The Browns passed on a Hall of Fame QB and RB

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I know what your thinking. You probably believe that I think now that Sanchez the 5th pick overall pick in the 2009 draft is going to be a HOF QB. I don’t know about that. I still have a suspicion that Sanchez will be a good but not great QB. That is not the guy I am talking about.

In 1999 when the Browns were presented with the list of “vets” in the expansion draft from which they could build their roster, the name Kurt Warner was available! The Rams had put Warner on the list because they had brought Trent Green in as their starter and had Tony Banks who had been the starter for 3 seasons. They were also planning to draft a QB in 99. Warner was at best the 3rd QB on their roster.

Warner had been a super star in the Arena League. Before you laugh at that consider this–A critical key to success at QB is the ability to find the open guy and get him the ball in very tight windows quickly. The Arena League is a good training ground because there is only a 50 yard field that is 1/2 as wide as the NFL field and there are only 3 guys blocking for the QB.

Warner had also flourished in NFL Europe where he had been the MVP. Unlike the pinheads that were making decisions for the Browns, I had watched NFL Europe. I had also seen Warner in the Arena League a couple of times. As the Browns made their picks, I was S C R E A M I N G at the TV to take Warner. They didn’t. I threw an ashtray at the TV after the expansion draft and then went directly to Walmart to buy another one.

Every sports fan knows what happened then. Green went down in the preseason. Warner had beat out Banks for the 2nd QB spot in the 99 off season. Warner started and took a team that had won 2 games in 98 to a World Championship in 99.

The Browns on the other hand didn’t compete for a playoff spot. They went 2-14 and thus began the 11 years of inept play by the “new” Cleveland Browns.

What if?

What if in the Expansion Draft the Browns would have taken Warner? Then they could have traded their first 2nd round pick to the Colts for Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk. Then they could have traded their 1st pick overall to the Saints for their entire draft (except a 2nd round pick that had been traded previously) plus a 1st and 2nd or 3rd round pick in 2000 depending on RB Ricky Williams production. They would have had to pick up a vet free agent QB if they were not going to draft one early. Those that were available were Brad Johnson, Gus Frerotte, Trent Dilfer and Jon Kitna. All of them were capable of starting until Warner was ready. Of course Warner was ready long before anyone could have expected. Here is what their first draft could have looked like:

1-1 Traded to the Saints

1-12 DE Jevon Kearse TN

2-32 Traded to the Colts for Faulk

2-45 Fred Vinson CB GB

3-62 Cory Hall CB CN

3-71 Joey Porter LB PT

3-76 Mike McKenzie CB GB

4-107 Rosevelt Colvin LB CH

4-124 Ed Mulitalo G BA

5-125Traded to the Colts for Faulk

5-144 Jerry Azumah DB OK

2000 Draft

1-2 Chris Samuels T WA

3-64 Laveranues Coles WR NJ

Clearly it is easier to pick great drafts after the fact but I had every one of these players on my list and I am sure that other draft analysts had them as well. The key is if you have more picks even a blind draft guru can hit on more than if you have fewer picks. The extra picks could have made a huge difference in the team over the last 11 years.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,expansion draft,Warner,Browns,Faulk,Hall of Fame,NFL Hall of Fame,Colts,Saints,draft picks

QB Jason Campbell is the starter because the Redskins couldn't get anyone else.

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Cambell will start but his feelings have been hurt—again. Campbell has struggled in the second halfs of seasons. The Redskins were 6-2 at the half pole but fell off the cliff and out of the playoffs in the second half. Part of Cambell’s problems were due to the injury to RB Clinton Portis and the failure of the running game to keep up the pace. Injuries in the O line caused more pressure and fewer accurate passes. Coach Jim Zorn tried to get several QBs via trade but failed. Unlike the Denver situation, Cambell took it like a man and settles in again under center.

Campbell has talent and a great arm but has had very inconsistent mechanics. Under pressure he tends to forget his mechanics and fall back to old habits. It is impossible to be a consistent passer with bad mechanics. But until they find someone else, he’s the guy. As insurance the team has vet Todd Collins in reserve. Collins is 36 and is past the point where he can be a full time starter. Run and shoot QBs Colt Brennan and URFA Chase Daniel are also in the mix.

Portis had more injuries than the Republican Guard in 08. He was leading the league at the 8 game mark with over 900 yards and then suffered hip, knee, neck and back. He struggled to a little over 500 yards in the second half of the season. He is not 100 percent yet and will be used very sparingly in preseason. Ladell Betts backs up Portis and is very solid. FB Mike Sellers didn’t have his usually solid season last year despite being elected to the pro bowl.

As Campbell lost accuracy, the WRs lost catches. Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are one of the better combos in the league. Both started out hot and cooled as more throws hit the ground. Moss has lost a half step and is 30 this year. Randle El is the underneath guy and one of the most physical receivers in the league. He an excellent down field blocker. There are no long runs without the WRs and TEs making blocks down field. The team wants youngsters Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly to develop to provide another deep threat. They will compete for the 3rd WR spot left open by free agency. The TE is 2 time pro bowl Chris Cooley. He is consistent and Campbell’s relief valve.

The O line that has gotten so much praise got old all of a sudden. Long time RT Jon Jansen and G Pete Kendall are gone. Derrick Dockery replaces the latter and Stephon Heyer or vet Mike Williams will play RT. Chris Samuels started strong but wore down. He is nearing the end of the road. C Casey Rabach and RG Randy Thomas have to play the way they did in the first few games before they too were nicked up. Overall the O line has to improve to get the O back on track.

The Redskins D quietly ranked in the top 10 overall last year. The D is a fantasy football favorite. Now they have added the $100 million dollar man in DT Albert Haynesworth from the Titans. He joins a very deep and talented but aging group in starters E Phillip Daniels, DT Cornelius Griffin and E Andre Carter. The bench includes former starters T Kedric Golston, T Anthony Montgomery, DE Renaldo Wynn and the versatile T/E Lorenzo Alexander. IF this group stays healthy the D line is outstanding. But Haynesworth came in limping and Daniels is coming off a knee injury that kept him out almost all of 08.

1st round pick Brian Orakpo was handed the SLB spot day 1. He is converting from DE at Texas. He joins the undersized and overachieving MB London Fletcher and WLB Rocky McIntosh. Fletcher was snubbed last year but played at an all pro level. McIntosh is solid. The bench includes SLB insurance H.B. Blades, Alfred Fincher, Chris Wilson, and former 1st round bust Robert Thomas. Blades is fine but the rest are suspect.

LCB Carlos Rogers, RCB DeAngelo Hall and FS LaRon Landry are young and talented. Landry is coming on strong but needs to finish more plays by improving his ball skills. Hall has to overcome inconsistency. SS Chris Horton has to avoid a sophomore slump. The 7th round pick was a standout in training camp last year and played well. CB Fred Smoot, S Reed Doughty, S Kareem Moore, CB Justin Tryon and CB Kevin Barnes are the backups now but Smoot is in danger of being cut.

OVERALL: The Redskins were great in the first half of last year. Despite getting Haynesworth, they are not Super Bowl threats. They don’t have enough passing to prevent teams putting 47 guys in the box to stop Portis. The team will go as far as Campbell takes them. That may be to the playoffs but won’t be much farther.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Redskins,Titans,Texas,College Football,Campbell,Zorn,Portis,Betts,Randle El,Moss,Cooley,Samuels,Rabach,Heyer,Jansen,Griffin,Haynesworth,Daniels,Orakpo,Landry,Hall,Smoot

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