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 https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ 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

Tuesday QB for week 6 in the NFL.

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The Saints established themselves as a competitor for the top spot in the NFC with an impressive win over the Giants. There has never been a question about the Saints O because it has been among the best in the league for several years. The difference with the team this year is the play of the D. The D is allowing just 18.6 points per game and is much stiffer against the run than they have been. The Saints are now 5-0.

The Vikes pulled out a great win over the Ravens and then held their breath as the Birds missed a 44 yard field goal. The win puts the Vikes at 6-0 and also a possible top playoff seed. Two of the wins are directly the result of QB Farve. He has led them to an undefeated record so far with a passer rating of 109.5. Last year starter Gus Frerotte finished with a 73.7 rating. With the loss by the Bears, the Vikes lead the division by 2.5 games.

The Bengals stubbed their collective toes badly in a loss to the Texans. After beating the Ravens and Steelers in recent games, this was a letdown they could not well afford. They now are in first place only by the tie breaker with the Steelers. I am not convinced the Bengals can hold on to 1st but at 4-2 for a start, they have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot.

Most of the experts felt that the Cards would lose to the Seahawks. Not so fast. The Cards blew the Hawks out by scoring 24-3 points by the middle of the 3rd quarter. Card QB Warner went 32-41 for 276 and 2 TDs. Hawk QB Hasselbeck was only 10-29. The Cards tied for 1st place with the 49ers in the NFC West. The team will go as far as their running game and D take them. There can be no question about Warner. If the team can protect him at all and give him a chance to throw the ball he will kill any D he plays.

The Falcons won the wild card tie breaker against the Bears with a 21-14 win. The D played very well holding Bear QB Cutler to 27-43 and just 14 points. Cutler has to stop throwing interceptions in the red zone. The Falcons are going to be a tough out in the playoffs for any team if the D can stay healthy.

The Titans are a really bad team. Soon I will publish a plan to get them back to respectability. The problem is that the draft has produce only 1 real star over the last few years. Only RB Chris Johnson has had a major positive impact on the team. The drafting of QB Vince Young put the team in a hole they have yet to clime out from. The team was 13-3 last year and has a good shot to be 3-13 this season. Not the direction you want a team to go. The club got old fast because it has relied too much on free agents and not gotten much out of the draft.

Other notes:

Ownership of the Redskins have taken the play calling away from Coach Zorn. Jim, get a good Realtor because it takes a while to sell a house and you won’t have a job long if your team doesn’t start winning.

Jet NT Kris Jenkins was placed on IR which ends his season. The 3-4 is impossible to run without a quality player at that most critical position on the D.

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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL,Saints,Giants,Vikings,Ravens,Farve,Bears,Bengals,Steelers,Texans,Cardinals,Seahawks,Warner,Hasselbeck,Falcons,Titans,Redskins,Jets,Jenkins,Zorn

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