Comprehensive Review of the 2012 Cleveland Browns Draft

by Cleveland Frowns on April 30, 2012

@rodofdisaster is the author of our in-season “Xs and Os with the Bros” feature. Here he is with a pick-by-pick review of the 2012 Browns draft. Enjoy.

Trent Richardson, RB Alabama (#3 overall):

When you’re drafting #4 overall, you need impact players. This is an impact player. I like him better than a receiver here as he’ll touch the ball more often and help both the running and passing games. Having seen him in person at the BCS championship game vs. Texas, he was the most impressive Alabama player on the field. Has tremendous agility and good top end speed for a man of his size. Extremely underrated as a blocker and receiver out of the backfield. He is a true 3-down back unlike Adrian Peterson. He fumbled only once in 614 touches. He’s built like Ricky Williams but doesn’t have Ricky’s acceleration.

One can argue if there was really a market for the #3 overall pick and whether the Browns were duped into trading up; but in a draft where they held 13 picks, it’s hard to have a problem with using some of the later ones to move up to get a guy they really wanted. Especially at the top of the draft, as opposed to later on. Anyway, the fourth rounder given up to select Richardson was Atlanta’s and the Browns essentially reacquired the equivalent (a 4th) by trading down with Denver in the third round. A+ in my book.

Brandon Weeden, QB Oklahoma State (#22 overall):

Brandon possesses the prototypical QB size at 6’4” and 220 lbs. His arm strength is elite. He is accurate over the middle but does float the pass to the sidelines at times. He throws with great balance and his throwing mechanics are extremely sound, with a delivery that reminds me of Tom Brady’s. He drives the ball to the deep and intermediate routes with authority and he tends to fit the ball into tight windows. Brandon is good about resetting his feet under pressure but he doesn’t reliably recognize where the pressure is coming from. He understands coverages and progressions but goes through periods of staring down his primary receiver and can get sloppy with his footwork. There are also questions raised by the fact that Weeden ran a simplified half-field offense in college, and his receivers were required to make incredibly acrobatic catches at times. He can move well enough to buy an extra second and keeps his eyes downfield. He steps into the pocket under pressure but is not going to be as elusive as a Wallace or McCoy. He’s a heavy-footed runner and has declining accuracy when asked to throw on the run. He’s a tough player who’s played through injuries. For those of us who’ve analyzed and over-analyzed Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy, he has better overall QB skills than any of them. Was coached by Mike Gundy who’s always impressed me in terms of getting the best out of his QBs.

The controversy over the Weeden pick needs to separate out the player analysis from the draft value analysis. I have no problem with Brandon Weeden. In my mind, he was the third best QB in this draft. The draft value analysis breaks down into two questions:

a) Do you have a problem with a 28 year old rookie QB?
b) Did you really need to use the #22 overall pick to select him?

I think that the answer to the first question is obviously “no” for the Browns front office because if Weeden doesn’t pan out they will all be gone. The time horizon used to be 10-15 years for a great QB. Nowadays, teams are more focused on a good 5-8 years (if not less).

The second question is tougher because of the value that was present at that position as the draft unfolded. When Bruce Irvin went to the Seahawks at #15, someone had to drop and that someone ended up being Stanford guard David DeCastro, whom I absolutely loved. One could argue that DeCastro, T Riley Reiff , LB Dont’a Hightower or DE Nick Perry were much better values here, and the Browns still had left the WR position unaddressed at this point. I don’t believe there was a legitimate threat of Weeden being taken before #37.

Yet QB is such an important position that it’s understandable that the Browns would want to make sure they got their man here and not risk another team trading up for Weeden. While I’m slightly concerned with a “panic in the war room” here (especially in light of reports that Randy Lerner had an influence on the selection of Weeden), I grade this pick an “A” for the player chosen.

Mitchell Schwartz, OT California (#37 overall, 2nd round):

Right tackles don’t usually go very high in the draft and the late first/early second is where they start to come off the board. I can’t tell you if Schwartz is better than guys who went later on in this draft but he is versatile having played both right and left tackle in college. He takes exceptional angles to his blocks and “wins ugly”. His technique isn’t the best and his arms are a bit short for a tackle but he’s smart and gets the job done. He should start from day one. Some predraft analysis had Schwartz as a third rounder or even later. The only question here is whether or not he was a better value than Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill. I can’t answer that definitively but I would offer to you that for the last five years the Browns fans have been crying in their beers over the lack of a legitimate threat at wide receiver. I would love to bash Heckert for not taking Hill but I think when we look back five years from now, Schwartz will be a steady and versatile contributor to this offensive line. It’s tempting to call this a “reach for need” pick but I don’t think it is. If he starts from day one that’s a good pick. If not this guy or Stephen Hill, the best remaining value was someone like a Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin who are also tackles.

John Hughes, DT Cincinnati (#87 overall, 3rd round):

It should be noted that the trade down garnered the Browns a fourth round pick from Denver so there was some value recouped as stated above for the Trent Richardson trade up. That said, once we accepted a RT at #37 we really needed to address the receiver need. If we want to hang the passing game woes on Colt McCoy that’s fine but these guys dropped so many balls last year and none of them could likely start for most NFL teams. Trading down saw the Browns watch three more receivers (Devier Posey, TJ Graham and Mohammed Sanu) come off the board.

I would love to see a predraft analysis that lists Hughes as anything but a third day pick or UFA in this draft. “Unproductive” and “lazy at times” are not descriptors that merit the 87th overall pick. I understand that rotational defensive tackles are important for 4-3 teams but I am still more concerned about the quality of the starting 22 than the reserve 23 at this point. Receivers TY Hilton and the underrated Chris Givens are drafted between this pick and the next Browns pick. This was a huge reach at #87 and I can’t even call it a glaring need. I think the better DT in this round went to Cincinnati (Clemson’s Brandon Thompson) later on and if we were fixated on a defensive player in this spot, CB Jayron Hosley was a legitimate third round talent.

Travis Benjamin, WR University of Miami (FL) (#100 overall, 4th round):

When this pick first came across, I wasn’t sure how a 5’10”, 175 lb receiver was going to have a huge impact on the passing game. Was this guy going to play the flanker or “Z” spot opposite Little? The initial analyst reaction was that this guy was a reach at #100 but I am not so sure. There were certainly bigger receivers available but this guy brings something to the table that the Browns don’t have. First off, he’s exceptionally fast running a 4.3 forty. On game tape, he looks that fast and I doubt Weeden can overthrow him. He can run past just about anyone and can take the top off of the defense. He adjusts very well to the ball.

On the negative side, he doesn’t fight well in traffic. He does seem like his speed is more straight line with stiff hips. While not overly agile, he does tend to get open on the intermediate cuts. A receiver of this size can be successful but he may have trouble getting off the line against NFL caliber DBs. That would limit him playing in the slot. If the Browns are a two-wideout offense, is he going to be effective blocking in the running game? He might be a very good #3 wide receiver but we really needed a starting wide receiver. He should contribute immediately in the return game. The more I think about it, it’s probably a riskier pick than some of the guys in the second and third rounds but success on this player could be huge. We may be screaming WR again next year. Keshawn Martin (Texans) and Nick Toon (Saints) could end up being more successful but I keep wanting to like this pick more than I do.

James-Michael Johnson, LB Nevada (#120 overall, 4th round):

At 6’1”, 241 lbs, Johnson is solidly built. He’s a little on the short side and a bit slow for the 4-3 Mike but he is a solid tackler and looks like he’s great at shedding blocks. He’s instinctive and active on the field. He may struggle in pass coverage due to his speed issues. I would have liked to see the Browns improve the overall defensive team speed with this pick but this guy brings great leadership and fundamentals to the team. I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of this kid but it seems like an “A” is merited for this selection. He is great in traffic and that alone may push D’Qwell Jackson as odd as that may sound. It should be noted that the two WR’s mentioned above (Martin and Toon) were still available so I think this tells us that after adding Benjamin’s speed, Heckert and Holmgren were happy to stand pat with the receivers they have. With each round this draft becomes an ever-growing indictment of Colt McCoy’s abilities or lack thereof.

Ryan Miller, G Colorado (#160, 5th round):

At this point, the philosophy may vary from team to team with some trying to fill depth at areas of need or special teams. Some will simply take the best available player. Miller is somewhat of a question mark in the sense that at 6’7”, 321 lbs his body is really that of a tackle. It may be that his arms are too short or that he lacks the footwork to play outside. At guard, he played with great strength and tenacity against the likes of Ndamukong Suh. He will be a project but considering the offensive line woes, this pick for depth makes a good deal of sense.

Emmanuel Acho, LB Texas (#204, 6th round):

Acho is a bit undersized by NFL standards but is very instinctive. He takes good angles to the ball and while not especially fast he always seems to be around the football. He is disciplined and will fill his gaps and play strong at the point of attack. He has long arms but struggles to disengage from blockers at times. He is probably a little too small to play the 4-3 Mike but could still be growing and develop into a decent weak side backer. Older brother, Sam, was drafted last year by Arizona. Will be a tremendous person in the locker room and community. Very good kid. Like Johnson, was a team captain. If you could have combined Acho with his teammate Keenan Robinson (Redskins), you’d have had a top 15 pick at LB. Some draft scouting reports had him as high as a fourth round pick. A very sound pick at this point.

Billy Winn, DT Boise St. (#205, 6th round):

A productive collegiate defensive tackle at Boise State. Knocked for a lack of work ethic. Struggles to get off blocks but shows a lot of interior quickness. I don’t know what separates this guy from our third round pick, Hughes, but at this point it’s probably a great value as Winn originally was slated as a 2nd-3rd round talent with 7th round attitude. If he can play to his ability, he will be better than Hughes.

Trevin Wade, CB Arizona (#245, round 7):

If the Browns get the guy who blanketed future NFL players as a sophomore, this will be a tremendous steal. If they get the junior who took plays off and dogged it, it was a seventh rounder who played like it. He’s a very fluid DB who has great lateral movement and turns his hips well.

Brad Smelley, TE Alabama (#247, round 7):

At 6’2”, 229 lbs, Smelley figures to be more of an H-back/FB type player. He was a very productive special teamer at Alabama and a fundamentally sound blocker. He has tremendous hands as a receiver and I have the feeling this guy could really stick with the team. I’ve always been a fan of late round draft picks from traditional powerhouse programs because the limelight and pressure don’t generally get to them. A solid pick to end the draft.

Overall, I think you have to be pleased with the players picked but there are some concerns about reaches and the failure to legitimately address the wide receiver position. Time will tell, but hopefully this has the Browns on track to compete in an increasingly difficult division. Cincinnati had an outstanding draft and Pittsburgh seemed to get great value at every pick. At this point, I never question Baltimore’s draft because Ozzie knows what he’s doing. This draft will ultimately determine the fate of this front office and coaching staff.

  • Bryan Joiner

    “Having seen him in person at the BCS championship game vs. Texas, he was the most impressive Alabama player on the field.”

    As you’re the biggest cheerleader of the Alabama offensive line there is, I’m a little surprised by this. Not that they’re mutually exclusive, but also, on a team with so many needs it seems silly to A) draft a RB so high and B) say that you can waste picks to move up one freaking spot.

    You obviously disagree and that’s cool, as always, but an A+ pick? That’s silly.

    • rodofdisaster

      You must have me confused with someone else. I’ve never said word one about Bama’s line. Obviously you aren’t valuing the RB position the same as I am. We recouped the equivalent of this late rounders when we traded down in round 3 so the price to move up was mitigated. Was there really that much interest in the #3 pick? We will never know.

      • Bryan Joiner

        Derp, you’re not Frowns. Good point.

        But when you “recouped” those picks you could have just, you know, “couped” the other ones. And you’re right, I think going that hard after a running back is silly for a struggling team, and can’t remember the last time it paid dividends. If nothing else, a RB’s value is almost always top as his career starts and goes down from there. I don’t see how that’s going to help the Browns at all.

        • rodofdisaster

          Bryan, we can agree to disagree on this but when you look at the top 10 single game rushing performances in 2011, 8 of the 10 players were first or second round picks. A ninth player (DeMarco Murray) was a third round pick who would have been drafted higher if not for the fact that he was coming off of an ACL tear.

          If you look at the season yardage leaders, 7 of the 10 are 1st or 2nd rounders. The productive running backs STILL tend to come at the top of the draft as much as we like to think we can just plug-n-play someone from the 4th or 5th round.

          • Bryan Joiner

            I’m not saying Richardson is bad. I’m saying he’s probably bad for the Browns, and bad for the No. 3 spot in the draft. And I think the criteria you set lends itself toward first-round picks: They’re obviously more explosive and thrive in good situations, but you’re not always going to get good situations. I mean, Adrian Peterson was coming off an injury, but he was drafted seventh. Seventh!

            And I’m not advocating plug-n-play. I’m just not advocating using a No. 3 pick on a RB, regardless of whether anyone else would. You can draft one in the second round, late first, whatever. That’s the sweet spot, IMHO.

          • BIKI024

            the landscape is a bit different now with the rookie salary cap and significant reduction in investment costs. there weren’t many bonafide RB studs last year to test the theory out. but I’m sure if Trent has a solid year we’ll see the trends change.

            and why is he bad for the Browns? it’s pretty rare to see 3 down backs in the league anymore, not because teams are trying to conserve the player’s energy, but because dude’s don’t have the skillset. he has all the attributes you need: power, vision, speed, receiving, and blocking ability. this should create a lot of confusion on the defense to guess what we’re doing. we’ll see if the announcers will still be able to predict our playcalls.

            get the guy 25-30 touches a game and with an improved line we should be in good shape .

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Thank you, your analysis was far more positive than mine.
        I shall just adopt yours, you are far smarter than I am.
        Your point of view may also bring me in off the ledge.
        (The “draft Claiborne you idiots” ledge.)
        I was however, cringing with every pick while T.Y. Hilton was still available.
        I watched him play and he has the talent to excel in the NFL.

        • BIKI024

          I saw T.Y play a few games and he def has wheels. but so does TB, and i vividly remember him scorching the Buckeyes, the dude is good. he’s got great hands and has hops for a lil guy. when we go 4 wide, having him and Norwood in slots should be very dangerous.

        • Beeej

          Reading some of Clairborne’s quotes in the paper helped bring me off the ledge. The dude can play football, but he probably needs someone to help him tie his shoes before the game.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Velcro and Stick’um like Lester Hayes.

    • jimkanicki

      *raises hand*

      i am the biggest cheerleader for bama’s o-line. and to my eye, richardson benefitted greatly from that line.

      to my eye, richardson didn’t ‘hit the hole’ with explosion. but it could also be that he was smart and was setting up his blocks.

      i haven’t seen the breakaway speed either.

      BUT.. i do like that he seems all about working hard in the gym. i like that he’s known to be a good blocker and receiver. and i like the HH liked him so much that they went after him. so on the whole, im up on the pick.

  • fatscatback

    Good stuff on Weeden.

    Too much alarmist analysis out there, and this was a refreshing break from that.

    I would have liked to see you address some of his intangibles, though.

    The Gruden QB camp video that I am sure that everyone has seen by now offered a real clear window on this guy.

    Not in and of itself–but in comparison to all the other installments.

    This dude is focused, confident and comfortable and I think that poise and naturalness will translate well to the football field in the NFL.

    I am high on Weeden.

    Also would like to see Benjamin and Norwood on the field together–a lot.

    That could be a winning combination

  • Ess Eh

    on the brightside, the Browns should be well positioned in next years draft to get 3 first round picks for whoever wants a QB (Bray, Barkley, etc)

  • BIKI024

    i really hope Omri Casspi’s new best friend turns out to be the anchor on the right side of the line as they envision him to be. I just watched Stephen Hill’s presser and a few of his youtube videos, man it sure makes you wonder how he would’ve fit into our offense. very well spoken dude who seems exremely humble and motivated to work hard.

    and while we still don’t have a #1 WR on the roster, it’s not like Hill was going to come in as #1 either. I fully expect a big year out of MoMass as long as he’s healthy, as it’s his contract year and all. and I know everyone is tired about hearing about Carlton Mitchell, but the dude missed a ton of time with his broken hand so he was too far behind the 8ball in terms of learning the system and building chemistry, etc.

    but as many guys wrote last year, a lot of drops were also due to bad balls by Colt, so maybe with a more accurate thrower like Weeden seems to be this group may be more productive. especially with TRich back there giving us some more 1-on-1 matchups.

  • BIKI024

    FWIW, Winn, Acho and Smelley were coined “best value” in 6th and 7th round by Kiper

    • NeedsFoodBadly

      I did feel a lot better about the draft after those late round picks. Hughes took the wind out of me, but looks like we got value back later on.

      • BIKI024

        yeah, at least percieved “value” based on Kiper’s draft board and whichever else you’re looking at. but as we know, these draft boards on ESPN, etc are so hit or miss, and only time will tell how much “value” we got.. at this point, they all have to come in and fight and earn a spot on the roster and hopefully contribute towards some WINS on Sundays.. only time will tell. definitely excited for the minicamps, etc to begin!

  • rgrunds

    FrOrange, why do you have some inexperienced dilettante like Rod doing football analysis? Just ask me next time.

  • ChuckKoz

    thanks Rod. this is pretty consistent with my opinion: like all the picks except Hughes, which seems tremendously odd.

    i did initially get mad about the Ryan Miller pick because i would have liked to see a DB there, but i am cool with it when i read more about him….he seems like a project/risk worth taking on.

    • BIKI024

      we’re definitely getting crushed on the Hughes pick by 99.9% of the media, which obviously makes me feel that this was a great pick. if all of them agree on something, typically they are wrong.

      while it’s def not a sexy pick, but it’s pretty rare you find a starter in the 3rd round anyhow, at least in their rookie year. so it seems that they liked his run defense ability (cinci was 2nd in country against run) and picked him up for depth and liked him better than the other DTs on the board. it’s no secret we overworked the DLine last year, especially the DT’s, so hopefully he can block out (or get motivated by the haters) and fill the gap and help us in run defense, obviously one of our weakest areas.

      • rodofdisaster

        The 3rd round WR would have probably started for us

        • BIKI024

          maybe if Randle had slipped to us they would’ve taken him, but I believe the trade with Denver went down right after he came off the board… not sure how they had Posey, Sanu types rated out but i highly doubt they would start over Little and MoMass.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          With all of the pre-draft scouting this seems impossible, but could the Browns staff have simply picked the wrong D tackle?
          I liked the other DT at Cin., Wolfe.
          I thought that Wolfe would go before Hughes.

          • BIKI024

            he did go before Hughes, he was picked by DEN in 2nd round (36th pick). they made quite the tandem together down there. obviously it seems Wolfe was rated higher, but at this point they both are in the league, so let’s see who wants it more.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Thank you Biki,
            Opps…. I probably should have looked that up before I posted.

        • BIKI024

          “A league source tells ESPN Cleveland that Hughes would have been selected before the end of the 3rd round if the Browns had not selected him. The source said that Hughes had been fielding calls from multiple teams indicating they would select him with their third round pick. The Browns just pulled the trigger first… It seems as though Heckert had a right to be concerned. The source also said the New Orleans Saints, who owned the #89 pick in the draft, were going to take Hughes if he was there. The Saints ended up selecting Regina defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who is almost the exact same size as Hughes.”
          Will Burge, ESPN Cleveland

    • jimkanicki

      fyi on miller… he really stood out when you watched the senior bowl workout drills. by stand out, i mean he was clearly the worst in one-on-one drills. perhaps he’ll be better at guard when it’s harder to go around him.

      • BIKI024

        we got lucky with an OT in the 5th round last year, we’ll see how the guy does once he has some NFL coaches working with him.. i don’t think they see him as getting much reps this year, but we had roster spots open on the OL, so it was a cheap way of filling it out. but who knows, maybe he comes into camp and beats out someone not named Joe Thomas or Alex Mack..

        • Beeej

          Setting up pieces to build a future O-line seems like something Pittsburgh would do. I don’t like it (totally sarcastic).

  • Bryan

    Quick thought on Weeden: Do you know the only way to draft a 6’4” QB with a rocket arm who nearly lead his team to a national championship with the 22nd pick? Have him be 28 years old.

    In my book, the age of Weeden may be our biggest savior. It is the only factor that allowed this guy to fall outside the top 10. If he was 22, we would have had to take him at #3. Sure, he may only have a 7-8 year window. But he is clearly a huge talent upgrade over anything we have had since 1999. And we got Richardson as well.

    • BIKI024

      and boy can he hit clay pigeons!

    • Captain_Spaulding

      Thank you, I have been banging that drum since January.

      I was thrilled when the RG3 trade fell through and I’m even more so now that the Browns got the better (albeit older) QB.

      • p_forever

        i mean – it’s ok to like weeden. but he’s certainly not better than rg3.

        • Captain_Spaulding

          Time will tell P; we are all entitled to our opinions. FWIW, OkSt beat the piss out of Baylor this year, it wasn’t even close.

          • p_forever

            oh i know. weeden cites that statistic A LOT.

          • Captain_Spaulding

            I would also cite that A LOT if I were him; it’s definitely relevant. Weeden was clearly the better QB on that day; I expect more of the same in the NFL.

          • ClevelandFrowns

            Weeden was clearly the better QB of the far better program with far more money on that day. I don’t know how you can make any conclusions about anything else, but it’s not very persuasive to ignore the “Baylor v. Ok. St.” thing.

        • BIKI024

          he certainly doesn’t have the wheels RG3 has, but that could be a good thing because I think RG3’s gonna get hurt bad sooner than later on one of his mad dashes

        • actovegin1armstrong

          I would prefer Weeden over RG3.
          I would prefer Cousins over RG3.
          RG3 looks great on “highlight reels”, but in real life he lacks vision and elusiveness when he is on the move.
          I hope that he has a terrific, injury free career, but with his speed, lack of moves and frequent inability to see converging defenders I am concerned about his ability to avoid injury.

          • p_forever

            you guys are being a little bit crazy, no? rg3 is a pocket passer. moreover, his stats bear out that he is the most accurate pocket passer among the top qb’s drafted – more accurate than either luck or weeden, especially from long distances. he only runs when he has too, not because he wants to or is a runner first, a la some of the qb’s to which he gets compared. rg3 is no more at risk for injury than any other pocket passer in the league, and it’s silly to make it a negative that when the pocket breaks down, running is actually an option with rg3, whereas other qb’s a sack is inevitable.

          • Captain_Spaulding

            Go watch the K-State game and count how many times RG3 gets hit. He gets hit a ton and it will lead to injuries in the NFL just like it did in college. Weeden almost never got hit in college, (which is actually one of my few concerns) and his quick release will continue to be an asset in the NFL.

            RG3 had a completion percentage of 72.4 this year; Brandon Weeden’s was 72.3. Any advantage RG3 might have in terms of accuracy is negligble.

            For the record, I have been pro-Weeden and anti-RG3 long before the Browns got one and “missed out” on the other, so I’m not just being a homer in this case.

          • p_forever

            lol – i don’t think you’re being a homer; i think you’re doing selective tape watching :) and mostly i think okla st is a better team than baylor by miles in every respect except at the qb position; the fact that weeden thrived there (in particular with arguably the best wide receiver in the nation) shouldn’t be all that shocking.

            also – look at the stats for accuracy on longer passes. that’s where rg3 really pulls ahead of the pack.

          • Captain_Spaulding

            C’mon p, it’s not like we’re comparing Baylor to Alabama here; OSU is far from a powerhouse in the Big 12, and Kendall Wright isn’t too shabby either.
            Anyways, RG3 is clearly a gifted athlete and a productive college QB, but I just think Weeden’s game translates better to the NFL. RG3’s injury history is a major concern for me and I don’t see any reason to expect it to change in the NFL, given his style of play.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            “his stats bear out that he is the most accurate pocket passer among the top qb’s drafted”
            Where is this most accurate passer stat?
            Does it include drops, throw aways’ and clay pigeons?
            Most accurate from long distance?
            It may depend on how long, because Weeden can throw the ball about 20 yards farther than RG3.
            Normally I would not like the Weeden pick. I have always believed that QB’s should only be picked off of the waiver wire, but it is better to have a solid chance at a QB with the 22nd pick than to give up the next four drafts for a mirage.
            And if we were going to have a QB with the need to run when the pocket breaks down, I would rather have Colt McCoy than RG3.
            Colt is fast enough and he can avoid hits.

          • p_forever

            lol. i love acto being acto, no matter how vehemently i disagree with the content of your message.

            it’ll be fun to compare notes again when these guys start playing.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            “compare notes”
            No way, I’ll fight ya holdin’ my tail. I’ve got courage, courage I tell ya.

          • rodofdisaster

            He IS more of a pocket passer than the others but I don’t think the issue is “pocket” vs “scrambler” as much as it is “simple reads” vs “complex reads”.

            Andrew Luck’s college offense was considerably more complex than what Colt ran at Texas, Weeden at OkSt and RG3 at Baylor.

            How often was RG3 asked to make a read that wasn’t dictated pre-snap? Further, RG3 typically had to stop what he and everyone else was doing to look over at the sideline to get the play (I can’t tell you how much that annoys me in college football).

    • vespo

      Agreed. Something else to remember about him as well: he taught his offensive coordinator the offense:

      Maybe he could it to Shurmur too…

    • Steve

      We need to stop with the “only 7-8 years”. If you believe that Weeden is Manning/Brady/Brees good or can age like Hasselbeck, then say so, and be effing ecstatic. The rest of us who are skeptical because quarterbacks are usually on the decline by 31 and out of the league before 35 will wonder what the Browns plan on doing when everything finally falls in place 3 years from now (when we should be building for) and we have to start considering who the QB of the future is again.

  • bupalos

    Nice rundown Rod.

    Weeden makes sense to me in about 5 ways, none of which are as directly about creating a winning organization as I’d like. I HATED passing over DeCastro. That was a bird in the hand and we went for the two in the bush. Maybe it works out, but I’m afraid people are telling themselves a story on this one. Just because he’s old and reasonably smart doesn’t mean he has a game head. Of course if they are thinking this will be a highly-scripted timing offense, maybe it works. But adding in the availability of DeCastro, they passed up a lot to get that guy. Not only that, they handed what they passed up to Pittsburgh.

    Now on the other hand, TR is The Real, and it looks to me like Schwartz does a great, Mack-like job out in space, with a real knack for finding guys and gluing them down. So I think we’ve got the makings of a truly fearsome screen game.

    Complete with awesome bait as it turns out, because it looks to me like Weeden is a sitting duck that freaks out under pressure.

  • Captain_Spaulding

    Re: the WR position, it seems as though the Browns were targeting smaller, quicker slot guys. I believe their dream scenario was Richardson at 4, Kendall Wright at 22 and Weeden at 37.

    Once Wright came off the board, they decided to go with Weeden at 22 (rather than risking another team trading ahead of them at 37) and they targeted Travis Benjamin who is another shorter, speedy slot type WR.

    Benjamin will be the fastest player on the team from day 1, he has a completely different skill set than any WR on the roster, and he can make an impact on ST as well. Seems like good logic to me; there’s no reason to think he won’t be in the rotation early on w/the overall lack of depth at WR.

  • River Burns

    I like most of the take on Weeden, but have to raise an eyebrow at the concerns. Taking this evaluation at face value, and why shouldn’t I, I’m okay with the question marks in regards to his footwork and eye work. I really think that’s coachable, whether it’s coachable with this staff or not is yet to be seen, but if he tends to “float the pass to the sideline at times”, that’s a red flag. Granted, the incumbent tends to float the pass to the sideline at ALL TIMES, but a guy who we’ve heard can make “all of the throws should never float anything that doesn’t require touch.

    That said, I like the pick. I don’t care much for or about this Front Office, but the window to win lasts as long as Joe Thomas can dominate up front, so the time to start winning is now. That’s another way of saying that Weeden’s age doesn’t bother me.

  • Basler

    Nice run down. By-the-way as an x-student/faculty at the “U” I’ve followed Benjamin for awhile. You might learn to like him.
    Nice look at
    Video highlights of Benjamin:

    Benjamin Was the Right Receiver Fit for the Browns
    When the Cleveland Browns were on the clock in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft , it was easy to assume the team would select a wide receiver to complement the previous additions of Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Mitchell Schwartz…

  • dubbythe1

    Revised grading by me with more info/research:

    TRich- not mad we got him, upset we traded up… B (btw in that gif, look at the next guy holding the pads brace himself.. HILARIOUS)

    Weeden- Worried about some of the drawbacks Rod mentioned and the fact that a 28 year old rook would still have them. Would think maturity would eliminate these flaws especially with good coaching. Combine that with the fact he may have been there later. -D

    Schwartz- Another ‘could of been there later pick’, although I like the addition to our line… -C

    Hughes- If anyone in this draft has a chance to be exceptionally great by attrition, it is this guy. this was a specific need pick and he should spell taylor and rubin nicely, but stil, really?!?!? -D

    Benjamin- Love his speed, worried about his size. teams will jam him, he will get hit, or is he just going to be in pass-only packages? 95% predictability? -D

    Johnson- We need linebackers, ill trust our scouts. -B

    Miller- We need rotational linemen, another solid late round pick -B

    Acho – see linebacker comment – B

    Winn – His last name better be what its all about this year, i like the pick, but sweet feathery jeeeez we picked up a lot of Dlinemen from Fa/draft eh? -C

    Wade- I am always a fan of secondary -B

    Smelley- will he come in and immediately replace Marecic? our our other fullback who seems to get goalline handoffs? A resounding YES to the latter!!! -C

    Overall, I was mildly disappointed in how we handled our positional needs and I am worried in how this regime is reacting toward this draft in particular. Chasing our tail seems an appropriate methaphor, and I have to wonder if there is pressure from Lerner (who should give up ownership altogether considering his influence overseas as well as here with the browns).

    Overall Grade: low C (much nicer than the D/borderline F I gave initially but not by much)

    • BIKI024

      Weeden a D? so what grade do you have for Colt? F-minus? it seems he has significant advantages over Colt, i mean the guy not only has a canon, but quick release and laser-tight accuracy as well.. obviously how well he can adjust to the speed of NFL and reading coverages etc will take some time, but hopefully with all our QB gurus the learning curve is minimal. also, with TRich back there they can keep it simple as he progresses.

      • rodofdisaster

        Biki, to be fair, I think that Colt’s value in the third round was good. It was a low-risk pick. His play as an actual NFL player has not been as good.

        • BIKI024

          yeah, i agree that late 3rd round was good for Colt, i guess i was referring more to his grade as an NFL player. i was in the camp that he needed more weapons, more time, but there definitely was a certain ceiling on him. Weeden doesn’t seem to have many limitations, other than his age, so it seems to be a nice upgrade at one of the most important positions on the team. I don’t mind Colt being the backup either. i don’t think it will be a distraction and i think he would be a much better teammate than Seneca. but they should also bring another Vet in like AJ Feeley, Shurmur and Chilly love that dude.

      • Dubbythe1

        A D grade is given mostly for where he was picked combined with all these minor flaws that we hope can be coached out of him. Remember he is 28 and probably pretty set in his motions simply from muscle memory. Goodness I hope I am wrong because I like the guy and firmly believe he is leaps and bounds better than Colt. D is soley based on our position at the time, who was available, and who potentially was going to steal him between 22 and 37. Remember this note.. OUR PICKS came in Blazingly fast at 22 and 37… No time to even discuss a trade down . Just disappointing.

        • BIKI024

          i don’t think they wanted to take the risk of losing out him after losing out on RG3 as well as hoping that Kendall Wright slipped to them. while maybe there wasn’t a team from 23 – 36 that would’ve taken him, we have no idea if someone would trade up for him and it seems like they didn’t want to take the risk. as long as the dude can play, which it seems like he can, then it’s all good. but having Trent there as first pick certainly helps him (or whoever QB is) tremendously. can’t wait to see him lined up back there.

          • ClevelandFrowns

            The idea that the Browns would have taken Kendall Wright instead of Weeden had he been there makes very little sense.

          • BIKI024

            i don’t know, your boy Vic Carrucci, Browns employee and all was saying they were really high on Kendall Wright. if he was still there they may have taken Wright and gambled that Weeden would still be there at 37, or trade up from 37 for him. obviously if they were so high on Wright then what was stopping them from trading up from 22, although who knows, maybe they tried. but it seems perfectly reasonable to think that if Wright was there at 22 we could’ve gotten all 3..

          • Petefranklin

            Maybe they really wanted Wright but couldn’t take the chance of making Lerner mad by missing out on Weeden and topping it off with another crappy season.A rookie QB… the first excuse they will use next year after another crappy season. I think they did a good job overall though, except not having anyone chalked in @67 after missing on their WR.

          • Beeej

            Ummmm 1. New O-coordinator 2. Rookie QB 3. Process 4. Shumur’s first full season w/a full off-season. 5. No excuses.

            Is the proper order for excuses next year.

        • dubbythe1

          as I said, our picks came in really really quickly for 2,3,and 4… as if we were ecstatic that those people were still on the board. this alludes to no attempt to trade back a little, or even fish….I mean really.. before the Browns were on the clock Vince knew we were picking Weeden and Our selection came in within 30seconds of the clock starting.

          • BIKI024

            yeah, who knows what was goin on behind the scenes or leading up to our picks, but, it is what it is, they got their guys and we’ll see if it was worth their coitus interruptus. FWIW, we did trade back for our 4th pick..

  • CleveLandThatILove

    I’m happy with Weeden, he was a must after the RGIII debacle. H & H’s chubby heads would have rolled if they missed on Weeden too. Randy wanted a QB.

    The John Hughes pick was clearly a case of BBQ sauce fingerprints obscuring the name on the card.

    Thanks Rod! I always feel better after you make sense of things.

  • p_forever

    i’m not so sure that “this draft will ultimately determine the fate of this front office and coaching staff.” i have no idea how or why randy lerner makes his staffing decisions, but it sure seems like play on the field is not it, at least when it comes to filling the front office. and by that i mean – even if these guys are all busts, it’s conceivable that h&h stick around. shurmur is completely expendable. he could go at any time.

    anyway, my complete lack of faith in how this organization is run is way way harder to handle than any of the actual draft picks (many of which i loved less than you did). still – like cleveland that i love – it makes me feel better just knowing that you feel ok about what the organization did with this draft.

    • Captain_Spaulding

      I don’t know, but I think W-L record may be the only thing Randy goes by when making his staffing decisions. How else do you explain the fact that we’ve seen five different regimes in 12 years? This type of turnover is the number one impediment to a successful organization, and it is the main reason I am in favor of keeping H&H around as long as necessary.

      • p_forever

        like i said – i can’t explain ANYTHING he does. i agree with you that lack of consistency is a major issue, but because lerner has shown no proclivity for picking the right person in the first place, i am leery (like many) that he will stick to what he’s chosen just to meet the criticism that he never sticks with anyone (instead of sticking with someone because they are good, and deserve to be stuck with).

        • Captain_Spaulding

          I hear ya; I just want to see what happens if they give someone (anyone!) 5+ years to build this thing the right way.

  • jimkanicki

    speaking of odd draft picks, did you see the pats picked nate ebner in the 6th round? the guy played three games for ohio st. football?

    wellllll…. check this out. RUGBY BEAST.

  • ddm62

    Rod, once again great work.
    You are indeed a scholar.

  • zarathustra

    I come to praise holmgren and heckert. I understand the criticism of the Hughes pick, but I think it incorrect. A rotational d lineman is vital to any good defense and considering the two starting tackles are big run stuffers it is all the more important. (Now the fact that we spent a first round pick last year on a run stuffer who can’t get to the quarterback is problematic for a 4-3 defense, but that is immaterial here.). If you look around at the quality defenses in the league you will see that they are mostly mid-rounders. The third round was an appropriate spot to grab such a player. How he was ranked by others is irrelevant. If they properly evaluated his talent it was a good pick. If not it of course belies a much more serious problem. Only time will tell on that front

    • BIKI024

      plus maybe Big Phil will have some more pep to his step to get to the quarterback with some snaps off to catch his breath. i hope he’s training hard this offseason as well, i think they all expect him to make some positive progressions this year.

    • dubbythe1

      I worry about our evaluators ability to correctly assess injury-prone-ness, especially concerning Hughes.. (see Hardesty, Montario)

      • BIKI024

        he took a gamble on a guy, it seems like we missed, it happens. no worse than going 0-3 in 2nd round in 2009..

        • bupalos

          >>>going 0-3 in 2nd round in 2009>>>

          Aht ah ah… You just got done saying you have high hopes for MoMass this year. cf. Cake, eating and having.

          • BIKI024

            1 for 2, i knew i needed to edit it as soon as i posted it but had a call.. thanks bup! i do have high hopes for Mo.. he’s gotta prove his baby cousin that he’s the better NFL player!

      • actovegin1armstrong

        dubby my buddy,
        It is very difficult to gage injuryproneness. (Thank you for the new word, I shall use it often.)
        Some players are never injured and then they hit the big one, (Gayle Sayers), other players seem injury prone, but then they do not get hurt again.
        I am Joe Nobody, but as a small example, I got hit in the right knee by a garbage truck, I lost my ACL, PCL, and ripped out my MCL as well. (MCL’s can grow back, but the other two can not.)
        I won a somewhat important race 4 weeks later.
        To this day my right knee feels weird, but it never hurts and it works like a charm, but my perfectly in tact left knee swells up with patella tendinitis, (over developed vastus medialis), every time I run a half marathon or longer event.

        Sorry for my boring personal information, but my point is that injuries are hard to gage.
        If you work out a player and he looks good, one should not take too much stock in the lingering effects of an injury.
        North West Territories Hardesty notwithstanding.

    • BIKI024

      “A league source tells ESPN Cleveland that Hughes would have been selected before the end of the 3rd round if the Browns had not selected him. The source said that Hughes had been fielding calls from multiple teams indicating they would select him with their third round pick. The Browns just pulled the trigger first… It seems as though Heckert had a right to be concerned. The source also said the New Orleans Saints, who owned the #89 pick in the draft, were going to take Hughes if he was there. The Saints ended up selecting Regina defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who is almost the exact same size as Hughes.”
      Will Burge, ESPN Cleveland

  • Bryan Joiner

    For whatever reason it won’t let me reply to Biki’s comment.

    I’m not saying Trent Richardson isn’t good. Of course he’s good. I don’t think that’s an issue. Maybe it’s the Patriots fan in me, but trading down, and grabbing more picks and filling more spots, seems like so obviously the prudent thing to do I can’t see any way to spin it. Building a team around a great running back, instead of adding a good running back to a good team, seems exactly like the backward sort of stuff that should drive you crazy. Maybe it does. Who knows?

    • BIKI024

      FWIW, the Pats moved up this year.. but yeah, teams have found ways to plug in guys to their system, especially 1 dimensional type players and they rotate RB’s in depending on their skillset. which again, is one of the biggest strength’s of TRich is that he can play all downs. i’m not sure there are too many other guys in the league that can do the same, which makes him more valuable. more injury prone as well, but that’s the risk you take to bring a differene maker to the team. and again, the price tag is significantly less. dropping $20m over 4 years on on trent versus $60m is a HUGE difference.

      • Bryan Joiner

        I agree — there’s a lot of unchartered territory, and I was going to mention the Pats, too. I hope it works. My counterpoint would be that you don’t need a guy to play on all downs at that position, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat. It just seems like the more diversified cat-skinners tend to do better.

        • BIKI024

          teams are obviously still moving the ball just fine at times with different RB packages, but having one dude back there definitely adds an element of disguise and keeps the defense guessing, especially with a guy like TRich who has homerun hitting potential anytime he touches the ball..

          • Bryan Joiner

            I just don’t know the last team like that to win a Super Bowl, or really come close. I guess Shawn Alexander?

          • BIKI024

            Rams with Faulk.. and SEA with Alexander came close.. Vikings came close with AP a few years back.. i know we’re goin back, but the Broncos and Cowboys had a pretty good run with dominant RB’s.. just because passing attack with multiple RBs is hot trend now, doesn’t mean that a physical attack from a 3 down back like back in the day still can’t work..

        • BIKI024

          plus, as we bring along Weeden, we’re not really working with a QB that is scaring DCs yet (and obviously haven’t for years). most teams that are getting it done with multiple backs are strong at QB so it opens up the running game. it seems we are focusing on the running game first and hope that it will open up the passing game. at least until Weeden’s rocket starts burnin some peeps!

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Stop skinning cats or there will be big trouble.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      I could not reply to your “What will I eat” comment either.
      Perhaps that is a good thing because I did not understand it.
      Are you in Cleveland? There are great places to eat everywhere.
      (I am going back to the days when I was still there, gentrification notwithstanding.)
      Perogies in Parma, or a couple of places in Brunswick.
      There is also a Hungarian place near five points that has amazing paprikash.
      (It is near the old Hupmobile factory.)
      There is an Italian restaurant run by a Croatian guy that is fantastic as well, but the 41st and Payne neighborhood is a bit sketchy.
      I used to eat lunch at Slyman’s at least twice a week back in the day. My only caveat is that it is no longer a blue collar dive. It has gone a bit upscale. I heard they even have napkins.

      Bryan you are in a place where the food is terrific, especially if you are like me and you can not get enough of unidentifiable pork products.

  • CleveLandThatILove

    It’s unsettling to me that we didn’t secure a proven wide-out with what we had to spend. Was hoping for an experienced FA to anchor our receiving corps, which remains our weakest link on offense, and might become even more painfully glaring if our first two draft picks deliver the goods.

    • rodofdisaster

      CTIL, this may be another debate for another day but you raise a point that really irritates me about this front office. They are generally anti-free agency.

      I am not saying that you can buy your way to a championship. If that was the case, Dan Snyder would have multiple Super Bowl trophies. If you are so bereft of talent, however, that you are clearly outclassed in your own division, you would think that free agency might help.

      You can’t hit on every draft pick and we’ve clearly demonstrated that the Browns have been unable to properly address the WR and RT situation over two years if not more. If that was the case then wouldn’t making a run at a proven free agent WR or RT make sense? I know they are more expensive but had we gotten a legitimate RT in free agency (e.g. Eric Winston for the big spenders and Kareem McKenzie for the cheapskates) then that could have freed them up on draft day to draft “best player available” and perhaps even a top talent at WR.

      • CleveLandThatILove

        Any successful business thrives on a good mix of raw talent and proven experience. That’s just good sound management and applies across the board. The Browns silence in free agency has been frustrating, to say the least.

        • BIKI024

          it’s a LONG offseason, there are plenty of FA’s out there still, plenty of veteran receivers and in other areas we need to address, not to mention other veteran cuts coming up.. while i like our group of WRs as is (assuming MoMass is healthy), I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought in or traded for a vet WR..

          • CleveLandThatILove

            I hope you’re right on this.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I would like to see the Browns pick up Mike Walker as a free agent, but not Plaxico Burress.
            There are a few other choices available as well free agent receivers have a better understanding than rookies of when to go up for the ball, when to duck and when to go out of bounds.

          • Bryan Joiner

            What will I eat?

          • BIKI024

            yeah Sims-Walker def has some ability.. I’m biased on Plax, but I can’t see him coming here, he’s probably going to a championship calibur team..

            the list of vets out there are pretty long and while none are #1s, or even borderline #2’s, they would add experience and depth to a young corps. ie. Early Doucet (50+ balls last year), or even Bernard Berrian who has experience with Chilly.

      • Beeej

        If you were a free agent and Cleveland came calling would you pick up the phone? If I were serious about my career and a chance at a Super Bowl ring, I think I’d take less money (w/in reason) to play for a real football team.

      • bupalos

        >>>They are generally anti-free agency.>>>

        I think the generality of that statement abstracts a bit from where they likely feel we are as a team right now. And while eliminating holes in FA might make your draft priorities clearer, there is a flip side to that — going in to the draft with as many holes as possible actually increases your flexibility and chance of draft success. I know that sounds kind of odd. But the reality is that a team with 1 or 2 glaring needs that have to be addressed in the draft are at a disadvantage, both to teams with lots of holes, and to teams with no pressing needs.

        Free agency has the advantage of allowing you more certainty about what you’re getting. And it feels like it’s “free.” But from the point of view of drafting and developing a core, it seems to me it can be counterproductive in several ways.

  • dukem1

    When a team drafts a running back at the #3 spot, they are making a statement that this player will make a serious impact from day one…one thing a serious impact running back does is make the QB that much better…i.e., how productive could McCoy have been with the Hillis of two years ago?…We’ll never know now, will we..
    .Now, from what I read here, and elsewhere, since we used the #22 spot to get Weedon, McCoy is history…fated to be a backup to the Browns version of Danny Ainge….
    I’m a hope springs eternal type of guy, but I gotta say…it’s tough to imagine that we will be a competitive and productive team with a totally re-engineered and re-invented backfield

    Be nice if some of the lineman they drafted work out, though..

    For the record, I think the current regime has set a new low for screwing up our team on draft day.

    • CleveLandThatILove

      They dismantled a solid running threat by trashing the Vickers-Hillis combo, which put them square on my sh*t list for the foreseeable future. If it ain’t broke… Spent 3 draft picks on the backfield in 2 years. Turns my stomach, and I have a really strong stomach.

      • Chris M

        As much as I (and obviously you) like Hillis, the guy can’t stay on the field. As much as I hate to say it, he’s not a feature back. It seems like the abuse he took from his big year left him damaged.

        I’m with you re: Hardesty. He’s a complete bust.

  • rgrunds

    Thank God for Rod.

    Rod Haiku…..

    “Trouble Rod knows contact sport
    Spring knowledge is strong
    Wise like Heckert and Fat Swede”

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