Browns Analysis: An Open Letter to the RFAs skipping OTAs

21 05 2010

Dear Mr. Elam, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Roth & Mr. Vickers:

I was displeased to hear that you all have decided to skip the current Organized Team Activities currently underway in Berea. Mr. Roth, I was particularly irritated by you upon hearing of your recent trade request.

The question I have for you all is this: what are you expecting to gain from this no-show?

To Jerome and the other RFAs: think about what you're doing

All of your timing could not be worse. Eric Mangini, your coach who sees you play up close and everyday, has only been around for a year. But the guys who decide whether or not to deliver your paychecks — GM Tom Heckert and President Mike Holmgren — have yet to see you play!

What do you expect them to do? Roll over and commit to you long term financially when (a) they have yet to see you play football since they’ve joined the Browns organizion and (b) during an uncapped year when the effects of such long term commitment remains uncertain?

Such logic is less sound than a broken amplifier. Read the rest of this entry »





Hopelessly Devoted: A Look At the 30th Annual Browns Backers Banquet

19 05 2010

As I nestled into my seat at the dinner table of the 30th Annual Browns Backers Banquet, I noticed a young couple setting up camp as well. They had brought their baby with them, sporting an infant sized Cribbs jersey and everything.

“Starting him off early, I see?”

“Oh yeah,” the mom responded with a quiet laugh.

“Seems a little cruel and unusual to do to a baby. Save him while you still can!” My Dad joked.

“No, no! He’s going to help change Cleveland’s luck!” Both parents countered, with a hint of a chuckle… but one could tell they were entirely serious.

And with that little baby in the Cribbs jersey, the everlasting fountain of Cleveland sports optimism continues. Read the rest of this entry »





Optimism In The Undrafted: Can Reinders Be Next Cribbs?

5 05 2010

One reason I love Browns fans: We are so hopelessly optimistic about our teams, despite what rational reasoning tells us.

Finish a season at the bottom of the barrel? We may be downtrodden for a bit, but it only takes one new regime change and the excitement of the NFL Draft to get everyone looking forward to the next year.

This everlasting buoyancy even finds its way from late round draft picks (I’m admittedly a little turgid over 6th round picks Carlton Mitchell and Clifton Geathers) to the undrafted rookie free agents.

Sure, those undrafted free agents have about a 95% chance of getting cut. But to a Browns fan? That glass is 5% full! In fact, it sort of reminds me of this scene:

We can probably all thank Joshua Cribbs for aiding to our disregard of statistics. As an undrafted rookie free agent, Cribbs defied the odds by making the team through his guts and willingness to do whatever it took to make the team on special teams. He defied the odds even more by becoming an integral part of the team. He continues to defy the odds today with each Pro Bowl trip and broken NFL record.

So in an effort to find the Next Josh Cribbs, I’ll be highlighting a few unsung prospects leading up to OTAs and training camp. Today, I’ll be looking at undrafted free agent Joel Reinders.

Joel Reinders, Offensive Tackle, University of Waterloo

  • Apparently, the Canadian prospect caught the attention of the Browns scouting staff from the very YouTube video seen above. I doubt that video was all that was considered when they offered Reinders a contract. But even if it was, who could blame them? The guy looks like a beast.

    Check out that Handlebar!

  • If the video wasn’t enough for them, then maybe his headshot did the trick. He just looks like a mean person. I’m not saying he goes around stealing children’s ice cream and punting puppies. I’m just saying that it looks like he would give two sh*ts if he bashed you in the throat on the football field. Oh wait. That happened in the first play of his highlight video!
  • Seriously, check the video out again. On that first play, it looks like he unapologetically collapsed a guys trachea.
  • Moving on to other random thoughts not concerning the video or his mugshot…
  • The first thing that jumps out to me is his size. At 6’8″ 320 lbs, Reinders towers over everyone. The other thing that jumps out to me is his athleticism. He played basketball for two years at the University of Waterloo. He played basketball in college so he has to be pretty agile, right? But because he originally only played basketball, he has limited exposure to football. In fact, he only played in eight games at Waterloo.
  • Now, logic says that having playing only eight games simply means he’s inexperienced. But to a Browns fan like myself? All it screams is untapped potential. And I’m only half kidding. Obviously such little experience to football should serve as a cautionary flag to optimism. But at the same time, Antonio Gates played basketball at Kent State and hadn’t played an organized game of football since high school. I’m not saying Reinders will have the same success as Gates. I’m just saying you never know.
  • I’m excited to see how he handles the coaching. Say what you want about finding a prospect via YouTube, but a guy that is 6’8 320 who is strong with quick feet has potential. You can’t teach size or athleticism, but you can teach technique.
  • As an offensive tackle, he also comes in at a position of need. Obviously not left tackle, Joe Thomas has that on lockdown. But the right tackle position has been unsteady to say the least. Ryan Tucker was a good player, but had other issues. Since, there has been a bit of a revolving door with Kevin Shaffer, John St. Clair, and Porkchop Womack starting at the position in recent years. Now comes in Tony Pashos. Again, as an optimist, I’ll hope its a solid pick up — but he’ll still be over 30 at the start of the season.
  • At the very least, Reinders is an intriguing possibility to develop into the long term answer to the Browns right tackle position.

I know the odds are stacked against him. But he’s got enough potential to think he might just make it.

Might. Its a mighty word in Cleveland, isn’t it?

Like the article? Think its annoying? Send questions/comments to lebrontourage@gmail.com … We’d love to do a mailbag someday.





NFL Draft – Browns Day 3 Analysis

24 04 2010

First things first, let’s take a look at the three players the Browns added today:

  • 5th Round, 160 overallLarry Asante, S, Nebraska – Another “in-the-box” safety. Like Ward, he’s said to have the hard hitting ability. He’s got good size (6’0 212 lbs) and athletic ability. Was a three year starter for the Cornhuskers, which is nice.
  • 6th Round, 177 overallCarlton Mitchell, WR, South Florida – Love this pick. He’s big (6’3″ 215 lbs), fast (4.49 40), and can catch the football. Not sure what the knock on him was. Most projections had him in the third.
  • 6th Round, 186 overallClifton Geathers, DE, South Carolina – Big (6’7″, 300) defensive end with pretty good strength that apparently has some character issues.

Now for some unprofessional commentary on Day 3 of the NFL Draft…

Quick Thoughts:

  • Hard to get too excited about anyone picked in these late rounds, but I was giddy about the selection of Carlton Mitchell. Reasons:
    • His name is Carlton. And his favorite show is “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Just kidding about that second part. But it definitely should be his favorite show.
    • As explained above, he is big and fast and can catch. What more can you need? Plus, he was compared to Brandon Marshall. Much better comparison than, say, Braylon Edwards. Must be the whole “catching” thing.
    • Apparently, when breaking down the Browns roster, the three headed monster of Holmgren/Heckert/Mangini concluded that the receiving corp lacked speed. Mitchell ran his 40 in the 4.4 range, which is speedy. And by all accounts, his strength is that of providing a vertical threat to a team. Yes, please.
    • In the twitter world, some of the former scouts/ESPN guys were tweeting about how they couldn’t believe he even fell to the 5th round and that some team would be getting a steal. I couldn’t believe Cleveland drafted a guy I was hoping they would. This never happens. Explains the giddiness.
    • Not saying he’s perfect, because I’m sure there is a reason he fell to the 6th round. Maybe he smells or something, I don’t know. But he’s got the potential to be a quality receiver for the Browns.
  • I’m not going to pretend I know anything more about Larry Asante than I read on nfl.com. But I do like that he’s a three year starter, I’ll say that.
  • As for Clifton Geathers, I’m guessing he has a terrible jump shot. Most of the time, athletic 6’7″ dudes just don’t choose football.
  • Seriously though with Geathers, apparently he was suspended for a couple of games for resisting arrest. Seemed pretty serious, and he had been red flagged by some teams for character issues. Since the three headed monster has taken over in Berea, they have put a premium on acquiring high character guys. So if they’re willing to roll the dice on this guy, they must have seen something intriguing. Oh yeah, he’s 6’7″. Duh.
  • As far as I know, there were no notable hot girlfriends among the day 3 draftees. Someone please prove me wrong. But as for hot girlfriends of day 2 draftees, Colt McCoy’s fiance, Rachel Glandorf, is the “LeBabe Of The Week.” Congratulations, Rachel.
  • Overall, I think the Browns had a pretty solid draft. They filled just about every need (CB, S, RB, QB, and WR). They failed to get help along the defensive front 7, but there is only so much you can address in one draft.
  • Of course, only time will tell how the Browns truly performed in this year’s draft. But for the time being, I’ll give GM Tom Heckert the benefit of the doubt. After all, as pointed out in this weeks “Stat Of The Week,” the Eagles either drafted or acquired 10 different pro bowl players while Heckert was the GM.

Some even more random thoughts regarding day 3:

  • I’m sick and tired of the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting Ohio State players. I would love to root for them in the NFL, but I’m not physically able to cheer them on in any way, shape, or form while they have on those hideous black and gold jerseys.
  • So for Thaddeus Gibson and Doug Worthington: I’m glad you were able to get drafted and are able to continue your NFL Dreams. I just hope that you find zero success until you find another team. Well, I guess you can have individual success on occasion. Just don’t win. Ever.
  • At the very least, don’t pull a Santonio Holmes and win a Super Bowl MVP with the Steelers and be lost to me forever.
  • Onto a less depressing subject: I would like to extend a congratulations to Myron Rolle for getting drafted by the Titans in the sixth round. Albeit later than he hoped, I’m glad he is given the opportunity because…
  • Myron Rolle may only be a couple months older than me, but I want to be like him when I grow up. The guy is a Rhodes Scholar, has charity foundations, successful youth weight loss programs, and plans to open a free health services clinic in the Bahamas. I, uh… just started a blog. Crap.
  • Late-Round-Guy-I’ll-Watch-In-Preseason-For-No-Good-Reason: John Skelton. I have no real connection to the Fordham QB… at all. I just looked him up one day because I saw he’s close to 6’6″ and 250 lbs. Enjoyed his YouTube clips, and pegged him as a late round guy I wanted the Browns to keep an eye on. Plus I guess he is a “weird dude, man. WEIRD dude,” according to a buddy of mine who is a Fordham Alum.
  • He ended up going to Arizona, and now I’m very eager to see if he’ll usurp Derek Anderson at any point in the next three years. This morning, I saw he did an ESPN Sport Science segment. Impressive physical dude. Check it out:

What overall grade did you give the Browns 2010 Draft Class? Visit the “Poll Of The Week” to cast your vote!

It’s been a fun couple of days and I really appreciate all of the readers that have stopped by…

Leave some comments and hope to see you all back for more amateur and mildly comical insight on the Cavs and NBA Playoffs!

– Sam





NFL Draft – Browns Second Day Analysis

24 04 2010

So the Browns filled a couple of needs and grabbed the headlines with their second to last pick. Here are some quick thoughts…

Quick Thoughts:

  • It’s funny how big of a low –> high this day went for most Browns fans.
  • The day started with the Browns sitting pretty at #38… several big names still available when we picked: Sergio Kindle, Daryl Washington, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, etc. etc. They even had Jim Brown come out to announce the pick! This had to be a big deal right? And the Browns select… T.J. Ward? Umm… let me check my draft book.
  • Now I had heard the name before — him and Nate Allen were two names at safety that I had read about being rated ahead of Taylor Mays by most teams. But I really didn’t have that great of a clue of who he was. I knew he went to Oregon, and that might have been the biggest reason I wasn’t overly excited about the pick. Not that I have anything against Oregon or anything, they seem to have a great program, very loud jerseys, running backs that throw mean left hooks, and a QB that’s just OK at stealing laptops.
  • Seriously though, I have nothing against Oregon. The only reason that fact didn’t bode well with me is that I went to the Ohio State-Oregon Rose Bowl game this past January — and I remember just about everything from that night. I just don’t remember an Oregon safety making any impact plays. Not a good sign.
  • Also not a good sign: history of knee injuries and sitting out 6 games last year due to a bum ankle. Although I think he deserves major props for battling through his one major knee injury. The dude tore his patella tendon! That’s what knocked former Browns Gary Baxter and LeCharles Bentley into retirement. This guy not only recovered from it, he returned to form and played some damn good football in the Pac-10 for three seasons. That’s pretty tough.
  • So as I grew increasingly frustrated about the fact the Browns drafted someone I had to look up while I watch the Baltimore Ravens select collegiate studs Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope with the Browns trading back up into the 2nd round. Everyone I watched the draft with stood up from their chairs in excitement because it had to be a big name right?! And the Browns select Montario Hardesty? … Where’d I put that draft book again?
  • I will say this about Hardesty: he had a pretty impressive 15 second highlight reel on ESPN’s draft coverage – for whatever that’s worth. Seems big, powerful, shifty enough to shed some tacklers. Rushed for over 1,300 yards last year, so I’m sure the guy is no slouch. But again, a history with knee injuries? I started getting the sense that Holmgren and Heckert were getting cocky by ignoring the horrible luck we’ve had with injuries.
  • But then again, Courtney Brown didn’t miss a game when he was at Penn State, so maybe Holmgren and Heckert felt these guys already had their turn of bad luck. Sort of like the reasoning behind not getting struck by lightning twice. Yeah. That’s the way I’ll spin it.
  • Before moving on, I’ve got one more gripe to rant aimlessly about: I’m sick and tired of the new Browns regimes getting tooled on draft day by the organizations they came from. Allow me to elaborate:
    • Phil Savage came from the Ravens. In 2006, the Browns had the 12th overall pick while the Baltimore Ravens held the 13th selection. We needed help along the defensive line badly. My dream guy was Haloti Ngata – but him falling to the Browns seemed to be nothing more than an ill conceived dream of mine. Yet lo and behold, he falls right into our laps. I do a little jig around my dorm room, excited to grab this stud. Then to my utter dismay, I see that beautiful orange helmet at the bottom of the screen switch to a ravens logo. The Ravens took Ngata and he looks like he’s well on his way to becoming a perennial pro-bowl player. We took Wimbley, and he is now an Oakland Raider. What did we get for this little swap? A 6th round pick — which turned out to be DT Babatunde Oshinowo, who I’m sure is at some sort of Ponderosa Steakhouse as I type this. We got tooled.
    • Eric Mangini came from the Jets. In the 2009 Draft, we held a coveted 5th overall selection. The NY Jets had the 17th overall pick. The Browns struck a deal to move down for  something like a third along with Brett Rhatliff, Kenyon Coleman and Abe Elam. Now, I was all for the idea of trading down – but you’re telling me we couldn’t do better than the NY Jets pu pu platter they offered? Tooled.
    • Tom Heckert came from the Eagles. In order to move up 12 spots into the end of the second round, the Browns give the Eagles their highest third, along with two of their fifth round picks. Now I know it followed the draft value chart fairly well, but just earlier in this draft the 49ers moved up two spots in the first round and only gave up one 4th. And does anyone else thing Hardesty would have been gone within those twelve picks? I don’t know, it just seemed like Andy Reid got the better of Heckert in that situation. Savage was the worst example, but its still a former team getting the upper hand on a new Browns regime.
  • Back to the draft. After the Browns made their trade to get back into the second, I thought for sure it was for Colt McCoy. They didn’t. This is when I came to accept that the Browns just weren’t taking America’s hero today. And I wouldn’t get to see his girlfriend on a regular basis — truly the most disheartening subplot when you get down to it.
  • So when draft rolled around to the 85th overall pick, I really expected to hear Roger Goodell to read some other name that would make me bust out my draft book. What’s that? Is that Mack Brown? No way. Way! Browns take Colt McCoy – and the heavy favorite in the lebrontourage poll finally lands on the Browns!
  • My take on Colt:
    • He’s a leader. In the “SportsCenter Special: John Gruden’s QB Camp”, Gruden asks him what he’s going to do when he takes over a huddle with veteran lineman who don’t care what some rookie has to say. McCoy’s responds in a dead serious tone: “Same thing I did when I was a freshman at Texas with five senior offensive linemen… Earn their respect.” Gave me chills.
    • He’s a winner. In fact, the winningest QB in college football history.
    • He’s accurate. In fact, the second most accurate QB in college football history – completing just over 70% of his passes over his 4 year career. In his junior year, he completed 77%! That’s absurd. I can’t even do that on Madden.
    • He’s accurate. I know I already said this. Don’t care. I’ve seen Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn misfire on far too many easy slant routs to not mention this twice.
    • He’s got a smoking hot girlfriend.

    Colt McCoy's girlfriend. Can't wait to see her at Browns games.

  • If you’re not completely sold on the Colt McCoy pick, I get it. But the bottom line is that we didn’t “reach” for him. He was the 85th overall pick, so there is no real pressure here. I mean hell, when the Browns drafted Charlie Frye, he was the 67th overall pick! This has got to be an upgrade over that, right?
  • With the last pick on the day, the Browns try to upgrade the offensive line by selecting Shawn Lauvao, an offensive tackle from Arizona State that projects to play guard in the NFL. Apparently he’s gotten poor reviews among the draft websites out there, but the guy was second team All Pac-10 so he can’t be a scrub.
  • An interesting note about this guy is that he is Hawaiian. Hopefully he fares better than former Hawaiian Browns draft picks in David Veikune and Melila Purcell.

So what grade do you give the Browns day 2?






NFL – 2010 Cleveland Browns Schedule

21 04 2010

Here’s a look at the 2010 NFL Schedule for the Browns:

Date – CAPS for home; @ for away

9/12 – @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
9/19 –  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
9/26 – @ Baltimore Ravens (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/3 – CINCINNATI BENGALS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/10 –  ATLANTA FALCONS (FOX 1:00 p.m.)
10/17 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers  (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/24 – @ New Orleans Saints (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/31 – BYE WEEK
11/7 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
11/14 – NEW YORK JETS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
11/21 – @ Jacksonville Jaguars (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
11/28 – CAROLINA PANTHERS (FOX 1:00 p.m.)
12/5 – @ Miami Dolphins (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/12 – @ Buffalo Bills (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/19 – @ Cincinnati Bengals (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/26 – BALTIMORE RAVENS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/2 – PITTSBURGH STEELERS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)

Quick Thoughts:

  • For over a decade now, the schedule makers had been trying to do the Browns a favor by starting them off at home. Let me speak for the Browns fans when I say: “Thanks, but No Thanks.” In those 11 ‘favors’ the Browns went 1-10, losing their last 5 in a row.
  • Now however, for the first time since their rebirth in 1999, the Browns will open their season away. Not saying this turn of events will change the Browns fortunes, but it sure can’t hurt.
  • It also can’t hurt that we play the Tampa Bay Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs in our first two games. Seeing as how both will be selecting before Cleveland in Thursdays draft, I don’t think anyone should guffaw at the idea of the Browns starting 2-0.
  • Random game I’m looking forward to: New York Jets. Just this offseason, they have picked up: LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor. Last year, they dealt for Braylon Edwards. Huh? Did Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum sign on as Executive Producers of Hard Knocks?
  • You also have the whole Rex vs. Rob thing to consider. This will mark the first time the Ryan brothers will compete since Bar Louie’s “Rock the Tot” tater eating competition.
  • The fact that the Jets will be this year’s team on Hard Knocks also plays a big role in my interest in the team. Last year, I watched the entire Bengals fourth preseason because I was curious to see if their 5th CB would play well enough make the team. That’s the equivalent of me caring about how Channing Tatum’s latest chick flick did in the box office. I shouldn’t care. I don’t really care. It doesn’t make any sense. The show is just that cool.
  • Little known fact: The Browns actually are tied for first with the longest active win streak at 5. And with the addition of Holmgren to the organization, you think that combo might generate just a little excitement. Emphasis on might.
  • But the Browns were scheduled for no Monday Night games, no Thursday Night games, no Sunday Night games, and not even Sunday afternoon games. Every game is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
  • I’m totally cool with this though. Ever since we Braylon’d it (dropped the ball) in 2008 with all that prime time scheduling, I’m fine with staying away from the limelight for now. Let’s try to earn it with the flex scheduling.
    • Note: After week 10, which includes the Jacksonville game and every game after, the games will be subject to flex scheduling. So if the Browns and Bills walk into week 13 at 12-0 a piece, they’ll probably move it from its 1:00 p.m. spot. (Now feel free to guffaw.)
  • This is also the first year that the final game must be a division game. The goal is to keep things competitive and prevent teams from tanking it. With the Ravens and Steelers as the final two games of the year, I can’t help but imagine it will help. No matter what the record, I’m sure I will care more about a finale vs. the Steelers than say, our ’09 opponent in the Jags.
  • I’ll hold off from any prediction of the Browns overall Record until after the draft. Plus I don’t want to sour any excitement I may have had at the thought of starting off 2-0.

– Sam





Browns’ Draft – The Select Seven

7 04 2010

Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah once wrote: “if you’re picking 22nd overall in the draft, you better make sure you like 22 guys.” So with the Browns picking 7th in the first round this year, it is vital that the Browns have 7 names they would be excited to hear Roger Goodell announce as Cleveland’s selection on April 22nd.

And seeing as how I love lists, I decided to make one of the “Select Seven” guys who would work out the best for the Browns. The way it works is that if the Browns had the top pick, who would they take; then if that guy is gone, who would be next in line, and so forth.

So without any further ado, here is my “Select Seven” for the Browns in 2010:

1) Sam Bradford – QB, Oklahoma Sooners

–  Bradford is the top signal caller in this year’s draft class and is the only true “franchise” quarterback available. He has a rare accuracy and has a stronger arm than most give him credit for. The guy is also a winner, as he led his team to the national title game as a redshirt sophomore while winning the Heisman trophy. The general rule in the NFL draft is that if you don’t have your franchise guy behind center, you simply don’t pass him up. Especially if Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace sit atop your depth chart.

2) Ndamukong Suh – DT, Nebraska Cornhuskers

– The recent arrest of Shaun Rogers makes this look smart, but I would have had him up here anyways. Suh is an absolute beast and is viewed as the surest thing in this draft. I’ve always believed that great teams are built in the trenches and having this guy in the trenches on your side is sure to stack the cards in your favor.

3) Gerald McCoy – DT, Oklahoma Sooners

– Another elite talent that is too good to pass up. There is a general consensus that Bradford, Suh and McCoy will be gone in the top three, so unless Holmgren believes enough in one of them to move up and pay the king’s ransom, I don’t see any of these guys in a Browns uniform, unfortunately.

4) Eric Berry – S, Tennessee Volunteers

– Berry is the one of those ballhawks that just always seem to be in the right place to make big time plays at all the right times. I know these types of safeties far too well after having to play both Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu twice a year for all these years. And I say its about time to add one to our team. As mentioned before, Bradford/Suh/McCoy will all definitely be gone early, Berry is the first player on the Select Seven to have a legitimate shot at being the Browns pick at #7.

5) Russell Okung – OT, Oklahoma State Cowboys

– Staying true to my values of establishing the trenches, I’ll go with the guy that can solidify our offensive line. I know he play LT in college and the last thing I am suggesting is to bring in someone to compete with Joe Thomas. That would be sacrilegious. But as the top tackle prospect in the draft, Okung could be moved to the right side and give Cleveland a pair of young and talented bookend tackles unparalleled in the league.

6) Joe Haden – CB, Florida Gators

– Before the combine, Joe Haden was widely regarded as an elite corner prospect. Then he ran that pesky 4.6ish 40 time and suddenly the player everyone thought they knew on tape came into question. He claimed he tried to run with a lower back strain, but people seemed to roll their eyes. But when Haden responded with 40 times in the high 4.3s/low 4.4s at his pro-day, the lower back strain excuse didn’t seem so farfetched. But it feels as though he has not completely regained his pre-combine status among all the draft gurus out there. As for this guy, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, look at the pro-day numbers and stick with the first reaction people had when looking at him on tape: this guy is a stud. With the newly acquired Sheldon Brown, Haden won’t be forced into a starting position and will have to work that much harder to earn a starting spot, something that I believe hindered the development of Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald.

7) C.J. Spiller – RB, Clemson Tigers

– Now this is not a knock on Jerome Harrison. I’ve been a huge J.H. fan since we drafted him in the 5th round in 2006 (He had more all purpose yards than Heisman winner and #2 overall pick Reggie Bush his senior year!). This is simply a pick where I’m not quite excited about anyone else at this pick, and Spiller is the best running back available. Even though we have Jerome Harrison (and Peyton Hillis, I think he can prove to be a solid pick up), I think spiller can add some excitement and a spark to this offense. Even though the Panthers had DeAngelo Williams, I don’t think they regret taking Jonathon Stewart.

*Note: These are all 7 guys I’d really like to have on our team, but I’d say that there are really only 4 that I’d love to see in Berea. So if Berry is off the board (assuming Bradford/Suh/McCoy are all already gone as well), I would be in heavy favor of trading down. I believe we could get similar graded talents a few spots back while acquiring additional picks and saving some cap space – because these rookie salaries are absurd!

As for targets after a trade down, off the top of my head there are some more offensive tackles (Brian Bulaga, Anthony Davis, Trent Williams), some defensive linemen (Derrick Morgan and Jared Odrick), and defensive backs (Earl Thomas, Kyle Wilson) that could all be available.

-Sam