I’m not sure what to think of Tom Heckert as a drafter. He seems to get fixated on certain guys and takes them whenever he can get them, which means that he’ll get slammed a lot for reaches. That strategy can work great in Madden if you’ve scouted somebody nobody else has, but a couple of his picks are head scratchers. Coverage of the first round is here.
Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Cal — This is one of those weird reaches. He’s played right tackle before (which is where he’ll play with the Browns), but he doesn’t seem to have the raw talent of Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin, two guys taken after him. He’s supposed to be NFL-ready now, and he’ll get the job at RT. It’s not a terrible move, but why not take players with more talent if they’re available?
John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati – If the second round pick was out of left field, this one comes from Mars. Absolutely NOBODY else had this guy on their boards. At all. He’s strictly a rotational guy, and the scouting report from NFL.com says things like “lazy” and “poor effort.” He’s a decent run stopper. That’s about it.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami — Everybody insisted the Browns needed speed at wideout — Benjamin was the fastest player at the combine (4.36 40 yard dash). He’s tiny (5’10″, 172 lbs) and apparently gets miffed easily by press coverage. Has some return ability, which is always nice.
James-Michael Jones, ILB, Nevada — A great run stopping linebacker, with good fundamentals and a great tackler. Not a ball-hawk, but he could be a starter someday. He played inside and outside, and there’s always the
certainty chance that D’Qwell Jackson gets hurt.
Ryan Miller, OG, Colorado – He’s huge. 6’7″, 321 lbs. A very solid guard that some teams apparently wanted to move out to tackle since he’s, you know, huge. Might have some technique concerns, but he’s a fifth round pick, will probably just be a backup and maybe be the guy that gets stuff down from the top shelf.
Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas – A very good pass rusher, but has a lot of difficulties in things like pass coverage. Probably a purely situational guy, but the Browns aren’t overflowing with pass rushers.
Billy Winn, DT, Boise State – Extremely talented player with character concerns. A little small for a DT (under 300 lbs), but tall (6’4″). Technique concerns and lack of effort caused him to slide.
Trevin Wade, DB, Arizona – See Winn above, only he’s a DB and a much bigger jerk. Did very well his sophomore season, stunk the junior year, and was okay his senior year. If he can control his attitude, he could be a very good one.
Brad Smelley, TE, Alabama — Heh heh heh heh. His name is Smelley. Other than that, I know bupkis. He’s apparently a reasonably decent #2 guy.
That’s the entirety of the Browns’ draft. A lot of places give the Browns a “B” grade; I’m okay with that, sort of. They “filled” most of our needs, in that they got warm bodies who wear the right uniform number. Hughes still baffles me, and I like the idea of an uber-fast wideout, but we really needed somebody with more overall ability. Schwartz is an example of drafting for need over best player available; I like the idea and the player, just not where we took him. A couple of character guys here too. Overall, the Browns got three Day-1 starters (assuming Weeden gets the job on day one), good depth at defensive tackle and linebacker, and a freakin’ huge guard. The only skill player I’m unreservedly excited about is Trent Richardson. The only player I’m unreservedly angry about is Hughes. (Fun fact: he was second to last among all DTs who were graded! And we took him in the third round!)
I think it’s clear Weeden will make or break this draft for a lot of people, and I’m one of them. I think Tom Brady would have had a losing record with last years’ supporting cast, with only one legitimate NFL wide receiver in Greg Little and a running game that makes grown men cry (in the bad way). Richardson should fix the latter, and our offensive line is better. Maybe Weeden is Kurt Warner 2.0; maybe he’s Chris Wenke. He has talent, unlike Wenke, but he never bagged groceries (that I know of), so obviously I can’t tell if he’s the next Warner.
I’m going to give the Browns entire draft, at the moment, a C++. If The Walrus gets over his bromance with Seneca Wallace, who’s apparently a dick and refused to help Colt transition last year (unless he was honest and told Colt, “Dude, I have no idea what I’m doing either. Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe better!), I’ll feel better about the season.