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 Draft – Second and Third Round Players to Watch

23 04 2010

Heading into Day 2 of the 2010 NFL Draft the Browns are looking to capitalize given the four picks they will have to play with. Here are a couple of players the Browns should consider with the 38th pick overall.

  • Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas– With Kameron Wimbley being traded for a bag of balls the limited pressure the Browns put on the opposing quarterback last season got even weaker. The Browns can start him off only using Kindle on third downs (rushing the QB) until he learns Rob Ryan’s scheme.
  • Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida– Dunlap is very athletic and solid against the run. He would be groomed to take over the space that Robaire Smith and Kenyon Coleman currently handle on the d-line.
  • Colt McCoy, QB, Texas– People were talking about the Browns possibly trade back into the late first round to take Colt but once Clausen started to slip the Browns back off the table. Colt has the accuracy that Holmgren covets but this is still Mangini’s team and Tom Heckert is making the picks.
  • Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame – Mike Holmgren once admitted that he “wished he liked him more” and obviously decided to pass on the golden domer at the seventh pick. But while he may have been cold on Clausen in the first, he may warm up to the idea as a second round pick. Personally, I’m just glad they didn’t trade up into the 20’s to grab him. I don’t think I could have handled the deja-vu.
  • Daryl Washington, OLB, TCU– Early thoughts are that Fujita will be moved to the inside of the Browns line backing core which would still leave a whole at the OLB position. While he lacks good hands his speed and aggressiveness will make him a great addition to the defense.
  • Taylor Mays, S, USC– Stock has only slipped as the draft came closer and closer and now that it is here Mays is going to be taken somewhere in the second round. He has the body and the physical skill set but lacks the football IQ which is so important at the safety position.
  • Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame– Past the glimmer of hope shown by Mohamed Massaquoi, the Browns wide out position is wide open. Tate can be used as more than a wide out (a former running back) if the Browns do choose to go in that direction.
  • Nate Allen, S, South Florida– Allen could give the Browns more of a cover-safety angle with this pick. Allen could give the Brownies a solid young secondary that can be built on throughout the Holmgren-era.
  • Everson Griffen, DE, USC– While he lacks the ideal size for an end in a 3-4 defense, Griffen still seems to have a play-maker mentality and could make a difference in the DE/OLB rotation.
  • Some names to consider in the 3rd Round: Daminan Williams (WR, USC), Myron Lewis (S, Vand.), Brandon Spikes (ILB, Fla.), Alex Carrington (DE, Ark. St.), Eric Norwood (OLB, S. Car.)

Quick Thoughts:

  • Conventional wisdom says the Browns will take a young QB in this draft. Question is: Where? The Browns could take a highly touted guy in Clausen or McCoy. They could also opt to take stab at a late round guy and hope they strike gold — maybe a guy like John Skelton, a big (6’5″ 243lb) QB from Fordham University. I watched a YouTube video of him and the guy has got an absolute cannon; I also had some insider scoop from a Fordham alum that he’s a “weird dude, man. WEIRD dude.” So take that for what its worth.
  • Back to the subject of Clausen/McCoy. Clausen seems to unanimously have the higher grade among scouts. But I don’t care. Consider this one vote for McCoy.
  • McCoy is one of the winningest and most accurate QB’s in college football history. He holds the record of 45 wins in his collegiate career and had completion percentages of 76.7% and 70.6% during his junior and senior years! And after having to sit through frustrating years of Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson misfiring on simple slant routes, I’ve found that I now put accuracy at a premium.
  • Now I would like to see McCoy as the pick at #38, but I wouldn’t be disheartened if the Browns go another direction.
  • The way I look at it is this: Holmgren is considered a quarterback guru, and Heckert was involved in the selection of Kevin Kolb, which appears to have been a good pick — therefore if either take or pass on a quarterback within the first two rounds, it must be for good reason. So if they decide to pass on Colt, I’ll trust their judgment. And if they decide to take him, I’ll be excited for the potential they must see.
  • If they decide to go elsewhere, here are my votes that don’t count for anything: Sergio Kindle, Daryle Washington, Nate Allen, Everson Griffen, or one of the better offensive tackles available in Brown and Saffold.
  • What may stand out there is that I would prefer Nate Allen over Taylor Mays. That may be more of a knock on Mays than an endorsement for Allen. Sure Mays can run faster and jump higher than most of his peers, but according to most scouting reports he lacks “football instincts”, “coverage ability” and “ball skills.” Sorry, but if I’m picking a safety for my team, those are my top 3 priorities. But hey, if I’m picking an All-NFL Olympic Track team, then sign me up for the Mays camp.
  • Not-so-bold-prediction-I’m-predicting: The Browns will make at least two selections in the second round today. The Browns still have 9 picks and a ton of needs. The second round is often a GMs favorite round — you can still get great players, but without the financial ball and chain that comes with a first rounder. Don’t be surprised if they package some of their extra picks (they have three 3rd round picks) in order to make some moves today.

So who do you want to see the Browns get with their first pick in the second round?

Browns – 2010 NFL Draft First Round Analysis

23 04 2010

I didn’t dance around my living room. But I also didn’t throw my hat at the TV. My reaction could best be characterized as an “eh… alright.”

Drafting Joe Haden wasn’t sexy, but it also wasn’t a reach. It was safe. There was a general consensus that there were six “elite” players in this year’s draft – Bradford, Suh, McCoy, Okung, Williams, and Berry. Unfortunately for Cleveland, the Browns picked 7th.

So with all of the elite players gone, the Browns found themselves in a limbo of sorts. Obviously, the first reaction is to trade down — but who wants to trade down to #7 when you get your first choice of the first non-elites available? Especially when it is known that there are eager trade partners sitting there at 10, 11, 12, and 13. The difference between the 7th pick and 11th pick could be $10-12 million in contract money.

Personally, I would have liked to take Texas safety Earl Thomas. The guy is a play maker and was Michael Reghi’s favorite player in the draft — I couldn’t imagine a better endorsement.

But apparently he wasn’t even in consideration. According to ESPN’s Michael Smith, the internal debate was between Joe Haden and Kyle Wilson. Haden was Heckert’s guy, and Wilson was Mangini’s guy. Mangini, the guy who drafted the best corner in the league, Darrelle Revis, reportedly claimed that Wilson was the closest thing to Revis he has seen since Revis. Holmgren must have played tiebreaker and sided with Heckert. And so, Joe Haden becomes the 2010 Browns first round selection.

I found the pick mildly funny too.

As soon as the Browns were pegged with the seventh overall selection, mock drafts ran rampant, as they always seem to do. Who was the overwhelming favorite for the Browns to take? Joe Haden.

Everyone – and I mean everyone – had the Browns taking Haden. Seriously. Everyone. It was boring as hell. I wanted someone to step out of the box, show me an alternative. But no, everyone had Haden – we needed a corner, and he was the best corner available. Easy pick. There were even debates about who the Browns would take if both Berry and Haden were available. And it was split.

Then what happened? Well, Haden ran a 4.6 at his pro-day. Suddenly, everyone backs off. The player they saw on tape must not have been who they thought. Haden claims he had a lower back strain. Everyone rolls their eyes – myself included. The Browns then go out and trade for Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown. Haden no longer seemed to fit the bill.

Sure, Haden went out at his pro-day and ran a 4.4 a couple of weeks letter — “See! I told you I had a lower back strain! I swear!”. But no one seemed to listen or care. ESPN didn’t regard him as a top 10 pick, and the mock draft scene around the internet regarded the Haden-to-Browns scenario as nothing more than a distant memory.

So today we have come full circle, with Haden once again landing in the #7 spot when it really matters – Draft day.

But the fact remains: Haden is an All-American, All-SEC caliber football player. He was a three year starter at Florida while they competed for national championships (winning one) and proved to be a lock down corner. Now, out of nowhere, with top three corners of Wright, Brown and Haden… the cornerback position suddenly becomes a position of strength.

So when all is said and done, the Browns made a very solid pick at a position that could use the upgrade. It wasn’t the splash most fans hoped for, but its a respectable ripple.

So what grade do you give the Browns?

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.