July 25, 2014

On Brandon Weeden’s rookie season, and other Browns rookie records

Over the past two weeks (part 1 and part 2), my good friend and colleague Rick has posted updates on some historic NFL records being accomplished by the current trio of rookies on the Browns offense: QB Brandon Weeden, RB Trent Richardson and WR Josh Gordon.

In his initial post, I helped to provide some of the backbone research. Yes, I never gave enough credit to Rick for his research and his writing as well, but I did help a little bit. This week, since we haven’t provided an update yet, I thought I’d swing back into the picture to provide the latest update and give some more historical context to Weeden’s rookie season.

Of course, this hasn’t been a perfect season for the much-maligned 29-year-old rookie from Oklahoma State (by way of the New York Yankees). He’s been highly criticized in many ways and certainly didn’t have a good performance against the Redskins in the home finale on Sunday. But, based on my research, he’s still OK compared to other QBs that have started every game of their first NFL season. [Read more...]

2012 NFL Draft: Browns’ two first-rounders is a fair price for the #2 pick

I’ve always been in favor of trading down in the NFL draft.  It speaks to how many pieces the Browns have needed since being back in 1999.  It speaks to my value proposition consciousness in a league with a hard salary cap.  Now, it might be somewhat outdated.

I will forever thank Eric Mangini for trading out of the Mark Sanchez pick.  I’ve written about it here on WFNY too many times already, so I’ll be brief in mentioning it this time around.  Regardless of on-field production, Mark Sanchez was always going to be a very risky proposition.  His contract was $60 million for five years with $28 million fully guaranteed.  In 2012 Sanchez is scheduled to make $8.5 million and is also due a $2.75 million roster bonus on 3/28.  Alex Mack signed a 5-year $12.2 million deal with $8.3 million in guarantees.  The tough-as-nails center is due $1.303 million in 2012 and almost $2 million in 2013 before becoming a free agent.***

But the world of drafting changed dramatically with the labor strife of a year ago.  The rookies are now capped and with that, the dynamics of value in the first round have changed dramatically.  This is especially important with the Browns’ need for a QB and all the touted experts claiming that the Browns could and should trade up in order to get St. Louis’ second pick to get Robert Griffin III. [Read more...]

NFL Draft: Browns Roundtable, Part I

As Kirk insinuated this past weekend, WFNY will be rolling out a series of roundtable discussions on various draft topics.  Today is Part I, which will be followed by a different topic heading into Thursday evening’s festivities.  Do enjoy.

Scott: The big topic du jour this weekend seemed to be “team need” versus the Tom Heckert-derived “best player available” in terms of Day 1 strategy.  A lot of what this boils down to is the perceived weakness with regard to wide receivers and defensive line versus and the field.

In general terms, on what side of the fence do you stand? [Read more...]

Running Down the Browns Pre-Draft Invitees (Part 2)

(If you missed part 1, you can go back and read that first.)

As I said in part 1, Pro Football Talk is doing NFL fans a great service by tracking all the 2011 draft visits by team.  You should check back often as it is updated.

Indiana offensive tackle James Brewer (3/?) – It is nice that the Browns are looking so hard at possible additions to the right side of the offensive line.  James Brewer struggled early in his college career with injuries.  In his first two college seasons (after red-shirting 2006) he suffered a foot injury and an ankle injury.  The foot injury caused him to miss all of 2007, and he played eight games in 2008.  He is 6’6″ and 323 pounds.  He is another player with four years of experience in college.  He is probably somewhere in the top ten for offensive tackles in the draft depending on who you ask. [Read more...]

Running Down the Browns Pre-Draft Invitees (Part 1)

Pro Football Talk is doing NFL fans a great service by tracking all the 2011 draft visits by team.  You should check back often as it is updated.  I thought maybe we should go ahead and add some depth of information to their list of players visiting the Browns in case these names appear on Kiper’s board as the Browns move through the various rounds of the draft.

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton (3/?) – Dalton has been screaming up draft boards after posting impressive workouts.  The Bengals, Jaguars, Bears, Patriots and Browns have all been doing some level of research on him.  Dalton had an exceptional career at TCU.  He was the MVP of three out of the four bowl games he played in during his TCU run.  These were the Texas Bowl vs. Houston, the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl against the Boise State Blue Carpets, and of course this year’s Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.

The question for a guy like Dalton will always be was it the guy or was it the system?  He played in that exciting college spread.  He had to run the offense and audible, but whether he can adapt to the NFL game remains for NFL scouts and coaches to figure out before draft day.

As far as the Browns are concerned, I would consider this in that category of guys where Holmgren takes a QB every year somewhere.  I still wouldn’t expect the Browns to take someone like this in the first or second round, to be sure. [Read more...]

With Holmgren, “Nothing” is Better Than Nothing

Yesterday, Mike Holmgren called the media together to have a chat about the Browns and what is (or isn’t) going on with the NFL labor situation.  In the end, Holmgren didn’t really say a whole heck of a lot.

He told everyone not to “discount” any potential draft picks.  Either it is more of a Cam Newton smokescreen or it isn’t. No way to say for sure.  He told us that injured players are allowed to meet with surgeons, but aren’t allowed to rehab injuries at team facilities.  We know that Colt McCoy was given a playbook.  We know that all talks with veteran players and their agents have ceased.  Lastly, he told us that fans would receive ticket money back for any games that aren’t played, with interest.  None of what he said mitigates the deafening sound of crickets emanating from NFL buildings nationwide right now.

Even in telling us almost nothing of import, Mike Holmgren still shows us what we’ve been missing in Cleveland for far too long.  Whether you are a person who says, “In Holmgren we trust!” or not, one thing is for sure.  Mike Holmgren plays the role the right way.  This isn’t a guarantee of success as team President.  That is a whole other conversation.  This willingness to engage the media – and the fans – was sorely lacking in Berea before Holmgren showed up. [Read more...]

Browns Enjoy Flexibility at the Six Spot

In contrast with the NBA, the prevailing notion over the past decade in the NFL draft is that the number one pick is a burden.  It saddles what is already a terrible team with an unproven player, often a quarterback, that uses up a disproportionate amount of the team’s cap space.  Browns fans know this as well as anyone – watching their team consistently miss at the very top of the draft has left the team languishing for a decade.

The past two drafts, however, the Browns found themselves at the 5 and 7 spot with the overwhelming front office and fan favorite targets – Aaron Curry and Eric Berry – off the board and just out of reach (missing out may have worked out for the best, but there was certainly an unsatisfactory feeling on draft day when they came off the board).  This April, the Browns once again find themselves in that exact range, with the 6th overall pick.  While we’re right in the heart of the evaluation process, with the mix of needs and prospects for teams choosing around them, the Browns should have a ton of flexibility on draft day to either fill a position(s) of need or move picks.

[Read more...]

The Browns Set to Work Out Cam Newton

Just in case you were hoping to avoid even the hint of a quarterback controversy in Cleveland for a minute, I am sure the Internet will light up very soon.  Adam Caplan is reporting that the Cleveland Browns are one of eight teams set to work out the athletic freak from Auburn, Cam Newton.  Additionally, Caplan reports that the Browns had a strong contingent at Newton’s pro day on Tuesday including Tom Heckert, Gil Haskell, Pat Shurmur and QB coach Mark Whipple, among others.  It seems like the only one who wasn’t there was Mike Holmgren himself.  So, what gives? [Read more...]

The NFL Draft: Best Athlete Available or Position of Need?

With the 5th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select OLB Von Miller.

And just like that the Browns are on the clock. But what should they do?

Using Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft strictly for the purpose of establishing an order, we see that Fairley, Bowers, Newton, Green and Miller are off the board. Mel has the Browns selecting J.J. Watt, DE from Wisconsin. That would certainly fill a need, but is Watt the best player available? Is he even the best player available that fills a need?

The Browns will certainly be taking a hard look at Watt, as well as other defensive linemen such as Marcell Dareus and Robert Quinn. Wide receiver is also a need however, and many say that Julio Jones’ excellent performance at the combine may have vaulted him up draft boards.

It has been inferred that the Browns might not be opposed to taking one of a few top tier defensive backs as well, even though that isn’t perceived as a big area of need. Guys like Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara could potentially give the Browns the best young CBs in the league paired with Joe Haden.

So who would I like to see the Browns select? [Read more...]

2011 NFL Draft: Browns Will Select a Quarterback

Armed with seven picks and many holes to fill in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns will reportedly use one of said selections on a quarterback position.

With the Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi getting a few words of wisdom from team President Mike Holmngren this week, the Orange and Brown will allegedly look to provide Colt McCoy with a young back-up.

While the team has greater needs at this stage, the majority of the early selections will likely be aimed at defensive line and wide receiver.  Holmgren does intend on watching top top-tiered quarterbacks in the combine as the Browns are currently selecting sixth overall and will likely have the opportunity to be in a spot coveted by any team looking to fill their gap under center.   [Read more...]