Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Mock Browns Draft --- Day 2

Now comes the hard part.

As much as the draft publications, talk show hosts, and Mel Kiper like to pretend that the next set of picks have some immediate significance, most do not. The talking heads will fill up all sorts of ESPN's time during the draft explaining how the last stiff just picked will help the team. That's just something to fill air time in between commercials. GM's really spend Day 2 of the draft finding back-ups and special teams players. Sure. They're all praying for an impact starter in rounds 4 through 7, but in reality, they're largely satisfied with guys who can contribute and perhaps help save a coach's job. Meanwhile, the prayers will lead a number of those GM's to chase "projects."
I think Savage will eyeball one or two projects on Day 2.

4. The fourth round may be one of the most intriguing for the Browns. This will be the last time the Browns pick where the guys available aren't utterly riddled with questionmarks. This is a spot where they really, really will have to take the "best player available." Zak DeOssie will probably still be there, and as the saying goes, he just might be the best player still left. He's a tough Inside Linebacker from Brown. His size and strength are good, but like all players from small schools, questions about the caliber of opponents dog him. I don't think the Browns will go after him, but he has pretty interesting skills. Alan Barbre is the guy I'd love to see the Browns take. He plays Offensive Tackle and is a real unknown. He might just be able to give the Browns a bona fide tackle who could be around for a while. Another guy that I'd consider here is OG, Andy Alleman, of the University of Akron. He's a big boy and seems to move well. He probably understands that, outside of getting drafted by the Browns, his second biggest moment as a pro will be the first time he punches James Farrior in the face. He's a guy who seems to be getting a lot of recent interst as the draft has drawn nearer. Lastly, there's a chance Manuel Ramirez (OG) could still be available. He's a behemoth and a bad man. He could be just what the Brownies need on the line.

5. In case you haven't noticed, the Browns need help on the defensive line too. Baraka Atkins (DE) would look pretty nice lining up at end. He's pretty quick and could both help with the run and put a little pressure on the QB. He's another guy whose been getting increased interest, and if the Browns really want him, they may have to grab him in the 4th. If he's not there, they should look at Antwan Barnes (OLB). He's undersized but fast as hell. He could play somewhere on the end---either OLB or even as a DE, but he's really a guy who'd probably be a special teams player. If they still haven't gotten a CB, local guy, Usama Young of Kent State, would be a nice pick. He's pretty quick, and he's another guy who would probably be jonesing before the first game to drill Hines Ward. Apparently, Tampa Bay has him on the radar. I just don't know how high Gruden will take him.

6. I know it's not the 2nd round, which is where past regimes have grabbed wide receivers, but I can see the Browns taking Yamon Figurs or Joel Filani. Even though they're both wide receivers, the only thing they have in common is that both have large question marks about their respective abilities. Other than that, they're almost complete opposites. Figurs will be one of the fastest guys in the draft. He can fly. Unfortunately, he can't catch all the time. GM's always think they can fix that (e.g. Quincy Morgan). Sadly, my viewing experience has been they can't. But he is fast (a 4.30 forty). Filani, on the other hand, is pretty slow for a receiver, but he's bigger, uses his body well in traffic, and has pretty good hands. He'd really serve as a special teams guy and the understudy for Jurevicius.

If the Browns don't chase a receiver here (and I don't think I would), I'd like them to take Walter Thomas. He could be the project of all projects. The guy is a man-mountain. He's 6'-4" and weighs 374 pounds. Despite his size, he ran a 5.19 in the forty, which isn't fast but is stunning considering his bulk. I doubt he'd get pushed around if the Browns put him at Nose Tackle. He's another small school guy. So it's hard to anticipate in which round someone would have to take him. If the Browns can get his footwork straight, he could start this year. I know that's a big "if," but you gotta love someone that big clogging up the middle of the field. He'd be the biggest late round pay-off if he came through.

7. For their final pick, Scott Stephenson (C) would be a nice acquisition if the Browns are still looking for Offensive Linemen. Centers always go far lower than their talent would warrant. Stephenson is one of those guys. Although he'd be a back-up behind Fraley, he's a guy who could legitimately start with some experience.

On defense, I'd take a flyer on Greg Peterson (DE). He's a tough, strong guy, who could put a few Steelers on their asses. He's another guy who'd need a lot of coaching.

Useless draft rumor mongering: Apparently, Denver really wants to grab Calvin Johnson. Their problem is that they pick at #21. That means they'd have to give up their first 3 picks ( #'s 21, 56 and 86), plus their first pick in 'o8. If the Browns are serious about trading down, this may be the deal. Having an extra first next year, even if it'll be a mid to late pick, would be pretty nice.

1 comment:

Hornless Rhino said...

I'd love to use a late round pick on Walter Thomas, but guess what? There's no way he'll be around in round six after this article. If the Browns want him, my guess is that they better think about using a fourth round pick.

Thomas is a fascinating prospect. He's got almost no experience, he flunked out of Oklahoma State, and he was arrested for conspiracy to commit robbery. In the post-Pacman NFL, that makes him a very big risk.

On the other hand, when he did play, he was dominant--and then there's the photo of this 375 lb. man doing a back flip on the front page of The New York Times sports section. That kind of stuff makes him almost irresistible.