Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 4/30/12
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As I get further and further along in my life as an NFL fan and critic, the letter grade thing the day after the draft starts to irk me a little bit. So, instead of just doing letter grades, I tried to put some questions together that are hopefully a little more nuanced. In the end, nobody knows if any of the players from this draft will actually work out. All you can grade on is the effort, strategy and implications immediately thereafter.

Note on comments: We’d like to do something different on this post. Please copy the questions (They’ll be in copy/paste format at the bottom) and give us your take in the same format that we used. Regular comments are allowed, but it’d be nice to have everyone weigh in using the same questions.

1. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) what is your perception of the Browns’ 2012 draft?

Jacob: I’d give it maybe a 5. I was not particularly happy about the value we got throughout in picking Brandon Weeden early, choosing Mitchell Schwartz over other options and then the bonehead move of John Hughes. You can’t get a good draft rating when you botch up three of your first four picks.

Andrew: 6. I think the Browns did OK, they went after the positions they needed and they got a RB that most scouts and draft analysts were going crazy for. But drafting Weeden with so many quality OL and WRs on the board plus dropping down 20 spots to draft a guy who it’s questionable would have been drafted at all is definitely an eye raising move.

Kirk: 7

DP: I’d give it a 6.5. I feel like they tried to address some specific needs (RB, QB, RT, WR), but they seemed to reach a great many times to do so.

Scott: A solid 8. On a macro level, it filled needs, plain and simple. The only detractor was taking a reserve with the third-round selection when a starter likely could have been had. The micro level will be determined at some point in the future when we see how these players stack up.

Rick: Based on my limited assessment of the picks? I’d say a 7. Mostly because I really love the Richardson pick.

TD: 6 – I LOVE what they did with Richardson and can certainly get behind Weeden and Schwartz. But passing wide receivers until the fourth round while drafting a serious project D-Lineman in the third round is very Mangini/Butch Davis-esque.

Craig: 8. I don’t think everything went as well as it could have in the sense that other teams got in the Browns way. Still, seemed like the Browns seemingly upgraded with nearly every pick.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how well do you think the Browns addressed their needs in the draft?

Jacob: In terms of addressing needs, I think the Browns did a decent job and so I’d give them an 8. They certainly went after the players they thought could do well to fill the holes at QB, RB, OT, WR, CB and OLB. I’ll have to give the front office the benefit of the doubt for now, as I don’t like these players that much, but time will tell.

Andrew: 7. Maybe even 8. They got their RB, they added a strong armed QB, and they got their RT. On paper they went after their needs and added some players who should help improve the offense immediately. The only thing they might have waited too long to address, in my opinion, was WR.

Kirk: 8, addressing every major need but that of a number one wide receiver

DP: I’d say a 7 in theory. They may have addressed three of the four biggest offensive needs, though the hole at WR is still pretty glaring.

Scott: Another 8. A starting quality receiver would have been the only body which they did not select. Every other need was upgraded, including D-line depth.

Rick: Here’s the deal, they got players in the positions we need. The question obviously is how well those players will contribute. I’m going to say they filled holes fairly well. We had a lot of needs. I’ll go as high as 8, and only because the biggest hole was at WR and they waited a while to fill it.

TD: 6 – again, they didn’t address perhaps the biggest hole on the team, WR, until the 4th round, and then took essentially a speed/slot guy.

Craig: 7. I while I think the Browns upgraded at most spots, I think they missed on a chance to add a potential starting CB or WR.

3. On a scale of 1 to 10 how well do you think Heckert and the Browns did in the draft strategically? (10 being perfect execution making moves and using picks efficiently and decisively)

Jacob: About a 6. The Browns entered the draft with 13 picks and left with 11. The only moves were to nab Trent Richardson and then to move back in the third round with the Broncos. I think the team should have been a bit more creative in packaging mid-round picks to get other guys of value.

Andrew:  7. I have more of an issue with some of the “who they took” questions than I do with how they moved up and down the draft board. I’m fine with the trade up for Richardson and I’m fine with what they gave up.

Kirk: 4, I don’t believe Weeden should’ve been the pick at 22. I know there was talk of someone moving up and interfering with selecting him at 37, but I would’ve taken that chance. The trade back from 67 to 87 was baffling, especially when the pick was John Hughes at 87. I DO NOT think this was a wise pick. Yea, yea, get your guy if you’re worried someone was going to get him, but I highly doubt someone was going to take him before the 5th round, and if they did “WHO CARES?” He appears to be nothing special as far as backup DTs go.

DP:  I’d give this a 3. I think they had specific players they wanted, and overspent in many cases to get those guys.

Scott: This is where I’ll give them a 7; knowing how things unfolded, I likely would have went wide receiver at 37 and taken the best O-Line available at 67. I like Mitchell Schwartz, but only time will tell if this was a gamble that pays off.

Rick: I’m going to give them a 5 here. I don’t mind the trade from 4 to 3. I’m going to assume someone was willing to make some kind of deal with Minnesota. The one I’m not loving was the move down in the third round and the subsequent pick of a player MOST everyone said would have been there rounds later.

TD: 5 – if the reports are true that they wanted Kendall Wright at #22 and didn’t get him, then I believe they panicked into taking Weeden at 22 when I believe they could have traded back up to the late 1st, early second to get him. Should I mention again how they neglected WRs?

Craig: 5. I get the sense that while Heckert and the Browns were satisfied with the haul of picks they felt like they were running uphill all weekend in terms of deal-making and luck. This isn’t to say the Browns failed in their strategy, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out for you. I think the Browns had good intentions like trading up in spots and just couldn’t make it happen.

4. Are you satisfied with what the Browns had to do to get Trent Richardson at #3?

Jacob: Yeah, this doesn’t bother me in the least. I think the offer to the Vikings was fair and adequate to ensure the Browns got the guy they wanted. I’d do this 10 times out of 10 — now Richardson just has to prove his worth.

Andrew:  Had they not moved up, and Tampa Bay trades up to #3 and takes Richardson, I think the backlash would have even more intense. But beyond what fans think of it, it’s clear Trent Richardson is the player the Browns wanted, and they went out and got him. Those 4th, 5th, and 7th round picks would have been nice to try to use to get an extra 2nd round pick, but you can only trade with those who will trade for you. There’s no guarantee anyone would have let the Browns back into the 2nd round for an acceptable price. They had the offer from Minnesota on the table, and they took it and they made sure they got the one player they most coveted. Perfectly ok with that.

Kirk: Yes, I can definitely live with this. I would’ve been okay with Claiborne at 4, but I did want TRich. I would’ve been less pleased if we gave up a 3rd instead of our lower 4th rounder.

DP: Yes and no. On paper, it seems like a lot. But, while it’s easy to say, “The Vikings didn’t want him! We could have gotten him at 4!” who knows what other teams might have been willing to pay to move up. At the end of the day, it was a hearty price in terms of picks, but it gave the team all the security they needed to get their guy without moving any “impact” picks.

Scott: Very. As I documented last week, this was aggression which we hadn’t seen from this front office. They had a target and they got their guy; the picks it took mean nothing to me.

Rick: As I said earlier, I’m fine that they had to move up.

TD: VERY – I wanted him from the beginning as he is the only guy we could have taken at #3 that would make us instantly better in a position that is so important.

Craig: I’m alright with it, but I think it definitely set the Browns back in trying to make additional deals throughout the weekend. Still, the Browns are better off for guaranteeing they got Trent Richardson. There is nobody in the draft with more potential impact to the AFC North this weekend than that guy at that pick.

5. Assuming he’s 100% healthy, how many games do you think Brandon Weeden will start in his rookie year?

Jacob: I’d estimate 10. I honestly think Colt McCoy will be the initial starter out of training camp, but it should only be about a month or so until Weeden comes charging in to take the job. Or at least he better, considering first-round draft QBs — especially 28-year-old ones — don’t sit on the bench as much as they used to.

Andrew: 16. You don’t draft a 28 year old QB in the first round to have him not be your Week 1 starter. If he can’t beat Colt McCoy out for the starting job in training camp, then that pick was a disaster.

Kirk: 16, the clock is ticking.

DP: If he’s healthy, I’ll say 16. He’s clearly H&H’s guy, considering where they drafted him and the immediate “will Colt get traded?” rumors.

Scott: If he stays 100 percent healthy, all 16. I see no reason why the team would go a different direction at this point — Holmgren’s wagon is firmly hitched to the ginger.

Rick: Assuming he STAYS healthy, I would think he’s the starting QB all season.

TD: 13 – I’d say 16, but these QBs always get hurt.

Craig: 0. I am not the biggest Colt McCoy advocate, but I think we’re all discounting how difficult it is to grasp a new offense. If there is open competition I think Colt McCoy’s experiences last year will let him win the job. We might never know depending on what they do with McCoy.

6. What is your favorite draft pick other than Trent Richardson?

Jacob: I liked the Travis Benjamin selection a lot in the fourth round. His speed is undoubted, and he should be an excellent addition to the special teams unit. I worry about Pat Shurmur finding a creative way to include him in the offense, but I think he’s a guy that should be able to contribute offensively every game.

Andrew:  Mitchell Schwartz. I don’t like where the Browns picked him in the draft, thought it was slightly high for him, but I think he has an excellent chance to solidify the RT position, something this franchise has sorely needed for a very long time.

Kirk: A tie between Mitchell Schwartz (thought he may have been one round too early) and James-Michael Johnson.

DP: I don’t have one, honestly. But, if pressed, I’d say Ryan Miller. Huge specimen of a human that could be a decent late-round value if he can provide some depth/versatility as he develops.

Scott: A tie between James-Michael Johnson and Brad Smelley. Seriously.

Rick: Schwartz. Why? Because he isn’t St. Clair. (Please don’t let him be St. Clair.)

TD: Acho – the kid from Texas. Very underrated selection and he will be a player on Special Teams right away.

Craig: Probably Schwartz, but I’ll also add Travis Benjamin. I’ve pointed out multiple times that this is Josh Cribbs’ last year under contract. It might be time to pass the torch in the return game and I also think Benjamin could find himself in some four receiver sets this season if we’re all lucky.

7. What is your least favorite draft pick?

Jacob: Will anyone say anything but John Hughes? This was awful in all regards, and he could have been available in the seventh round or even as an undrafted free agent. There were so many other options available that this just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Andrew: John Hughes. I just don’t get it.

Kirk: Hughes, hands down.

DP: John Hughes. Not really a position of need at this time, and a clear reach where he was drafted. A total head-scratcher to me.

Scott: John Hughes is the obvious choice here. I’ll also throw a question mark at Trevin Wade.

Rick: Hmmm. Hughes is the easy call. And probably the right one. I’m also kind of scratching my head on the Winn pick. Not that I’m opposed to taking defensive tackles, but Winn is being called a tween-er, meaning not really a straight DE or DT. In my mind that sounds like not very productive in either spot.

TD: John Hughes – you know its a reach when Hughes himself didn’t have any family or friends over Friday because he didn’t think there was anyway he’d be picked until Saturday.

Craig: I’ll say John Hughes, but not because of him. I’m still a bit upset that the Browns traded down there. Seemed at odds with the needs of the team to trade down in the third round this year.

8. If you could have solved one more need that the Browns missed, which one would it be?

Jacob: A higher-round cornerback? I think the Browns effectively filled holes, but I didn’t like their value or the guys they got to fill those holes. Trevin Wade had a nice senior year at Arizona, but I don’t think he can be relied upon to compete immediately for a starting job, which is why the Browns seemed to be so interested in Mo Claiborne.

Andrew: WR, WR, WR, WR, WR. There’s some hope looking through optimistic lenses that Brandon Weeden will make the Browns’ receivers better. That’s possible, but still, WR was such an enormous, glaring hole for this team and to only address it with 1 draft pick, a small speedster with questionable hands, was a huge mis-step in my opinion.

Kirk: Big-play wide receiver. I would’ve liked Stephen Hill in the second round or Mohammed Sanu a little later.

DP: WR is still a hole. Benjamin might bring some speed to the position, but he’s probably not a guy you expect to have much impact. That cupboard is still pretty bare.

Scott: I would’ve jumped ahead of the Giants to draft Reuben Randle at the end of the second round. That one stung.

Rick: WR. Don’t think we addressed it adequately. Second would be DB.

TD: A top tier WR

Craig: I’ll say CB. If the Browns had added a starter, they might have finally been able to push Sheldon Brown to safety and upgraded the secondary almost immeasurably.

9. Which draft pick do you think is the most likely 5th round and on to ever contribute to the Browns?

Jacob: Billy Winn was a great pick-up for the Brownies. He was projected to be a 4th rounder entering the draft and previously was slotted to be a 2nd rounder before his stock slid over the past few weeks. He never quite put up that impressive of consistent numbers at Boise State, but he should be able to slide into the D-line at multiple positions and pick up a few big plays every game.

Andrew:  Trevin Wade. I loved this pick and I this guy could be a legit starting CB in the NFL. We know the guy has the natural talent. Just look at his sophomore season and read some of the things written about him at that point in time. His consistency and effort dropped off big time, and the question is why. If the Browns figure that out and coach him back up to the guy he once was, they have a really good CB on their hands.

Kirk: Emmanuel Acho and Billy Winn both.

DP: Miller, see above.

Scott: Billy Winn

Rick: I like what I’m reading about Ryan Miller the OL. I believe the ‘weaknesses’ in his game are completely fixable. He has the physical tools, just needs to put everything together. I think he could be a good depth player.

TD: Acho

Craig: Billy Winn. There’s just something about this pick that seems weird, but in the Browns favor.

10. Is there a veteran player from the team that you would now cut because of the draft results?

Jacob: Seneca Wallace, one O-lineman and one wide receiver have to be on their way out. I’m not certain which ones just yet as I never know who will step up year in and year out from those latter two positions. But Mitchell Schwartz and Travis Benjamin are two guys that are going to have to get regular playing time this season and should replace some pesky veterans.

Andrew: Nope.

Kirk: Let’s go with Oniel Cousins and Seneca Wallace for now, though there’ll be more,

DP: Tony Pashos who is already gone, but glad they replaced him.

Scott: He’s not a veteran, but I’m very tempted to give Owen Marecic’s gig to Brad Smelley. The other option is cutting bait with Scott Fujita — fun while it lasted, but he’s easily the weak link of the linebackers.

Rick: J.B Shugarts. Oh, you said veteran. I wish I could say MoMass, but I don’t think they addressed the position enough. Seneca Wallace.

TD: Seneca Wallace – get him out of here. He openely campaigned for Colt McCoy’s job last year and refused to mentor him. You want that around Weeden?

Craig: Seneca Wallace. I don’t see a reason to pay him. Colt McCoy should stay and be backup if that’s his role. He will be good at it.

11. Given what we’ve seen from Tom Heckert, how comfortable do you feel going forward with him as general manager?

Jacob: Ask me this in another six months. It’s still way too early, and I’m feeling rather pessimistic after those head-scratching first two days of the draft. The Browns need to show drastic improvement this season — especially on offense after these big investments — and anything less than 7 wins will be a disappointment in the eyes of the fans.

Andrew:  I feel ok. A couple things are clear about Heckert. He is always going to drive us nuts on draft night. He doesn’t care one bit about anyone else’s projections and whether he is taking someone too high in a draft. Instead, he finds the players he loves, and he makes sure the Browns go get them. It’s irritating on draft night when it appears the Browns are reaching, but if we’re honest, his drafts have turned out pretty well and made a lot of our anger look foolish. Here’s to hoping he does the same with this year’s draft class.

Kirk: His destiny is now forever tied to the choice to draft Brandon Weeden. The Browns could recover from him busting, but it’ll set them back another year or two on a team that is already at least two seasons away from playoff contention. Overall, I love his ability to add more playmakers on D than we’ve ever had, but some of his moves are head-scratching at best (almost completely ignoring the wide receiver position for two straight years, for instance).

DP: About 50/50. He has seemed to bring in some talent at the tops of his drafts (Haden, Ward, Taylor, Sheard, et al) but he makes several picks that leave me scratching my head at times. In terms of free agents, I give him an “incomplete” because, well, we really haven’t seen him go out and work the FA market with real intent.

Scott: Drafting, I couldn’t be more comfortable. The allergies to free agency will continue to bug me.

Rick: I am more comfortable with him drafting players than any GM we’ve had since the team returned.

TD: Still very strong. The guy has a proven track record of drafting well is building the team the right way, through the draft.

Craig: Still very good. I don’t think Heckert had all the cards fall his way this weekend, but he still worked creatively and smartly in bolstering the lines. He seemed to have a lock-tight plan, but didn’t get flustered when he had to improvise. I sensed he was a bit frustrated, but I still think the Browns did well overall. That’s hopefully the sign of a good GM.

—————————–

Here is the poll. Copy (control-c) and paste them (control-v) into the comment box below and answer them. You can number them 1-11 if you absolutely have to, but it is much easier for everyone to read if you copy and paste the questions themselves so nobody has to scroll around to remember.

1. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) what is your perception of the Browns’ 2012 draft?

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how well do you think the Browns addressed their needs in the draft?

3. On a scale of 1 to 10 how well do you think Heckert and the Browns did in the draft strategically? (10 being perfect execution making moves and using picks efficiently and decisively)

4. Are you satisfied with what the Browns had to do to get Trent Richardson at #3?

5. Assuming he’s 100% healthy, how many games do you think Brandon Weeden will start in his rookie year?

6. What is your favorite draft pick other than Trent Richardson?

7. What is your least favorite draft pick?

8. If you could have solved one more need that the Browns missed, which one would it be?

9. Which draft pick do you think is the most likely 5th round and on to ever contribute to the Browns?

10. Is there a veteran player from the team that you would now cut because of the draft results?

11. Given what we’ve seen from Tom Heckert, how comfortable do you feel going forward with him as general manager?

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