By Tony Grossi
Is QB Ryan Tannehill worth the #4 pick in the draft?
As usual, our inbox was flooded with excellent questions. The draft remains the No. 1 topic. Mike from Dover, Ohio, checked in with his usual tirade against my past criticisms of Eric Mangini. One bookkeeping note: Please include a name and city with your question or it probably will not be answered.
Hey Tony: Have followed you before your hair has turned gray. Please explain how the Browns manipulate and package drafts picks with the restrictions on those compensatory picks.
-- Steve MacDonald, Tallahassee
Hey Steve: Compensatory picks can’t be traded. So they have to use those two in the sixth round and two in the seventh round. They still have nine others to wheel and deal. By the way, my hair started turning gray in high school.
Hey Tony: For the last two years (maybe longer) I've watched the Browns’ receivers not really fight for the ball. All of the premier quarterbacks have receivers that really fight to make the catch. Is it coaching or just the quality of the receiving corps. I do admit seeing more from Josh Cribbs last year, but he's the only standout.
-- John Medley, Middletown, Ohio
Hey John: Couldn’t agree with you more. I almost think a receiver has to be born with that trait. You can’t teach toughness.
Hey Tony: As the Browns acquire more draft picks (currently 13) is it possible to run out of money to pay for all of them or can they use cap money to help pay them. Is there a set amount of money each team has for their draft picks.
-- Mike, Copley, Ohio
Hey Mike: It’s not a concern. The NFL assigns a rookie pool to each team based on their number of selections and their spots in each round. The new CBA also limits the contracts the high picks can command.
Hey Tony: Super glad to have your insights and thoughts on ESPNCleveland. Living in Cincinnati it’s my lifeline to keeping up with the Brownies. For my question I believe the Browns had no intention of signing Peyton Hillis so there must be a plan as they will not go with the guys they have now. I think they like the running back at No. 37 with the Isaiah Pead kid from UC or another player. I gotta believe the two number ones are best player available except for cornerbacks. What do you think?
Former Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini
Hey Barry: I would say best offensive players available with the two No. 1s.
Hey Tony: Sack up & answer the question: Who's the better Head Football Coach, Eric Mangini or Pat Shurmur?
-- Mike, Dover
Hey Mike: So glad you found my new home. Now I can open that new box of Ex-Lax. Mangini had a 5-11 record his first year and Shurmur was 4-12. I’ve always said the won-loss record is the No. 1 indicator. Check with me after Shurmur’s second year, or sooner. I know you will.
Hey Tony: First glad you’re back. I was one of the many people who did write the editor after their hasty decision. I think most Browns fans have it wrong. At this point it makes more sense to draft Justin Blackmon and then trade down at 22. You mentioned Bobby Massie before and to me at least he is an ideal RT, who is more of a late first rounder due to the fact he cannot play on the left side. A trade back from 22 to grab Massie, mix with the plethora of picks the Browns have could allow them to grab a pick for next year and possibly pick up another second. This way they get Blackmon, who looks a lot like Reggie Wayne, a big nasty tackle, and still have two picks to go in round 2 with any luck.
--Jeff, New York City
Hey Jeff: I like Massie for the same reason you do. I like Blackmon, too. I’m not in favor of shuffling back for any more picks. They have 13 as it is.
Hey Tony: Ryan Tannehill threw three picks each in losses last year to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and (wait for it) Cade McCoy and the Texas Longhorns!!! Are the Browns actually considering taking a QB at #4 who lost to Colt's little brother last year??? Kill me now.
-- Phil, Medina
Hey Phil: Don’t jump off the I-480 bridge. Although the Browns are doing their due diligence on Tannehill, and probably Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden, I don’t forsee them drafting either quarterback.
Hey Tony: Do you expect the Browns to be wheeling and dealing on draft day, making trades and picking up future draft picks?
-- Steve Bohnenkamp, Geneva, IL.
Hey Steve: Future draft picks? No. The Browns have to realize the future is now.
Hey Tony: What do you think of this type of deal to get Mike Wallace for the 22nd pick? (Hypothetical of Course) What if the Browns worked out a deal where they told the Giants to sign Mike Wallace to a front loaded deal that Pittsburgh couldn’t match and then trade him to the Browns for the 22nd pick. If you look at it, it’s a win/win for both teams. The Giants would surrender their 32nd pick to Pittsburgh for signing their restricted free agent. We would trade our 22nd pick for Mike Wallace allowing us to keep our #4 pick. This is a win/win for both teams. The Browns get a PROVEN #1 receiver, a deep threat, and a player that has had success playing in this division. The Giants on the other hand essentially just move up 10 picks for their trouble. Why can’t this happen?
-- Tim Jernigan, Euclid
Hey Tim: Well done – on paper. A couple issues: In order for the Giants to make the offer to Wallace, they have to have the salary cap room. They might not be agreeable to assisting the Browns in this way. Also, the Steelers have the ability to match any offer for Wallace. Ultimately, no team should expect another team to help them in such a way. The upside for the Giants is only 10 spots in the first round. They might rather stay at No. 32.
Hey Tony: Here’s another congrats on your new job and glad to see that Hey Tony is back! About the draft, here’s what I’d like to see. Take Richardson at #4 (maybe it’s too high for a RB but not that much IMO. I think he’s worth it), Stephen Hill at 22, and best RT at 37. I’m intrigued by Hill. I know he didn’t have a lot of catches at GT due to the run first offense, but the guy averaged almost 30 YPC! The scouting reports I’ve read say his route running is raw, mainly because he wasn’t asked to run a lot of routes but he has good hands. At 6’4”, and the 4.36 speed (which could push him higher than 22), I think him and Little would look really good on the field together (if someone can get them the ball of course). Route running can be worked on, but you can’t teach the size and speed. Plus, you know he can block. What do you think?
-- SSG Ryan C. Branford, Ft. Bragg, NC
Hey Ryan: I would not be opposed. You can see all the variables in the Browns’ decisions at Nos. 4, 22 and 37. Running back-receiver-tackle or receiver-running back-tackle or tackle-running back-receiver, etc. It’s not an easy decision.
Hey Tony: I have such high hopes that the draft will alleviate many of my pessimistic thoughts about this year’s offense. Last year neither the passing game nor the running game could spread the field thus loosening the defense. Our opponents could clog the middle of the field. Current forecasts seem to have Colt starting again so we can’t expect the passing game to be of much improved though with a Blackmon/Floyd/Hill I have hopes. Do we have a running back who is capable of getting to the outside or are we relying on the draft to fill this void? And with such a runner, who is going to block for him? Isn’t it the guards who typically pull to lead a sweep? This aspect of the offense was lacking last year with Eric Steinbach on IR. Do either Jason Pinkston or Shawn Lauvao have the ability to improve this facet of their game.
-- Dave Pimley, Centreville, VA
Hey Dave: Steinbach was great at pulling. The Browns’ perimeter running game disappeared without him. Pulling is an art that requires athletic ability but also must be learned if not exercised in college. We’ll learn a lot about the guards in their second season together as starters.
Alabama RB Trent Richardson
Hey Tony: If the Browns draft to your current plan and select the WR at #4, presuming they take a RB by the second round or third round, who would you like to see them get? I really like Doug Martin. He reminds me of Ray Rice: talented kid, smaller college, short and agile, with good vision, durable and smart ... if Martin starts and is healthy, I see a 1,000-yard rookie season.
-- Keith, Cleveland
Hey Keith: A better comparison to Rice is Alabama’s Trent Richardson. I think I’m leaning toward him over Blackmon now. Richardson-Kendall Wright would be a fairly good 1-2 punch.
Hey Tony: Since RG3, Matt Flynn and any other possibility of a savior at QB for the Browns seems unlikely, what are the chances the Browns trade down the 4th pick to acquire more picks that will fill the "bare cupboards" this team needs?
-- Don, Hinckley
Hey Don: A trade down is possible, but I’m thinking they are diminishing. The Rams (No. 6) don’t want to trade up. The Dolphins (No. 8) probably can wait and take Tannehill. And the Seahawks (No. 12) might be too far down for the Browns to be interested.
Hey Tony: If RG3 was able to gather 3 first round picks and a 2nd why is it such a stretch to spend the single 4th pick on Ryan Tannehill? Are you telling me where you sit Tannehill is not worth 1/3 the picks of RG3? If Tannehill has the skill set, size and moxie then I think you have to make the move. I cannot handle another year of a weak-armed 6 foot QB when all we play is 6’5” guys who can riffle the ball all day long. I also cannot live with a ton of losing to get in the Matt Barkley sweepstakes the following year.
-- Michael Spitale, Galena, OH
Hey Michael: Admittedly, it’s hard for me to defend my position on Tannehill. I agree with a lot of what you say. I’ve been harping about a tall, pocket passer with a rifle arm forever. If he were drafted where he belongs – top of the second round – I would be excited after taking a receiver and running back first. But he will be sucked up to the top of the first round because of the QB frenzy in the league and I’m not sure he’s worthy of taking ahead of the best receiver and running back. I think the No. 4 pick must have immediate impact.
Hey Tony: In 2011, NFL Network's draft "expert" Mike Mayock thought Blaine Gabbert was the better pick than Cam Newton. In 2010, he said the Browns should take Jimmy Clausen at #7 AND said it was too early for the Browns to take Florida cornerback Joe Haden there. (Plain Dealer, 4/15/10). Now we know the draft is an inexact science, but if Mayock's an "expert," then so am I. Where do I apply?
-- Brian, Avon
Hey Brian: I’m not going to pound on Mayock. Then again, as analyst of the Browns-Steelers game last year, he failed to question why Colt McCoy was reinserted into the game two plays after James Harrison blasted him into La La Land. He also “swallowed his whistle” in pointing out what a cheap shot it was.
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
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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