Monday, April 27, 2009

The dust has cleared.

The second day of the draft wasn't as suspenseful or strange as the first one.

In the fourth round (pick 104), the Browns went defense again taking 6'0," 230 pound USC linebacker, Kaluka Maiava. Don't get excited. The elite defensive talent was gone at that point. Maiava's impressive but undersized. His likely role will be to be a special teams demon. He'll get a few snaps each game in the linebacker rotation, but I don't see him ever winning a starting job.

In the sixth, the Browns made good use of their three picks. With the first (177), the Browns grabbed CB, Don Carey. He's 6'1," 180 pounds and played at Norfolk State. Carey is a good solid cornerback who's never played against top competition. It will be interesting to see if he can use his considerable talent to develop into the kind of corner who can cover big-time receivers.

With pick 191, the Browns made what looks to be a terrific late round pick---Coyie Francies of San Jose State. He's 6'0" and 185 pounds with the speed and athleticism to cover almost anyone in the league. I was surprised that he was still on the board in the sixth. Francies is talented but a little undisciplined. A good secondary coach could help this kid turn into a strong DB. He's worth watching.

With pick 195, the Browns picked another guy who I was surprised to see still on the board---James Davis, RB of Clemson. He's 5'11" and 218 pounds. Most importantly, he's a strong runner who doesn't give up the ball. He can also block. There's a chance Davis can develop into a feature back or at least a strong back-up.

The three guys taken in the 6th all have a chance to be starters or primary back-ups. That's due in equal parts to their talent but also due to the Browns' extreme needs at CB and RB. Each of the three will be given huge opportunities to contribute to the team.

So, in the end, here's what happened.

In exchange for Mark Sanchez, the Browns receive a starting center ( Alex Mack), a project at outside linebacker (David Veikune), sixth round prospects, Coyie Francies (CB) and James Davis (RB), a starting defensive end (Kenyon Coleman), a starting safety (Abram Elam), and a third string quarterback (Brett Ratliff). That's not a bad haul, but it's not very exciting.

The rest of the draft added a starting possession receiver (Brian Robiskie), a back-up receiver (Mohamed Mossaquoi), a special teams player who can help out at inside linebacker (Kaluka Maiava), and another CB with some potential to play (Don Carey).

All of that manuevering gave the Browns one difference maker---Mack. The rest of the guys are filler and depth, which teams need but which won't raise the Browns to a playoff contender. The wild card---the one pick that will likely make or break this draft ---is David Veikune. If he can play OLB and provide a pass rush, it will be a good to great draft. If, on the other hand, Veikune ends up solely as a special teamer, it was a mediocre draft because a huge need---the ability to stop offenses---went unaddressed.

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