Shawn’s Mock Draft: Offensive Minded


This is my 2nd Mock Draft this year.  This time, I used the draft tool at Fanspeak, so that I wasn’t able to pick without considering who may be gone when I got to each selection.  This helps keep this Mock Draft honest, and not completely unrealistic.

In this Mock, I focused heavily on upgrading the Browns offensive holes, while waiting until the later round to chose any defensive players.  So, before you moan about me not addressing the defensive needs, I intentionally went heavy offensively.  Without further ado, let’s get to the picks:

1st Round

With the 4th selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M.

The draft generator had Bortles and Bridgewater going in the first three picks, so I took the best QB option left, which was Johnny Football.  I doubt this will terribly upset everyone.  He’s a dynamic playmaker with good arm strength, excellent accuracy, and big play potential with his elusiveness and speed.  While I have my reservations about his ability to stay injury free, it’s tough to deny Manziel’s raw skill and leadership potential.  He’s taller than guys like Russell Wilson, but maintains the ability to air the football out, regularly making 40+ passes without much hiccup.  His accuracy is excellent, and again, he can absolutely kill you with his ability to escape a collapsing pocket and accelerate quickly through tight holes in the defense.  While some cite his cocky attitude as a drawback, I actually give that as a plus in Cleveland.  God knows we can use someone with a winning attitude.

With the 26th selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Penn State University

I had planned to target either Marqise Lee or Kelvin Benjamin here, but the draft generator took them off the board before we got to pick.  Allen Robinson is far from a consolation prize though.  The gap between Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and the other receivers may exist, but it gets very tight between the rest after that.  Robinson is a great physical specimen, with similar height and weight as Josh Gordon.  He’s not as fast as Gordon, but has good hands and an ability to shrug off first hits.  Outside of that, the idea of having two towering receivers on the outside should be the Browns focus when drafting their first receiver in this draft.

2nd Round

With the 35th selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State

I was pretty thrilled when Cooks fell to me in the second round.  He’s a speed demon, and he’s got great route running abilities and sure fire hands.  He should be a first year starter, and take over the disaster that is Davone Bess.  He’s an automatic upgrade at the position, and with Gordon and Robinson able to draw a defense’s best cover corners, he’ll likely draw a nickel corner or an inside linebacker, and his speed advantage will create a nightmare to cover when all three receivers are on the field.

3rd Round

With the 71st selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Carlos Hyde, Running Back, The Ohio State University

Another break in the draft generator that got me excited.  Carlos Hyde won’t fall much further than here, and at 71 he’s a great pick up.  OSU fans don’t need me to explain his ability to run through tacklers, and his ability to elude tacklers is often overshadowed by his bruising running style.  The prospect of having a runner like Hyde on our roster is really something exciting to me.

With the 83rd selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Jimmy Garoppolo, Quarterback, Eastern Illinois

I have no idea if the Browns will adopt my preferred strategy of taking two QB’s in this draft, but they should.  Jimmy G has a lot of potential, but because he played at a smaller university, his draft stock will probably still have him available in the third round.  He’s got more prototypical NFL Quarterback size and arm strength than Johnny Manziel, and if JFF gets hurt, Garoppolo should be a good developmental QB to tap as his backup.

4th Round

With the 102nd selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Anthony Steen, Guard, Alabama

Anthony Steen is a solid Guard to take in the third round.  Steen hasn’t been as hyped or publicly lauded as many of his Alabama teammates, but on tape there’s no denying he’s one of the team’s better NFL prospects for 2014.  He’s get great technique, he’s very consistent, has great instincts and toughness.

With the 123rd selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Lamin Barrow, Inside Linebacker, LSU

Barrow is honestly more athlete than anything else at this point, so I’m counting on coaching to help him improve on his weaknesses, particularly his troubles with completing tackles.  That aside, he’s been LSU’s tackle leader the past two seasons, show some really good leadership qualities, and most importantly for the Browns, an ability to cover slot receivers and tight ends consistently.

5th Round

With the 133rd selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…
Deion Belue, Cornerback, Alabama
The draft experts aren’t particularly high on Belue, but I love him.  I think he’s this draft classes Richard Sherman, honestly.  His size is a little underwhelming, and so he takes a hit.  But, he is an incredibly smart player, with elite footwork and and ability to win the body position battle through routes and get QB’s to bite on risky throws.  He started all 14 games opposite Dee Milliner last year, and this season he was Alabama’s top cover corner.  His high football IQ, great footwork and body positioning will make him a solid CB opposite Joe Haden.  I don’t often feel 5th round draft picks can start year one, but I believe Belue would be a starter by mid season for the Browns.

6th Round

With the 164th selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Storm Johnson, Running Back, University of Central Florida
Storm Johnson, outside of maintaining my theme of Thunder and Lightning with Carlos Hyde and Dion Lewis (Copyright Pending), also brings a great skill set in a late round pick.  He’s fast, explosive, elusive and has good hands.  The numbers are what they are, and last season he put up some head turners.  1,139 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns, and 3 more receiving touchdowns.  Johnson is super quick, and can make tacklers miss.

7th Round

With the 195th selection of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Vinnie Sunseri, Safety, Alabama
Make no mistake about it.  If Vinnie Sunseri had not torn his ACL last year, he would be at the latest a 3rd round pick.  But, injuries can kill draft stock.  All reports are that Sunseri is recovery well, and his big play potential and elite speed make him a steal this late.  His size is not ideal, but his ability to hawk the ball, and his 4.5 40 times more than make up for it.
There you have it.  Shawn’s 2nd Mock Draft of 2014, and the first to focus heavily on offensive talent.

Shawn is an Army Sergeant, husband to the beautiful and brilliant @MrsStarr, dad to three, and lead writer/publisher here at Dawg Pound Nation.  You can follow him on twitter @ShawnMStarr.  

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One Big Post: What Is Loyalty?


From time to time, some folks take our brand of humor to mean that we aren’t loyal to our team.  They ask how we can claim to love the Browns when we spend so much time making fun of them.  This is my response.

I’m Not Loyal To The Cleveland Browns Organization

That may sound shocking at first take, but it’s the truth.  The Cleveland Browns football organization, the front office and such, I feel no connection to whatsoever.  They’ve done nothing but lie, mislead, and consistently fail to do justice to our proud history through their inept failures.  My loyalty is to the fans, the community, the history and to an extent, the players and coaches.  I say to an extent, because players like Kellen Winslow Jr and Braylon Edwards I never felt any loyalty to.  Guys like Joe Thomas, Phil Taylor, and D’Qwell Jackson, those guys who bust their asses and put it on the line for this city, THOSE guys I feel loyal to.  Coaches like Chud, who made it their mission in life to coach for this team, those guys I hold loyal to.  Jimmy Haslem, Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi?  Not so much.

I Am Loyal To My Fellow Fans And Our Great Community, The Dawg Pound.

I’ve never pretended like anything but my fellow fans were my number one priority.  And since my loyalty to this community far outweighs any connection I have to the organization, it fires me up when I see my friends and fellows continue to suffer.  I often recount growing up, a young kid who got to sit in the Dawg Pound.  I remember how crazy everyone seemed, but how nice they were to me, even then.  I remember, one of my favorite moments as a child, when I got to meet Michael Dean Perry and his brother, The Fridge.  I was maybe five, and MDP picked a very little me up and put me on his shoulders at the behest of some rowdy Dawg Pound folks.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little spooked, but I felt (and probably was) 10 feet tall.  Over the years, I’ve met so many great fans and great players.  And I’ve watched them all suffer.  And why? It drives me nuts that the organization that we carry the banners for humiliates us and makes us a figure of fun throughout the country.  Because we deserve so much better than this pathetic joke of management.  We are the best, the very best fans in the country.  I can say that objectively, as I’ve been all over this great land of ours.  There is no other place where fans have stayed as faithful, as loyal, and as optimistic as we have in Cleveland.  And how have we been repayed for our stalwart loyalty?  Ask fired Browns Coach Rob Chudzinski how his loyalty was repaid, when he landed his dream job, to coach the team he loved growing up.  He was fired after 11 months for not turning water into wine and winning with no running back (except one they got from a nursing home who managed only 377 yards on 138 attempts), and 14 games of Campbell and Weeden starting.  The defense certainly struggled down the stretch, but this was their first year under a completely new system with all new coaches.  The front offices plan to fix it?  Scrap it all and start over, again!  Brilliant.

The Front Office Will Need To Earn My Trust and Loyalty.

I don’t mean this in a self-important kind of way.  I realize they probably care less than none about earning mine, or any other individual fans, loyalty and trust.  However, the sum of all of us distrusting them, and not giving them our loyalty without their earning it is a powerful thing.  When Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi show they can find “the” head coach, when they show they can do better in the draft, when they show they can not completely fail in free agency, and when they show that they either give a damn or can actually get this right, then maybe I’ll come around.  In the meantime, when they make terrible decisions, I’m going to call them on it.  I’m going to make fun of them, because the fans deserve better.  At the end of the day, that’s it to me.  The Cleveland fans, the Dawg Pound, we just deserve so much more than this.  Period.

 

Shawn is an Army Sergeant, husband to the beautiful and brilliant @MrsStarr, dad to three, and lead writer/publisher here at Dawg Pound Nation.  You can follow him on twitter @ShawnMStarr.

The Pound Picks: The Most Beloved Cleveland Brown of All Time


mostbeloved

Join Our Staff!


Hey.  Hey you.  Yeah, the one reading this.  Have you ever thought about doing more with your life than reading articles on internet blogs like this one?  I know you have.  You’ve thought about writing for internet blogs like this one!  So, this is your lucky day.  We need one or two more writers, preferably to write about the Cavs or Buckeyes (Browns and Indians are writers welcome too).  You need to be willing to contribute one article per week, which really isn’t that bad if you think about it.  You spend as much time as that would take participating in far less fulfilling activities.  Don’t lie to me.  You know I’m right. 

So anyhow, if you’re interested, you can comment here or message us on Facebook. 

What If The Browns Spent Money This Year?


What if Browns spent money this year?

Who would you want? Remember that we have the second most cap room in the NFL.

My Wish List:
– Greg Jennings (or possibly Bowe but I believe he’ll stay in KC)
– Darelle Revis (The Jets are feeling out the market)

Imagine a defensive back field with Joe Haden and Revis, then our first round pick would be used on a slam dunk guard making up a top 5 offensive line.

Would you use a first round pick and large contract on a QB?  Who would you want? Alex Smith?

My opinion is unpopular. I don’t “love” Brandon Weeden, but I do like him enough to give him another season. If you hated him there is still no argument that he is at least “capable” of being an NFL QB, and we know he can make all the throws. If Joe Flacco would really consider leaving the Ravens I would say okay let’s give up our first rounder and give this guy big money. Alex Smith has been average at best, and he has been fragile (only play 2 entire seasons out of 7).  So if you hate Brandon Weeden and you love Alex Smith, even if Alex was our starter we would probably still see Brandon play in 2013.

Reply below with:
You are Michael Lombardi.

Who do you want to sign during free agency?

Who do you draft in the first and third (we have no picks in the second round) rounds?

My Browns Free Agency/Draft Dream Scenario


So, if I had omnipotence with regards to getting the players I want through free agency, as well as my choice of draft picks, it would be a glorious thing.  Obviously I do not, but here is how I would address the teams needs on both sides of the ball.  I tried to be at least moderately realistic as to where draft picks will fall, and that we can win the bidding war for certain players.

Free Agency:

Let’s start with the offense:

Offensive Line

The Problem:  The Guards are terrible.
The Solution:  Andy Levitre (Bills) and Louis Vasquez (Chargers).  The Browns offensive line would be top 5 in the NFL if the Guard positions were addressed properly.  Lauvao is awful, and Greco is pretty sub par.  Levitre and Vasquez would be instant starters, and would really be major upgrades over both current starters.  The other thing is that the Browns could get both for a steal, but even if they had to outbid other teams, it is still worth it because of the immediate impact they would have.  Letting Richardson really be able to run between the tackles would open up a ton of new lanes of attack for the offense as a whole, and the added pass protection would afford whoever our starting QB is next year a lot of time to really pick apart a defense.  Getting one or both of these guys is a must.

Tight End

The Problem:  A total lack of consistency and weak overall production from Watson and Cameron.

The Solution:  There are a number of options available in free agency and in the draft to cover this gaping hole in the Browns passing attack.  Take a second to compare Kellen Winslow’s numbers in 2007 against Watson and Cameron in 2012 and you’ll get an idea of why a usual TE pick up is a must:

Winslow: 82 REC, 149 TAR, 1106 YDS, 13.5 AVG, 5 TD, 356 YAC

Watson: 49 REC, 82 TAR, 501 YDS, 10.2 AVG, 3 TD, 196 YAC

Cameron: 20 REC, 39 TAR, 226 YDS, 11.3 AVG, 1 TD, 106 YAC

Granted, Winslow got a lot more looks, but he could actually catch the ball and move with it after the catch.  So, the Browns have some options.  The most realistic is probably Delanie Walker (49ers).  He would be an upgrade over either of the Browns current TEs.  There is a shot that Martellus Bennett may want more than the Giants can afford/are willing to pay him.  If that were to be the case, the Browns should jump for him.  Bennett has the potential to be unbelievably good in a Chud/Turner system.  Seriously, think Antonio Gates good.  If neither pans out, the Browns could to the draft and try and snatch up Travis Kelce (Cincinnati) in the 3rd or 4th round.  He runs a 40 in 4.68, has great size and is an excellent red zone converter.

Wide Receiver

The Problem:  A (supposed) lack of a deep ball threat, poor depth, trouble holding on to the football.

The Solution:  I’m going to break from popular belief that Josh Gordon won’t pan out as a deep threat receiver.  His rookie year numbers bare out a different story than most people believe, and I think he can be coached into a vertical threat, because he has the skill set for it.  Now, Greg Little has some potential.  But this is going to be his 3rd year, and he just can’t seem to hold on to the football.  That’s troubling.  And after Little, the Browns depth falls off a cliff in terms of ability and just plain talent.  Its bad.  So, I’m going to give you my favorite options here.

I would take Dwayne Bowe out of the crop of free agents at WR.  I don’t believe Welker is going to leave NE, and I’m only 50/50 that the Browns have a shot to land Mike Wallace.  If they either of those guys are viable options, I would take them over Bowe, but I think Bowe is the most realistic move.  Now, I would also snatch up Corey Fuller (Virginia Tech) in the draft.  First, we can probably take him in the 5th or 6th round, and I think he’d be a steal.  Second, he’s a big upgrade in terms of explosiveness and consistency over either Benjamin or Cooper.  So, my depth chart would be go Bowe (1), Gordon (2), Little (slot), Cribbs and Fuller rotating in off the bench.  That’s a heck of an overhaul and a much improved receiving corps.

Quarterback

The Problem:  Brandon Weeden is old, inexperienced and lackluster.

The Solution:  Look, I’m not going to pretend like there is a golden fit to find our new franchise Quarterback this offseason.  I’ve made my opinion that Alex Smith is an improvement over Weeden in the short and long term pretty well known. That said, outside of bringing Smith in to compete with Weeden for the starting job (which Smith would win without much trouble), I don’t really have a plan B.  This is just not the class to draft a QB from, and the Free Agency market is rarely the way to find a long term solution at QB.  So, get Smith and/or chalk it until next draft.

Full Back

The Problem:  Owen Marecic is terrible.  Objectively terrible.

The Solution:  This isn’t very vital, but it can’t hurt.  Zach Boren (Ohio State) should be available in the 6th round when the Browns have two picks, and I’d like to see as scoop him up.  Marecic was terrible, and should be cut.  Boren would add some versatility in short yard situations, and can catch the football.  He also can play inside linebacker too, so that adds a dimension of interesting at least.

 

Let’s move to the Defense:

Linebacker

The Problem:  The Browns are moving to a 3-4 base defense under DC Ray Horton.  They do not have the personnel to do this.  Sorry Ray.

The Solution:  Regardless of what Ray Horton and others may say, the Browns personnel is not a fit for the 3-4 yet.  All the optimism and well wishes in the world don’t change the fact that if you don’t have the staff at LB, you can’t make it work.  With that in mind, I’d like to see the Browns build here through a combination of the draft and free agency.  The guy the Browns should make a serious move for is Anthony Spencer (Cowboys).  11 Sacks last year, 50 tackles in the past four consecutive seasons.  He’s quick, strong and and excellent pass rusher.  He is a must have addition to me.  Outside of that, I’m pretty set that we should draft Barkevious Mingo (LSU) with the 6th overall pick.  He’s going to be the guy we build the defense around for years to come, because simply, he is a beast.  He’s absurdly quick, big, super strong (he lines up as a DE from time to time), and maybe most importantly, he’s a great guy.  He displays outstanding character off the field, volunteering to read to children and regularly visiting children’s hospitals.  If that doesn’t warm your heart as a Browns fan (it does), he was awarded the Jimmy Taylor Award for outstanding leadership, effort and performance (the highest award given at LSU), he’s been described as a “terror for opposing quarterbacks”.  Draft.  This. Kid.

With those two additions, the Browns linebacking corps quickly becomes one of the very best in the NFL.  Couple that with (probably) Jaabal Sheard, Phil Tayler and Ahtyba Rubin on the line (with the possibility of Sheard rotating in at LB and SS), and the Browns pass rush becomes truly fearsome.

The Secondary

The Problem:  A serious lack of talent outside of Joe Haden.  Lots of holes, and a tendency to give up big plays.

The Solution:  With the front seven covered, lets look at what moves the Browns can make to solidify their secondary.  This was definitely the Achilles heal of the Browns defense last season, as outside of lockdown corner Joe Haden, the Browns are seriously lacking in talent.  So, the first order of business is to find a CB who can play opposite of Joe Haden.  Sheldon Brown was awful, and Buster Skrine wasn’t much better when he came in while Haden was suspended.  My favorite option to fill the CB spot is David Amerson (N. Carolina St.).  We don’t have a 2nd round pick this season, but the odds are pretty good that Amerson will still be available for our pick in round 3.  He’s tall, got great length and is blazing fast.  More importantly for Ray Horton’s taste for aggressive players, Amerson is a great fit.  He’s extremely aggressive, loves to read QBs and jump short routes (my favorite type of interception actually).  To round out the secondary, the Browns need to target Jairus Byrd (Bills).  He’s a lights out FS, is young enough to build around for a long time, and once T.J. Ward is fully healthy, the two would make a nasty backfield combo.

 

There you have it, fellow Browns fans.  My take on upgrading our roster to move us from hopeful to contention.