Day one of the draft is over with the selection of cornerback Joe Haden from Florida. It was a solid, if unspectacular, beginning to the Holmgren Era in Cleveland.
There is some unwarranted moaning and groaning among some of the Cleveland fan base about the pick. The fact is that the player the team was targeting (Eric Berry) was a pipe dream at number seven in the draft. Berry was just too good of a player to fall that low.
Haden is a solid pick and will help the team immediately. Remember, the team was the worst in the league at surrendering plays of twenty yards or more. With the addition of Haden to go with Eric Wright and the solid (although aging) Sheldon Brown, the Browns are in a position to immensely improve those numbers.
There was some disagreement in the war room in deciding between Haden and Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson. Holmgren eventually sided with Eric Mangini and chose Haden.
Haden was the best cornerback in the SEC for the past two years. Given the level of competition he faced…that is really saying something.
Wilson may have the higher upside because of his speed, but Haden was the safer pick.
The Browns have made the mistake in the past of falling in love with a player at the combine. The Browns chose a player that showed up on game tape over combine results and it’s hard to argue with that logic.
So what should we expect out of the Browns today?
There is no question in my head that Mike Holmgren covets quarterback Colt McCoy. However, he is also mindful that McCoy or any quarterback he drafts this year is not going to help the team now. Because of that, Holmgren does not want to waste his only second rounder on a future starter when he feels he can get an immediate return out of another position.
The Browns have been feverishly working the phones in order to make a deal to get another second round pick. They certainly have the inventory of extra draft choices to make that move.
If the team can garner an extra second round pick, look for the Browns to select McCoy. McCoy may very well be “the best available player” anyways.
Besides McCoy, there is a bevy of talent still available. This draft is extremely deep, so the Browns have the ability to fill a lot of needs.
In the order of my rankings (aside from McCoy and Jimmy Clausen): Taylor Mays (USC FS), Sergio Kindle (Texas OLB), Everson Griffen (USC DE), Charles Brown (USC OT), Nate Allen (S.Florida FS), Golden Tate (ND WR), Carlos Dunlap (Florida DE), and Arrelious Benn (Illinois WR), Bruce Campbell (Maryland OT) and Terrence Cody (Alabama NT) are just some of the solid names still on the draft board. Even after those names are gone, there are plenty of solid players left.
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen went into free fall last night. Despite what the “all-knowing” Mel Kiper, Jr. says, that should not have been unexpected. I do see Clausen being chosen before the Browns pick at 38 however. Minnesota and Kansas City both have showed interest and have picks at 34 and 36 respectively. Seattle and Buffalo also may be trying to trade up right now to get in the game.
Head Scratcher of the Day: Could someone please explain to me what Jacksonville’s management was thinking with their tenth pick in the draft? This is no knock on Tyson Alualu, who may very well turn out to be a decent football player; but the defensive tackle from Cal was not expected to be picked until the second day of the draft.
For God’s sake! If you think you are smarter than every other scout or expert…at least trade down and garner some extra picks!
They cannot say there were no trade partners, because a number of teams were able to pull off deals to move down in the draft right after them.
Co-Head Scratcher of the Day: I am going to start this off by admitting to the fact that I do not see Tim Tebow as a future franchise quarterback. OK Broncos…you disagree with me…that’s fair. But then why did you just make a trade for another young quarterback in the offseason?
Dear Coach McDaniels: You were 8-8 last year. You were on the cusp of the playoffs. You just lost one of the best offensive weapons in the game in Brandon Marshall. So what are your offseason moves to push you over the top?! Trade for a backup quarterback…and then draft a project quarterback in the first round. My man…you must feel real secure about your job!
Best move of the day: I don’t like to grade drafts because no one truly knows how a pick is going to turn out until they get on a football field. Even then, it takes at least three years because some players develop at a different rate than others.
However, the Cowboys decision to move up in the draft to grab Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant was one of the best decisions in the draft. I don’t often give owner Jerry Jones much credit for anything he does, but this could not have worked out better for them.
First off, the team is embroiled in a contract dispute with their leading receiver from last year Miles Austin. This sends him a message.
Secondly, when Austin signs (and he will sign), the Cowboys will be loaded with playmakers. Bryant will be playing with an established quarterback who loves to sling it around. There will be no real pressure on Bryant because of all the veterans around him. Plus, he will be playing with a monster size chip that will be on his shoulder to prove everyone who passed on him that they were wrong.
Lastly, Bryant grew up in the Lone Star State and aside from his playmaking ability it was a brilliant PR move by Jones.