Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 4/20/12

If you’re a Cleveland Browns fan, the best time of the year is the offseason. At least then, the Browns are not losing games. The hope and promise of a better tomorrow is just around the corner. Ever since 1999 when the Browns made the return back to the NFL, there have only been two winning seasons 9-7 in 2002 and 10-6 in 2007and one playoff berth in 2002.

Mike Holmgrem and Tom Heckert, better known as H&H have made a few things clear about the how they will build the team, and that is through the draft.  No big time free agents have come in under their tenure. No success has come under their tenure either. 

 Everyone gets a pass for last year in my book. There was a new Head Coach in Pat Shurmur, a first time head coach that decided he would be the offensive coordinator and the head coach, that worked out miserably. The QB was a second year player that received very little playing time his rookie year, although he did beat some pretty good teams along the way. The fact that he did not get any real chances at reps in practice is a testament in itself.  There is a great story by Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer titled “Once ignored by Brian Daboll, Colt McCoy shows he’s able”…that explains that whole dynamic. With no offseason to prepare for the new West Coast Offense, no truly reliable weapons in the passing game, Peyton Hillis fighting for contracts and being a, cough distraction, The Cleveland Browns offense deserves another chance. Have an opportunity to have the playbook over the offseason and learn it in detail. Have a full summer of rookie minicamps and OTA’s. Give this group a chance and let’s see what we have. 

With the NFL Draft coming on Thursday April 26, 2012 and ending on Saturday April 28, 2012, its time to dive right on in and start breaking down what the Cleveland Browns have and who they need to draft this year.   We have two first round draft picks and a high second and third rounder. That is enough to really put some quality players in place for the Browns.  Yes everyone deserves a second chance, but anyone who knows football knows that the Browns have plenty of holes to fill on offense. So Let’s Go.

Position needs based on Draft positions: RB, WR, OL, QB

Running back and Fullback

RB: Montario Hardesty, Brandon Jackson, Chris Ogbonnaya

FB: Owen Marecic

Quoting Jamison Hensley of ESPN.COM AFC NORTH BLOG

“The impact of the running game, especially in the AFC North, shouldn’t be overlooked. In the past two seasons, the Ravens are 15-2 when Ray Rice carries the ball at least 20 times. The Bengals are 11-1 in games when Cedric Benson has received 25 or more rushing attempts.”

Pittsburgh either fired their offensive coordinator or he quit. Either way they are changing the basis of the offense back to the ground game they are known for.  Why would Cleveland even hesitate to take Trent Richardson? You Don’t? You take him plain and simple. We passed on Adrian Peterson he clowned us, mushing Eric Wright to the side while he ran for a 64 yard touchdown; He finished with 180 yards and three touchdowns. He even mentioned it to a NFL camera crew on the sidelines that “we passed on him”. Cleveland cannot afford to make that mistake again.

Since the Browns have returned to football in 1999 there has not been a franchise RB. The hunt has been for a QB, this is Cleveland. Jim Brown, Marion Motley, Leroy Kelly. It’s time to take Trent Richardson its time.

Letting go of Peyton Hillis may have been a sign of things to come. Montario can’t stay healthy and Brandon is just a third down back. Chris had some flashes but should be a complement not a star. These guys do not put fear into the hearts of anyone. We play in the black and blue division of football and the only way to gain respect is running the ball.

Hands Down, You take Trent yesterday, today and tomorrow. This kid has it all…he plays hard, he is fast and strong….This is the guy…its over said and done with…#4 pick let’s get it done. He is better than RGIII and you almost gave up the entire draft for him. Trent is there for the taking. L-E-T-S G-O. Let’s Go, Let’s Go, L-E-T-S G-O.  LET’S GO!!!!

Owen Marecic played at Stanford in a very similar offense. Yes he struggle big time with the team and looked bad but this kid is smart and is a former two way starter in college. I am guessing he will figure it all out and be the guy we thought we were drafting last year.

RB’s to consider drafting: Trent Richardson BAMA, Chris Rainey FLA

Why Trent? He is the best player in the Draft. The best RB since Adrian Peterson and having a top flight RB in Cleveland’s Backfield only seems right.

Why Chris? He can do a little of everything, KR, PR, RB, WR and he is fast.

Wide Receiver and Tight End

WR: Greg Little, Jordan Norwood, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs. Carlton Mitchell,

TE: Ben Watson, Alex Smith, Evan Moore, Jordan Cameron, Dan Gronkowski

We could get by with what we have at the Tight End position. Watson gives us leadership and Alex Smith proved to be a good blocker at the position. I would love to see Evan Moore included in the offense more, as we hoped he would the year before. It is on the coaches to learn how to use the 6’6 250lb frame to create mismatches. Remember the quick slant for a TD on Derrelle Revis.  Let’s hope Jordan Cameron develops the way Browns front office planned on. Could he be the next Antonio Gates, or Jimmy Graham?

Greg Little surprised many by collecting 61 receptions for 709 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. The surprising thing was the production. Greg lost the 2010 season because of improper benefits from an agent and did not play for an entire year. That along with no rookie minicamps, no OTA’s and being thrown into the #1 role. He was given more than he should have, and still finished his plate. Greg did lead the league in drops but considering the time off and lack of offseason preparation you can pretty much chalk that up to just needing to be coached up.  Greg has exceptional run after the catch abilities, attributing to his high school days as a running back and being 6’3 220 helps.

Josh Cribs is a playmaker; the coaches just have to learn how to utilize him properly. He would be ideal in the slot where his run after the catch abilities would be a huge asset. As far as the other receivers, there is not much there. Massaguoi has potential but has not been healthy enough to see what he can do. In my opinion he may be a good receiver who comes in and subs for every position, while lining up as the fourth receiver when go to 4 war sets.

WR to consider drafting: Mohammed Sanu Rutgers, Ryan Broyles Oklahoma, Greg Childs Arkansas

Why Sanu? Physical Receiver, a playmaker that goes across middle and knows how to make plays in the open field. Very similar to Greg Little, big guys that know how to move in space and will bully smaller DB’s. He had 115 passes and 1206 passes for 7 TD’s so Sanu is use to high production. Played for Greg Schiano at Rutgers and they put out some really tough players. I love this pick and would make him the first pick in the second round.

Why Broyles? Production. Football players are football players. No matter his size or the injury this guy can play and he is extremely strong for his size. He could be a great slot receiver, because of his hand, toughness and quickness.

Why Childs? Because I believe he would have been a second round talent had it not been for his torn ACL. It never had any real time to heal in college and he is just coming around to being 100%. He is another big receiver that can make plays. He has great hands and plays the complete game of football which includes blocking. Not the elite speed but his size makes up the difference.

As you can see I love Big Wide Receivers that can play the game. Sanu and Childs along with Greg Little and Josh Cribbs would make a huge WR core. Colt would have no problem finding these receivers with large wing spans to pluck the ball out of the air. Blocking on the perimeter would be a joy to watch because all of these guys put as much heart into blocking as they do receiving.  Norwood and Broyles could tear it up in the gaps left by our huge receivers and tight ends. Once the Combine is over no one will care about speed, but they will care about production.

The names I am hearing are Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright, Stephen Hill and Reuben Randle. Justin is not as good as Trent so there goes that pick. Kendall Wright is too small to have 15% body fat. He does not catch a clean football either. Stephen Hill and Reuben Randle have no production. My guys are 2nd to 4th round guys, maybe 3rd for Broyles and Childs if someone sees what I see.

Quarterback

Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace

This is the most important position in today’s NFL. In 2011 Quarterbacks were setting records left and right. A 3,000 yard season which was once a standard for quality in the NFL was shattered this year with 10 QB’s passing for over 4000 yards including Rookie Cam Newton.

Since the return of The Cleveland Browns in 1999 this is the list of QB’s who have been given the title of opening day starter. Ty Detmer, Tim Couch, Kelly Holcombe, Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme and know Colt McCoy …everyone it seems has had a chance. The strong armed guy, the smart guy, the local guys, it has not worked. No QB has had one year of 16 games without a Controversy.

It has been well documented that Colt McCoy was never given a fair chance as a rookie QB, that along with the NFL strike this will be Colt McCoy’s first real chance at an NFL offseason. A chance that he deserves. A chance that everyone else on that list was given. The things that Colt brings to the table are the ability to not turn the ball over, managing the game.  In 13 games last year Colt only threw 11 interceptions. He only threw two in one game and that was when he played Pittsburgh and was knocked out with a concussion. Colt is a great game manager and knows how to take care of the football. He scrambles well and can create second chances or run and pick up the first down. Colt does not have the elite arm, but neither did a Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, or Joe Montana to name a few Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. Drew Brees is the latest example that shows you can develop arm strength as you get older and your body matures.

When it comes to the Browns and team needs the answer is everywhere. So why would anyone in their right mind take another QB with the first four picks of the draft. No way. Don’t do it. This is a fact. Even if Colt McCoy is only a backup. We have to put people in the right places so we can become a solid overall football team. Not looking for a franchise QB to come in and save the day.

Quarterbacks to consider in the draft: Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins

Why Brock? He is tall, has a big arm, and can move a little. You develop that

Why Russell? He is short and that is his main problem, but he is a player. Multi-sport star took Wisconsin to Big Ten Championship in one year on campus. He is a player

Why Kirk? Smart guy that can manage the game. He has a good arm on deep outs, and he can develop in the west coast just needs coaching up. Safe pick as a backup that could develop to a starter in the short term. Has the most upside of any of the other two I named above.

Offensive Lineman

Joe Thomas, Jason Pinkston, Alex Mack, Shaun Lauvao

The Browns O-Line is not horrible considering we had a rookie LG Jason Pinkston and a second year RG Shawn Lauvao.   Joe Thomas is one of the best LT in the game and Alex Mack is a very good player. Jason Pinkston could develop into a solid LG but would be better suited as a RG and fighting Shawn for playing time.  

We need a RT and possible a starting LG to develop some depth on the O-Line. If Steinbach comes back to the team after being cut and returns healthy, that will help us out a lot. If not, it won’t be a step back because Eric did not play the year before anyway. Joe Thomas is a perennial Pro Bowler at LT; Mack is a really good young Center. Between Pinkston and Lauvao one could be replaced but they are developing. Having them both start 16 games last year only makes is a plus. The overall depth across the offensive line is a concern as well. The Browns need to take a RT in the first few rounds of the draft, and in the later rounds can draft other O-Linemen to help with depth.

Offensive Lineman to consider in the draft: Senio Kelemete

Why Senio?  I coached this kid when he was a freshman starting Left Tackle on a Varsity team that made the playoffs in high school. This kid is a good, comes from a solid family and plays with a controlled mean streak. He was recruited to be a DT and started at UW as a freshman until switched over to LT. Better suited as a Guard, but could develop into a RT in a few years with NFL experience.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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