July 23, 2014

Several draft day trade scenarios popping up for the Cleveland Browns

Farmer

Sure, the Cleveland Browns have the fourth-overall pick in 2014 NFL Draft, but would it surprise anyone if that orange helmet disappears from the corner of the television without a pick having been made? While fans of the Orange and Brown debate the merits of playmakers versus offensive linemen, there’s a considerable chance that the fourth pick is made by a team other than the Browns as national pundits throughout the league peg Cleveland as a likely trade partner for teams looking to move up.

Take Sports Illustrated’s Peter King for example. In his MMQB mock draft, King delivers a few surprises (Khalil Mack at No. 1, for example) in addition to Cleveland moving down from No. 4 to No. 6 in a deal with the Atlanta Falcons who land South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney. The Browns, in turn, land Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, a compliment to Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon and another target for whomever is under center on Week 11, in addition to having seven of the draft’s top 110 picks. What fans may not love, however, is that the Browns appear to have only gained a third-round pick for the move.

In a scenario-based column from Grantland’s Bill Barnwell, the Browns traded with Mike Pettine’s former team, the Buffalo Bills, as he was officially able to sell his peers on Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. In Barnwell’s scenario, the Browns net a future first-round pick in addition to the 2014 pick they obtain in the deal, and move down to the No. 9 pick.

As previously noted, Cleveland already has the most valuable set of picks in this year’s draft, but the opportunity to move up and draft Watkins could inspire somebody to make an offer the Browns can’t refuse. The Bills reportedly have the hots for Watkins; if Buffalo offered Cleveland its 2015 first-round pick to move up from nine to four, I think the Browns would bite.

Pouring on, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says that the Bills and Detroit Lions have been pounding the phones in hopes of moving into the top five with Watkins  and North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron as their targets.2

Many fans (rightfully) despise moving down—the team is terrible enough to garner the fourth-best player in the draft, after all. The 2014 NFL Draft, however, appears to be one of the more undecipherable in recent memory. While there is a top tier of sorts, the first eight-to-twelve players could go in any order and few would bat an eye. If this is the case, and the Browns could muster another first-round pick for their efforts, would fans react negatively? More importantly, would Ray Farmer be willing to pull the strings on a deal in his first rodeo?

If trading down isn’t your thing, but trading up is, you’ll be glad to know that King also reports that the Browns are looking to acquire a third first-round pick in hopes of leapfrogging Houston to start Round 2. And if it’s any silver lining, both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have Cleveland selecting Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel with the fourth-overall pick. Something for everyone!

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Footnotes:

  1. In King’s mock, Blake Bortles falls to Cleveland at No. 26—”As I made my calls in the past few days, I couldn’t find a Bortles lover.” []
  2. Rapoport also adds that “Cleveland scouts “like” Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, and the team could use the No. 26 selection on him,” so there’s that. []

Browns to inteview Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter

072912 falcons CC16He may not be a 35-year-old on the upstart of his career, but the Cleveland Browns have reportedly secured an interview with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. The two sides, per Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, will discuss the Browns’ current head-coaching vacancy.

The 55-year-old Koetter was the head coach at Boise State from 1998-2000 before coaching the Arizona State Sun Devils from 2001-2006. After having the eighth-best offense in 2012—fueled by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez—an injury-plagued season coupled with a swiss cheese offensive line saw the Falcons slip to No. 14. In what was perhaps his biggest statistical claim to fame, Koetter spearheadded a Jacksonville Jaguars offense that was seventh-best in the NFL in 2007.

Koetter will have his work cut out for him if he plans on getting the Browns gig as it appears that the team has their eyes on a pair of bald defensive-minded bros in Seattle’s Dan Quinn and Buffalo’s Mike Pettine.

(Photo via Curtis Compton/AJC)

NFL Report: Falcons’ Koetter takes name out of coaching pool, signs extension

Dirk Koetter has decided to stay with the Atlanta Falcons, at least through next season.

The OC was on many lists for head coaching interviews, including the Browns reportedly. From Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez-

“Atlanta finished the season with a franchise-record average of 281.8 passing yards a game as the Falcons went 13-3 to secure the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. Koetter made the decision after meeting Tuesday with Kansas City Chiefs management about the chance to replace the fired Romeo Crennel. The Chiefs also interviewed special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, a source told FOXSports.com.

Armstrong met Tuesday night with Chicago about their head-coaching vacancy as well, a source told FOXSports.com. As first reported Monday by FOXSports.com, Koetter also was set to interview with Philadelphia and Cleveland. Koetter, 53, interviewed with the Denver Broncos last January before they hired John Fox.”

[Related: Kelly is Browns' clear #1 choice]

NFL Draft: Mayock says Browns should do “whatever it takes” to get RG3

During a teleconference yesterday with the media, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock weighed in on the Browns’ draft and the quarterback position.

“As much as I like Colt McCoy, I still think they have to look to upgrade that position and I think they have to do whatever it takes to get there,” said Mayock of grabbing Griffin. “If it’s me, yeah, I’m looking at that real hard. I want to go get RG3.”

The Browns, specifically Randy Lerner, have spent a lot of time talking about the importance of the quarterback position since the final whistle sounded on this past season.  It would seem likely that the Browns would go to extra lengths to find their quarterback considering all that noise.

What remains to be seen is whether the Browns will trade up in the draft or pony up in free agency on someone like Matt Flynn.  Obviously if it is up to Mayock the Browns will do whatever it takes on draft day including paying the high price of packaging both picks together.

It seems easy for draft experts to say that the Browns should just package their two picks, but Browns fans know the price.  Browns fans spent the entire year dreaming of having two picks after mortgaging a year trading down with Atlanta for the right.

All these factors just add to the pressure of a typical NFL off-season.

[Related: Quotes Randy Lerner on WTAM with Mike Trivisonno]

NFL Free Agency Rumors: Falcons, Browns, Ray Edwards and Osi Umenyiora?

According to too many people to count on Twitter last night from Cleveland reporters Tony Grossi and Mary Kay Cabot, to Adam Schefter and the national guys, the Browns and Falcons were bidding for the services of former Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards.  Some even referred to it as a “bidding war.”  Who knows if that was just a measure used to try and hype up the news.  Regardless, it is difficult to figure exactly how a high profile signing of one of the best defensive players available in free agency fits into Tom Heckert’s supposed “philosophy” to not go too big in free agency.

In a way, it could be in the Browns’ best interest to keep a player like Ray Edwards away from Atlanta.  He is just one player on an entire team, but he has the potential to be pretty dominant.  The Browns, of course, are hoping the Falcons have a pretty bad season to help improve the draft status of the picks they traded for when they gift-wrapped Julio Jones for the Falcons during this year’s draft. [Read more...]

Browns Active in First Round, Get Their Guy Phil Taylor

You may not have known who Phil Taylor was, but the Cleveland Browns decidedly did.  After making a five for one swap with the Falcons for the Browns’ sixth pick, the Browns spent their third rounder to move up a few spots to get Phil Taylor.  That says a lot.  Instead of waiting for things to fall into place and just taking a chance that there was someone left that Tom Heckert and company wanted, they proactively got to a spot and grabbed a specific guy.  As I said at the beginning, whether or not you know who Phil Taylor is, you always have to feel good about the confidence of moving up to get a guy.  Well, unless you are spending a second rounder to move up one spot to take Kellen Winslow. Ahem. Butch Davis.

After the Browns traded their third rounder this year, their blockbuster with Atlanta now looks more like a four for one deal.  Just the same, the Browns know as well as their fans that they are more than one player away.  The Falcons, on the other hand, truly feel they are just Julio Jones away from the promised land.  I know for a lot of you this triggers fears that the Browns are in full-on rebuild mode and still won’t compete for a few years.  I don’t think that is necessarily the case. [Read more...]

Week 5 Open Thread: Browns vs. Falcons

The Cleveland Browns (1-3) look to improve upon last week’s surprising victory with a home match against the Atlanta Falcons (3-1) this afternoon at 1 p.m. (FOX). Using an old fashioned running attack through star Peyton Hillis, the Browns shocked the AFC North with the win a week ago against the Bengals. This week, the red-hot Falcons head into town with one of the best defenses in the league and an explosive offense led by Matt Ryan.

Follow along with us here at WFNY and check out some of our earlier posts on the game. “The Browns Will Win If…” is the essential post, but we also are now featuring Craig’s intel info and a weekly staff podcast through Cleveland.com. Go Browns!

While We’re Waiting… Falcons Visit, Mike Brown’s Gig, WFNY Love

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

Breaking down the positional battles for today’s game at Cleveland Browns Stadium: “Coming off of their first win of the regular season, the Cleveland Browns will go for two wins in a row Sunday as they battle the Atlanta Falcons. The big story to follow heading into this game is the return of quarterback Jake Delhomme to the starting lineup. Delhomme only played in the first game of the season before suffering a high ankle sprain, and he’ll return to a team that has found a rhythm offensively on the ground.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature]
[Read more...]

The Browns Will Win If…

I wrote once upon a time that I would consider it progress if the Browns had the same record as last year, but looked competitive. To that end, I consider this team improved. Not only have they earned their first win a week quicker, but their three losses have been by a total of 12 points, compared to last season where their first three losses were a combined 66 points. This week they take on the Dirty Birds from the A-T-L. Ahh ha / hush dat fuss / everybody move to the back of the bus.

brownsfalcons

The Browns have another winnable game, but this one will not be easy. The Falcons have a solid offense, and are fifth in the league in total yards, 10th in passing yards, fourth in rushing yards, and ninth in points. In other words, the Browns need to sack up on defense. Both teams are middle-of-the-road on defense, as the Falcons are 16th-best (Browns 22nd) in yards-allowed. Atlanta is more vulnerable to the pass than to the run, yet they still are very good in scoring defense with just 15.0 ppg allowed. Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…

Salt For Your Proverbial Wounds

brownsfalconsThe Browns (0-2) travel to Baltimore (2-0) this week for another beat down at the hands of Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens. We know the history there, but that isn’t the wound salt I offer up today.

Instead, I turn your attention to New England. No, this actually isn’t about Bill Belichick either. (There are a lot of wounds that could be salted aren’t there?) This week the Patriots (1-1) welcome the Atlanta Falcons (2-0). For many of us who are old enough to remember the Kardiac Kids, we remember the Falcons as an also-ran type of team with a few good years. We think of Steve Bartkowski, Bill Fralic and Gerald Riggs. But never did Cleveland fans think of the Falcons as a dangerous team, at least until the Browns were gone and Atlanta went to the Super Bowl with Dan Reeves at the helm. [Read more...]

Andre Rison is the best WR to ever play the game

andre-rison-brownsWell, at least per Andre Rison.  Get a load of this guy.  While discussing his legacy with an the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Best receiver to ever play the game. I can’t show my highlights because I don’t own NFL Films, but all my coaches in college, in high school, in junior college, they all told me I could be the best. But they must’ve lied because that title was already given to Jerry Rice. Just because you have stats doesn’t mean you’re the best. [...] I’m seeing cornerbacks on the 75th anniversary team that I used to demolish. But I’m coming out with my own hall of fame.”

Just think.  Your Cleveland Browns, for one year, rostered the best receiver to ever play the game.  And he didn’t even have to play “Quincy Morgan Football.”  Believe that. 

Rison also claims that he could still play the game today, though I think we’re good to go in terms of middle-aged receiving options. 

[Read more...]

Are We Collecting Thirty-Somethings?

Oh boy.  First this.  Now this.

Before the 1996 NFL draft, a small-school receiver met with a young, up-and-comer from the Baltimore Ravens by the name of Phil Savage, who was the first scout willing to spend time and visit with [Joe] Horn coming out of Itawamba Junior College. [...]

A dozen years later, Savage is the general manager of the Cleveland Browns — a team in need for a veteran third receiver to complement Pro Bowler Braylon Edwards and Donte’ Stallworth.

[Read more...]