It is that lovely time of year, when baseball is just starting, and the NFL draft is right around the corner: one of my favorites. Sports on Earth has a new mock draft and… I’m not thrilled.
First, at #4, zero of the three writers have the Browns taking a QB. Okay, fine. Two of them have a QB going #1 overall (Bridgewater and, surprisingly, Bortles) — the other has LB Khalil Mack, to which I respond “Uh, he’s a linebacker. You know that, right?” They all have St. Louis taking a T, Greg Robinson — also understandable. At #3, we have Clowney, Manziel, and Bridgewater. Except for Mack going #1 overall. Do you know the last time an LB was taken #1 overall? Aundray Bruce in 1988, by Atlanta. (Yeah, I never heard of him either. He apparently played for 11 years and played less than four games a year, on average.) No, Mario Williams doesn’t count, even though he’s a linebacker now, because he was a defensive end for years before switching positions.
So, who are the Browns taking? One of the three writers, Mike Tanier, has them taking WR Sammy Watkins. Hurray! If we don’t get a QB, let’s go with another wideout. Love this move, since I don’t think any guards are worth #4. The other two writers?
Jake Matthews. An Offensive Tackle.
Okay, the Browns have the best T in the game right now, Joe Thomas. He’s been healthy and awesome, and is signed for a good while yet. “Ah, but there are two tackle positions!” Quite right. We have a perfectly acceptable RT now, though. Mitchell Schwartz is a B/B+ RT in my estimation. I don’t care if Matthews is an A+. He’s a RT for the Browns, and that’s not worth #4 overall either. (Maybe — MAYBE — Schwartz shifts to a guard position and does extremely well. Still not worth #4.)
If Bridgewater is gone, I honestly don’t want a QB at #4. Manziel’s off the field stuff makes me skittish, and Blake Bortles is too project-y for #4 overall. I like Watkins or Clowney here; maybe even a DB (although I don’t know that there’s a top notch player available for #4). I like trading down even better. But, if I have to pick here, I take Watkins. Almost unquestionably, unless Bridgewater slips.
Okay, that’s #4. What about #26?
Tanier has Cleveland taking a DT, Timmy Jernigan. According to the write up, he’s very versatile, able to play at end or nose tackle. That’s not bad at all. The other two have Cleveland taking a QB, but it’s not who’d I think. (All three have the top four QBs — Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles, and Carr gone at #26.) It’s Jimmy Garoppolo.
Here’s one analysis:
If they don’t pick a quarterback with the fourth pick, they could take one here. The candidates are Garoppolo, Carr and AJ McCarron. Some think this is too high for Garoppolo, but there is no such thing as too high for a quarterback a team has conviction about.
Does Cleveland have conviction about Garoppolo? Maybe? I’ve never heard his name before, thanks in large part to not seeing any college football. Maybe he sucks. Let’s get another opinion!
The Browns’ gamble works out, as they passed on a quarterback with their first pick and get the vastly under-rated Garapollo here. A smart passer with an ultra-quick release, strong arm, good poise within the pocket and deceptive athleticism, he should be their long-term answer.
I love “smart” “quick release” and “strong arm.” I don’t like “deceptive athleticism.” That’s Marvin Cross style speed right there.
So, based on comparatively little information, I give a cautious thumbs up to the pick at #26.
Still don’t want a tackle at #4 though.