Yesterday when talking draft, a friend of mine made a pretty good simple statement with regards to Justin Blackmon. It doesn’t really matter what a guy is “worth” on the draft value chart. Either you want him or you don’t. The draft value scale is only there to tell you what you probably have to do to get him. It also speaks to Pat McManamon’s mock draft from yesterday that I found so refreshing. It doesn’t matter what Mel Kiper thinks of Michael Floyd. If Tom Heckert thinks he is the best receiver in the draft and he wants him, he needs to either draft him at four or gamble on not getting the guy he wants in a trade down. Of course, we should have confidence that Heckert will find a way to make it happen as he has frequently traded up a couple slots when he had to in order to get a guy like Phil Taylor.
What is so helpful though is to look at the draft as binary. It’s either a 1 or a 0. You either want him for your team or you don’t. That’s the toughest part about draft speculation for fans. There are probably at least five guys projected to go in the first round that the Browns don’t want at any pick. Regardless of “rank” by experts there have to be guys that the Browns just don’t want on the team.
Much of the Ryan Tannehill talk is like that. Do the Browns even want Ryan Tannehill? They’ve talked at times like they would, but maybe that was to help drive up his price for trade purposes. Then again, if they have decided they want Tannehill on the Browns then they basically have to take him at four because he won’t be there later. That’s just taking what McManamon said about Floyd and applying it to the quarterback position.
Get a franchise quarterback, or stick with the journeyman you have. Drafting another quarterback of Christmas-without-the-playoffs-future won’t break the cycle of one journeyman after another.
The Browns made a play to draft Robert Griffin III because they saw him as a franchise player at quarterback. Missing out on that move doesn’t mean you can fix whatever deficiency the Browns were feeling by getting the next available options.
Last but not least, the one thing that people need to stop saying is “can’t.” I got into this conversation with (in)famous sports radio caller Hiram yesterday on Twitter as he said “You can’t draft a RT at #4!” There is no such thing as can’t. Even things others haven’t done before are fair game in the NFL because if you aren’t leading, then you’re chasing and probably never catching up.
Sure, the Dolphins never won a Superbowl with Ronnie Brown running the wildcat, but they became a far more dangerous team with it. As everyone from Cleveland to Kansas City and Denver chases the Belichick tree by bringing branches like Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Scott Pioli and Josh McDaniels, the only place it has actually retained its revered status is with Bill Belichick in New England.
While this logic may not necessarily apply to the Browns drafting Matt Kalil to be their right tackle should he be available at number four, it is still an important lesson. Championships are rarely won by trying to be the like the Patriots or Packers. Just like Apple Computer didn’t become Apple by trying to make the Palm Pilot better than Palm or trying to out-Amazon Amazon.com. Yet they found themselves one of the most revered companies by somehow ending up in the music and movie industry in a post-IBM hardware world.
In the NFL, you have to take care of business like everyone else, but along the way you also must find ways to innovate to create advantages. Innovation rarely, if ever, includes the word “can’t.”