To see how a team can screw up a draft, we must dissect a couple of blown drafts.
First, there are a few teams to whom we must explain the draft process. They don’t seem to understand that it is not only who you draft but when you draft them that determines not only how good the draft was but long term how your team will do.
Second, almost anyone except Al Davis can use a top 10 pick to get a really good player. What separates the Browns from the Steelers is how many picks in the 4-7th round become solid players or starters. Over the last 5 years (excluding 09 draft) the Browns got one part time starter Lawrence Vickers FB (6th round 2006) and a rotation player for the D line Ahtyba Rubin DT (6th round 08).
The Steelers did a little better. They got 2 pro bowl players as undrafted rookie free agents (RB Willie Parker and ROLB James Harrison)
Error 1 The trade of the 5th overall pick. Value 1700 points.
The Jets gave Cleveland the 17th pick value 950 points, and the 52nd pick value 380 points. That left a total of 370 points to be made up. The perfect value would have been for the Jets to give the Browns their first pick in 2010 which would have provided 380 points and leveled the deal. Instead the Browns got were 2 free agent fill in starters from last year’s Jets D that gave up more points than Cleveland’s did and a clip board jockey 5th string QB that can maybe run the scout team. None of those players were likely to have made the Jets final roster.
Error 2 The trade of choice 17 to the Eagles for 19.
The difference between the choices is 75 points. That would equal the Eagles’ 4th round pick. Instead, Mr. Benefactor took a 6th.
Error 3 The trade of the 19th pick for the 21st pick.
The difference was again 75 points and a 4th round pick but the Browns got a 6th.
With the two 4th round picks, the Browns could have gotten any 2 of the following:
NO Lawrence Sidbury Jr. OB Richmond—The best pure pass rusher in the draft.
NE Rich Ohrnberger G Penn St.–A solid run blocker that can develop into a starter.
TN Gerald McRath LB Southern Miss—He was the Conference USA Player of the Year and a 3 down backer.
DV Seth Olsen G Iowa—A solid guard that will start in 2010 for the Broncos.
SD Gartrell Johnson RB Colorado St—A bowling ball at 219 that will spell LaDainian Tomlinson
Given his trades, it appears that GM George Kokinis couldn’t negotiate his way around a Shoots and Ladders board.
So what did the Tans finally take with the 21st pick? They took a C that they could have gotten an equal guy in the second round. They got a reasonable value in their first second round pick (Brian Robiskie WR Ohio State) but reached for every other pick at least 15 draft positions. They could have traded down because everyone else was doing it. But they would have given away those picks like they did in the examples above.
Raiders: Reach, Reach, Reach.
Davis took Darrius Heyward-Bey WR (Maryland) with the 7th pick even though he was the 3rd or 4th best WR on the board. Several teams were reportedly trying to trade up but Davis went for speed. As a coach, I could care less how fast a WR is. If he can’t catch the ball, his speed does no good.
With their second pick the Raiders took a guy that would have been an URFA. Michael Mitchell S Ohio U. has speed and nothing else.
He did take 2 of my sleepers later with Matt Shaughnessy (DE Wisconsin) in the 3rd and Stryker Sulak (DE Missouri) in the 6th. Those picks were great but overall he still managed only a D grade.
What have we learned? It will be a very long season for Brown and Raider fans.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]