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