Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
I felt the buzz for the start of training camp picking up after the Browns selected Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft. Many questions about the ex-Baylor wide receiver flooded the Hey Tony inbox. There were also questions about Colt McCoy, Phil Dawson and the job the Browns’ front office is doing. After a little respite, Mike from Dover was back with his usual errant shot.
Hey Tony: Unusual scheduling for the Browns this year in that their “dress rehearsal” in week 3 also happens to be their opening day opponent. Will this cause any changes in the way the Browns and Eagles approach this game?
-- Bill, Highland Heights, OH
Hey Bill: I’m sure it will result in one of the more drab and boring “dress rehearsals” in exhibition season history, with neither team showing the other anything fancy. Plus, it’s not like Pat Shurmur and Andy Reid don’t know each other, either.
Hey Tony: As the offseason has mostly played out and the Browns picked up Josh Gordon through the supplemental draft, is it fair to look back at the Rams-Redskins trade yet? As I see it, we picked up a starting QB, RB, RT and possibly a true No. 1 WR through this year’s draft because the Browns swung and missed on the RG3 trade. How likely is it that as Browns fans we can look back a few years from now and be grateful that the RG3 trade fell through and we picked up who we did? The 4:1 ratio seems mighty favorable to me right now.
-- Mike, Centennial, CO
Hey Mike: The 2013 second-round pick, which is Gordon, was not a part of the proposed trade for RG3. Washington gave up No. 1s in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and its No. 2 in 2012 – not in 2013. The Browns’ reported offer was their two No. 1s in 2012, their No. 2 in 2012 and their No. 1 in 2013. The players taken so far with those picks are Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Mitchell Schwartz. I think the Browns were fortunate the Rams chose Washington’s offer. Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that he felt having No. 1s in three consecutive drafts – as opposed to two No. 1s one year and another one in 2013 – was more appealing to him.
Hey Tony: The way I see it, except for backup quarterback unless they somehow convince themselves to keep Colt McCoy, it appears to me that the offensive rebuild is now complete. This should basically be the personnel that we see for the next five years. They have targeted and brought in their QB, RB and legit backups, ideal starting WRs and slot (Little, Gordon and Benjamin or Norwood or Cooper), offensive line starters and depth (Greco, Miller, Cousins), and tight ends. I hate to do this but to me getting Gordon a year early means that 2013 is playoffs or bust for this team. If they are not a playoff team in 2013 then I would have to say that we have the wrong plan. I love the way Tom Heckert has built this team, but it has to work by 2013, because they have filled all the holes on offense. These are either the players who take us where we want to go or this project is a failure. Do you agree or disagree and why?
-- Gary, Albuquerque, NM
Hey Gary: Let’s see: If the Browns go 6-10 this year (with all the rookies on offense) and then finish 10-6 in 2013 but lose a playoff berth on a tie-breaker, does that mean they have the wrong plan? I just don’t think you should attach ultimatums to this rebuilding project. Let’s see if there is real improvement this year, and then next year they will assess what else is needed.
WR Kendall Wright
Hey Tony: If Josh Gordon didn't get suspended and miss the year, who has the better year, Kendall Wright or Gordon? Here are their 2010 stats. Wright: 78 catches, 952 yards, 12.2-yard average, 7 touchdowns. Gordon, 42, 714, 17.0, 7. If you could have drafted either Gordon or Wright in this year’s draft, with Wright playing and having the great statistical year that he had and Gordon sitting out and only going on "promise" and raw talent who would you draft? I think Gordon has more No. 1 receiver talent and potential, and Wright is more of a productive slot receiver.
-- Alex, Orlando, FL
Hey Alex: The more pertinent statistics to compare are these: Wright is 5-10 and 190 pounds. Gordon is 6-3 1/8 and 225 pounds. Gordon has the body of a true No. 1. Wright does not.
Hey Tony: Were the Browns thinking Gordon during last year's draft, and did that mindset lead to their inactivity with WRs in the earlier rounds? If so, seems like a risky play. If not, did WR play in summer workouts increase their sense of urgency for 2012?
-- Ryan, Massillon, OH
Hey Ryan: Although the Browns had been tracking Gordon since observing him during their scouting of Phil Taylor, Kendall Wright and Robert Griffin III, there was no indication Gordon would be available until he applied for the supplemental draft in late June. More likely, they were ready to pounce on him after his final year of eligibility at Utah in 2012. I believe their sense of urgency increased when they took grief for being passive in free agency and in the trade talks for RG3.
Hey Tony: I remember Phil Dawson talking about finishing his career here in Cleveland. With the deadline for long-term extensions coming this Monday, will a deal get done?
-- Jason, Medina, OH
K Phil Dawson
Hey Jason: It doesn’t look like a multi-year deal is in the offing for Dawson. He has been franchised two years in a row – which was a great deal for him. Per the CBA, a third franchise designation for Dawson would merit a 40 percent pay hike over his $3.81 million contract this year, which would bring his 2013 salary to about $5.3 million! I can’t see the Browns paying that much for a kicker. All the more reason a long-term deal should have been worked out 2-3 years ago.
Hey Tony: I'm hopeful about the Josh Gordon pickup, but I'm also not holding my breath given their history with 2nd round receivers (Webster Slaughter excluded of course!). My question is what happens in the 2nd round of next year's draft now that the Browns have used theirs on Gordon? Does the round just go shorter with 31 picks or is there some special allocation of the pick that the Browns would have had? Thanks as always for providing great coverage and an honest opinion on this frustrating team of mine!
-- Hòa(Los Angeles via Cleveland Heights)
Hey Hoa: The Browns’ pick in the round is skipped and the round is shortened to 31 picks.
Hey Tony: I'm looking forward to seeing you and the guys on STO again soon. I record your shows each week, and they're always interesting and entertaining. My question is about 5th round pick, offensive guard Ryan Miller. I'm sure it's hard to analyze players with only minimal contact so far, but I haven't heard a single thing about this giant since he was drafted. Can you offer any insight regarding his progress and the Browns' plans for him? Keep up the great work, and tell Mike from Dover to put a sock in it.
-- John, Stow, OH
Hey John: Our Browns shows on STO kickoff on the first day of training camp. As for Miller, I think the Browns will start him off as a backup guard and also see if he can play tackle in the NFL. He’s very tall and there is some question about whether Miller can get enough bend in his lower body to play tackle.
Hey Tony: The Lions went 0-16 with years of losing leading to that moment. They made big changes and 3 years later were in the playoffs. The Browns going into that same year 3 that saw the Lions in the playoffs are rated the worst team in the NFL by the biggest NFL media outlet and Vegas set us at the lowest over/under of any team. Are you really going to tell me that expecting 8-8 (which is the definition of mediocrity) from Holmgren and Heckert in year 3 is asking too much?
-- Michael, Galena, OH
Hey Michael: The Lions’ resurgence began with the drafting of QB Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall after that 0-16 year. That’s the most important piece. Once a team has that piece in place, building the rest of the team is easier. The Browns are still looking for that piece. Is Weeden that piece? If so, should the Browns be expected to make the playoffs in three years? Your expectations are up to you.
Hey Tony: How many picks do the Browns have in the 2nd - 4th rounds next year? Do they have two picks in one of the rounds? I am just curious as to what they might be giving up by using one of those picks in the supplemental draft to pick-up Gordon. Thanks.
-- Ted, Westlake, OH
Hey Ted: The Browns forfeited their No. 2 pick to select Gordon in the supplemental draft. They own their picks in every other round. They do not have any extra picks at this point.
Hey Tony: So let me get this straight: You write an article about how far away the Browns are from contending based on certain positions, yet you tweeted that for a 4-12 team they have "amazingly" few holes. Which is it and what planet do you reside?
-- Mike, Dover, OH
Hey Mike: I didn’t say they had amazingly few holes. I said for a 4-12 team they had amazingly few position battles. Big difference. As for my planet residence, it is Earth. Come visit it some day.
Hey Tony: Based on all the talk about the failed Colt McCoy experiment in Cleveland, how would you grade the 2010 draft as of today?
-- Eric, San Jose, CA
Hey Eric: Pick 1, Joe Haden: A top 10 cornerback in the NFL. Pick 2, T.J. Ward: Immediate starter at safety who’s had some trouble staying healthy. Pick 3, Montario Hardesty: Hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Pick 4, Colt McCoy: Appears to be on his way out after two seasons and a 6-15 record as a starter. Pick 5, Shawn Lauvao: Entering his second season as the starting right guard. Pick 6, Larry Asante: A safety no longer with the team. Pick 7, Carlton Mitchell: Not much production in two years; this could be do or die season for him. Pick 8, Clifton Geathers: A developmental defensive lineman no longer with team. That makes three productive starters – Haden, Ward and Lauvao. Not bad. Not great. I give it a C-plus.
Hey Tony: The Browns are deep in tight ends and shallow in wide receivers. Do you think they would consider moving one of the receiving tight ends like Evan Moore or Jordan Cameron to wide receiver? Would that make any sense or are they too slow to be a wideout?
-- Glenn, Tucson, AZ
Hey Glenn: You answered your own question at the end.
QB Cam Newton
Hey Tony: First of all KUDOS to you for finding a forum that allows you to freely express your opinions minus the filter. I am sure you opened a can of worms with your NFL player position rankings, specifically when you said that if Cam Newton had been white he would have been hailed as the next John Elway. I also noticed that when the Browns were in the hunt for RG3 a lot of fans and media types insisted that Colt McCoy only needed some weapons to be successful. They questioned if RG3 could be successful after spending much of his career in a spread offense. But as soon as it was clear the Browns were out of it seems as if folks (here's a shocker) realized the Browns needed a QB. Then folks were ecstatic when the Browns drafted a QB that played in a similar offense and is 7 years older. Another esteemed member of the media appeared to be on a rant to get rid of Seneca Wallace because he did not mentor Colt McCoy, and decided to compete with him but praises Colt McCoy for doing the same thing. My question is how big of an issue does race play in the evaluation of QB's? In this day and age is this still an issue?
-- Tony, Bowie, MD
Hey Tony: The point I made about Newton on ESPN 850 WKNR was that I felt Newton was victimized by racial bias prior to the 2011 draft – not by NFL executives but by draftniks who criticized everything about him and were blind to his awesome athletic ability. I feel that after Newton made them look silly with a fabulous rookie season, those same draftniks overcompensated in their praise of Robert Griffin III. In my opinion, Newton was under-rated and Griffin was over-rated. Is race still an issue? That’s a society problem and football is just a microcosm of our society.
Hey Tony: I can't help but think that if Richardson and Weeden were drafted by
another team #3 and #22 they would have went down as great selections and that team would be heralded as one to look out for. Granted, the Browns aren't a great team and have a very difficult schedule but do you feel the Browns should get more national credit then they do. "Power Rankings" be damned. Thanks.
-- Eliot, Cape Coral, FL
Hey Eliot: The Browns “earned” the rampant skepticism – if not derision -- from the national media by their consistent ineptitude. The only way it will change is by winning. I agree that the picks of Richardson, Weeden and Josh Gordon were positive signs the club may be pulling out of its doldrums.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.com
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