By Bill Smith
MEMO TO THE BROWNS, BENGALS, RAIDERS, LIONS, and several other teams on the day before the NFL DRAFT—TRY NOT TO SCREW IT UP!
One of the great mistakes that some NFL teams seem to commit every year is forcing the draft and not letting it come to them. A QB that tries to force his will on the D will get picked more often than those that see the field and throw to the open receiver. That is a fact of life. It is the same thing with the draft.
TO BE SUCCESSFUL OVER THE LONG TERM, YOU HAVE TO TAKE WHAT THE DRAFT AND THE DEPTH OF EACH POSITION OF PLAYERS GIVES YOU. Rather than reaching for a player that fits your top need, take the best player on the board that fills one of your needs or the player that is in a position that is in short supply. LET THE DRAFT COME TO YOU.
Let’s use the Browns as an example because they have a combination of a high draft position and a wide variety of needs.
Needs in rough order of urgency:
A pass rusher at DE or OB.
A pair of WRs to replace Braylon Edwards (if he is traded) and Donte’ Stallworth (guest of the state of Florida for the next 10 to 20 years)
An IB to replace Andra Davis (UFA Colts)
A NT to replace/spell the pro bowl Shaun Rogers that HC Eric Mangini has already ticked off
A real right tackle to try to keep the QBs healthy
A safety to replace Sean Jones (UFA signed by Eagles)
A TE to replace the traded Kellen Winslow (TB Bucs) IF they don’t trust last year’s 4th round pick Martin Rucker (pick 111)
A RB to spell Jamal Lewis
A CB to replace Brandon McDonald who would move to nickel back.
Supply by position:
This year more than any in the last 4 there is a plethora of NFL quality WRs
A couple of handfuls of IBs
Zero experienced OB that can rush the QB in an NFL 3-4
Dozens of 250 lb college DEs that are candidates to convert to OB
An above average number of RBs Ss and OTs
3 or 4 potential starting TEs
As always, there are only 2 or 3 legitimate NT candidates
There are also just a couple pass rush candidates that can play DE in the 3-4
This year there are 0 shut down corners
Given the supply and demand this year, what should the Browns do?
They should NOT trade Edwards for a 2nd and 5th choice! He is worth more to them than what they could get in those choices. Since Mangineous reads my site and always considers what I suggest, Edwards is as good as gone.
Round 1, Pick 5 (5) Take the player in the most demand with the smallest supply—NT or pass rush DE. With the 5th pick, they should take NT B.J. Raji (Boston College) or trade down (if they can) 4 or 5 spots and take DE Tyson Jackson (LSU). DO NOT TAKE A WR with the 5th pick unless you have pulled a Burress and traded Edwards.
Round 2, Pick 4 (36) Take an IB. Rey Maualuga (USC) or James Laurinaitis (Ohio State) might well be there and would greatly help stop the run. If both are gone and one of the second level OTs is on the board take that. If all that fails, NOW you can risk converting a college DE to OB.
Round 2, Pick 18 (50) (From Buccaneers) Take whatever you didn’t get in your first 2nd round pick or get your WR here.
Round 4, Pick 4 (104) This is the area where you can get a real value at RB. Remember, the Giants got all pro RB Brandon Jacobs with the 110th pick in 2005. S is another possibility in the 4th.
Round 6, Pick 4 (177) Best available player. After all, it isn’t like the Browns couldn’t use almost anything they drafted to improve what they have.
That is a plan that can help bring the Browns back toward being a competitive team. And that is the same plan that can help you limit the number of heavy objects you throw at your TV in frustration this season.
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]