Don’t Chase Talent

Trading Up is a Bad Idea

Many Browns fans seem to be growing in excitement at the prospect of trading up to get Manziel in the first round of the draft this year. This is a bad idea, and it has nothing to do with Manziel’s ability or lack thereof, to succeed in the NFL. Even if Manziel turns out to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, in terms of draft strategy it would still be a bad idea.

I know what you are thinking. “If he wins a championship, then who cares what we had to trade to get him? You’re dumb, bro” That is true, if he brings a ring to Cleveland, then I’m all for it. The problem is, you have absolutely no idea if Manziel, or any player at any position will help win a championship. Sure scouts take a semi-scientific look at a player’s physical, mental, and emotional attributes, and sometimes they get it right.

When all that poking and prodding and evaluating is done, and all the picks are in, there are still way more future busts than there are future Pro Bowlers. In fact of the current 32 starters, only 8 of them were drafted in the top 4 overall picks in their draft year. Now compare that to the number of quarterbacks in the last decade who were selected in the top 4 and were total busts, or are about to be busts.

Those are long odds. Trading multiple picks, especially multiple first round picks to go from number 4 to number 1 (regardless of the player) is just poor math. You are basically going all in on just one guy, when statistically, and historically speaking, that guy probably will not accomplish much.

The Draft is a Lot Like the Lottery

This is even more accurate when drafting a QB. Sure there is some science to it, but there are too many variables. Rarely do you get a guy who is going to be an absolute sure thing or an absolute sure bust.

When you are trying to win the lottery you want more lottery tickets, not fewer. Trading multiple picks to move up to get 1 guy is a lot like trading multiple lottery numbers because you are quite certain you know what the winning Powerball number will be.

Great teams, teams that are well run and generally successful on the field, always seem to find themselves trading down. The Patriots for example, have a system, they go out and get the best guy available for that system or they trade down and get multiple selections thus getting more shots at winning the lottery. Sure many of those picks are still busts, but they have increased their odds of drafting yet another future Pro Bowl player.

Déjà vu All Over Again

Many browns fans seem to be certain that trading up for Manziel (or any QB) is the smart move. I understand the desire to finally fix the profound lack of stability at the quarterback position for the last 15 years. Yet the organization has tried this before and it has led to some amazingly awful moves by front office personnel whose names we still curse to this day. Remember when the Browns traded up to get Brady Quinn? Remember when the Browns took Weeden, McCoy, or even Tim Couch because they were the best quarterback available?

The organization has done this before, it has ended terribly and we as fans grew very bitter at how poorly run this team seems to be. Now many of us turn around and are champing at the bit to trade up to take Manziel (or any QB for that matter). This is not an argument for or against any one player either currently on the Browns’ roster or that may be in the future.

Great Teams Don’t Chase Talent

Simply put, wanting to get a QB just for the sake of finally having a good QB at the expense of logic and reason is precisely the kind of impatience that has led the Browns organization into one contractual quagmire after another. Admittedly, patience is hard when your favorite team finishes 4-12 every single year. Patience and sound, long-term strategy are essential in building a winning team not impulse and recklessness.

If there is a QB on the board at #4 and the Front Office is quite confident in his abilities, then go for it. If a QB is on the board at #4 but does not seem promising, then do not draft that player just because he is a quarterback or because he is the best quarterback available and you really want a QB. Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and Akili Smith were also the best quarterbacks available when they were selected.


5 Reasons Why Bernie Kosar Should Be Calling The Plays

Some people might think i am crazy for even considering this, or they think i was out all night with Bernie drinking “All the damn vodka”. But here are my 5 reasons as to why the old gun slinger should be calling the plays in 2014.

1.  Johnny Manziel would benefit greatly!

If you sit and listen to Bernie slur and stumble over his words during the preseason and are able to make out the garble that he is talking, the man knows how to play the QB position. With a young rookie QB pegged to start his tenure in the land of the dying quarterback, Bernie would keep Manziel”s head out of the clouds and his eyes down the field in the face of a Steelers pass rush. The Browns need someone to help Johnny out when it comes to reading a defense, going through his progressions, and most of all winning!

2. Familiar with his surroundings

Since the 80’s Bernie has dealt with the wind, the snow, and the cold that blow in off the shores of Lake Erie. He knows the way an offense has to operate in Cleveland and has won, and won a lot in his years in Cleveland. The Browns for years have hired and fired this coach and that coach and haven’t so much as even opened up the back door to take a look at the tall, lanky curly haired, possibly a little intoxicated man in the back yard that goes by the name of Bernie.

3. Hungry for a winner

Bernie has been in Cleveland for years and is a true fan of the Browns. He bleeds orange and brown and just like the fans, is hungry for a winner like yesterday. He has sat back and watched the past regimes botch draft after draft, fall head over heals with a coach who doesn’t know his ass from the endzone, and the front office and owners hire the likes of Michael “By no means related to Vince” Lombardi. Bernie would not let this team quit in the 4th or hang their head when they are down by 7 with two minutes left in the 4th.

4. A great eye for talent

During the preseason he gets to watch all of these backups and nobody go out and try and impress the coaching staff playing against a bunch of other nobody’s. But to Kosar they aren’t a bunch of nobody’s they are a bunch of guys who are going out and busting their asses and showing they are somebody’s. Well unless you are the St.Louis Rams or the parents of their players. He knows a winner when he sees one and would take a little nobody guy from some hole in the wall school and push him to get every ounce of talent out of him as he could.

5. Last but not least…….The fans love Bernie!

The fans remember the days of Bernie going out and side arming passes in the face of a rush, the long bombs down the field, and all the W’s he put up for the brown and orange. No matter if he seems a little slow or maybe has a hint of vodka on his breath, the fans still know that he is the last glimmer of once knowing what winning was. They still line up to get a picture with Bernie whenever they have a chance, they still cheer him on in the city and know that he will always be a Cleveland Brown for life. Most of all he relates to the fans, he knows how much we have all been through, all the heartache, the betrayal, the lies of the team being built into a “Winner”, he knows that Cleveland wants and deserves so much better, to be relevant and a powerhouse in the league again. To play games in December and January that have meaning behind them and the sound of the crowd roaring on a frigid windy day on the shores of Lake Erie, that’s what we all want as browns fans right?

That’s my opinion as to why Bernie should be the new OC for the Cleveland Browns in 2014…..

Hey a guy can dream right?

Cory Napolitano

Ranking The Senior Bowl Prospects That Should Wear Brown and Orange in 2014

So this is a 8 player list of the players from the 2014 Senior Bowl that stood out to me that Cleveland should consider with the picks they have in this years upcoming draft. Feel free to tell me your thoughts on the list hope you enjoy.

8.  Chris Borland ILB Wisconsin

Borland reminds me so much of Kiko Alonzo from Buffalo. The guy is relentless and doesn’t stop until the whistle blows; and even then he is still trying to remind you that you just got lit up. He is a smaller guy and lacks the big time speed, but he is sideline to sideline on every play and is a really solid replacement for Craig Robertson who got burnt in coverage all season long. He is an under the radar guy who didn’t get a lot of exposure due to all the other big names in the Big 10 this season.

7.  Dee Ford DE Auburn

Dee Ford proved a lot of people wrong that he was too small to play the position by winning MVP honors in the Senior Bowl. He has a quick burst off the edge and gave Zack Martin a workout the entire game. He is a Dwight Freeney type in his style of play with his quickness, burst and size. He will most likely go earlier and may have even worked himself into the late first early, or second round, but if he falls because scouts are still weary of his size he would be a steal as a developmental player later down the road.

6.  Keith McGill CB Utah

McGill could go pretty high after his showing in the Senior Bowl because the long tall corners are the new talk of the NFL secondaries. Look at what the Seahawks have done with the “Legion of BOOM”. Cleveland needs help across from Joe Haden, there is no way around that, and they have to draft a corner at some point. Buster Skrine, for his size and as young as he is, held his own for the most part across from Haden. The thing is, Skrine works better in the slot where he isn’t on a 6 foot something WR. McGill showed he has good hands and can ball out when called upon. I know it could be a stretch here, but if he is on the board in the later rounds Cleveland should really give him a look.

5.  Charles Sims RB West Virginia

Sims is a small guy, but he has no problem busting a DL in the mouth and letting you know he means business. He only had one year at West Virginia and he made it count. Rushing for over 1.000 yards and 11 touchdowns, he isn’t a guy that seems to be high on anyone’s draft boards, but he is a great sleeper in the later rounds and could become a solid starter at the next level. Sims has the kind of build of a Michael Turner; in that short bowling ball kind of runner, and he should still be on the board in the very late rounds depending on his combine showing.

4.  Josh Huff WR Oregon

Huff reminds me of a more polished Tavon Austin in his height and speed. From what I witnessed during the week of the Senior Bowl practices, the guy can flat-out go get the ball, which is something Cleveland doesn’t have in the slot. No Devon Bess, I didn’t say “pot” I said “slot” sorry if I got you excited. If you still don”t understand I guess you could probably go ask Brandon Weeden. But back to Huff he runs clean routes and has strong hands when it comes to going after the ball, and he moves the chains. With a fully loaded draft at the WR position it is likely that he falls to at least the 4th maybe even 5th round.

3.  Jimmy Garopollo QB Eastern Illinois

Some people may not see him as a polished QB, or even one that should be drafted before the 4th or 5th round. But this guy is an absolute steal if we could get him in the 3rd round and give him a few years to develop behind Brian Hoyer. I know I have Carr as number one on this list but its Cleveland, and can you really have too many QB’s on a team that has searched for “The One” since Bernie Kosar got shipped out-of-town. To answer your question, no. No, we truly can’t have enough. The way I see it, I would rather have three capable, winning QB’s on the roster than a thirty something rookie and a 32-year-old washed up journeyman.


2.  Zack Martin OT Notre Dame

This is the kind of smash you in the mouth “bloody your nose” lineman that coach Pettine needs to draft and move inside next to All-Pro LT Joe Thomas. He is a versatile lineman who can be plugged in on almost any spot on the offensive line. The Senior Bowl is a great place for him to show off how good he is and the toughness that he has in the trenches. Martin is quickly soaring up draft boards and could be a steal late in the first round or possible even the beginning of the second, and would fill a void on the line for the next decade in Cleveland.

1.  Derek Carr QB Fresno State

I know. The last name just screams bust right? Well my friends, this is not David Carr, this is the little brother with the strong-arm, the great field vision, and the arm to throw in December on the shores of Lake Erie. Sure he comes from a smaller school that doesn’t get the exposure that “Johnny Football” gets but the guy does one thing right and that all Cleveland fans want…..WIN!


Shawn’s First Three Round Dream Draft Scenario

*** Disclaimer ***

This is NOT a Mock Draft.  I don’t think this scenario is going to happen, because I believe the Browns will draft Johnny Manziel with the #4 overall pick.  That being said, this is my dream scenario.  This is how I would draft this draft if I were the Browns GM.

1st Round

#4 Pick

“With the 4th Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Sammy Watkins”

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson University

The problem I have with this draft class is not talent.  This is a deep, deep draft, full of great values.  That said, there are not 5 or 10 players that I feel stand out above their peers.  Sammy Watkins, to me, is the only true top 5 pick in this class outside of Jake Matthews.  As we don’t need a LT, Watkins makes the most sense.  He’s a certified beast too, a playmaker and a physical nightmare to match up against, especially if you put him opposite Josh Gordon.

#26 Pick

With the 26th Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Marqise Lee”

Marqise Lee, WR, University of Southern California

The truth is, there are about 4-5 receivers that should be available at this point that would be good picks.  Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham, Jordan Matthews, Jarvis Landry would all be fine selections.  Marqise Lee though is probably the 3rd best WR in this draft, and there’s a good shot that he’ll still be on the board when the Browns pick again in the first round.  He’s very, very good too.  The best comparison I can give those of who have never watched Lee play is to Steve Smith, but a little taller.  He’s 6 foot, and his speed is noticeable on the field.  He’s a great route runner, has great hands, and can get open.

2nd Round

35th Pick

“With the 35th Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Cyril Richardson”

Cyril Richardson, OT, Baylor University

At 6’5″, 335 pounds, Richardson is an absolute monster of a man.  This mountain is also versatile, able to play Guard or Tackle on the offensive line.  With the lack of run blocking, Richardson would be a great upgrade over 3/5th’s of the Browns current offensive line.  He’s shockingly nimble for such a beast, and should be an immediate starter, upgrade and impact player.

3rd Round

71st Pick

“With the 71st pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns Carlos Hyde.”

Carlos Hyde, RB, The Ohio State University

I’m going to level with you all.  Whenever Browns fans start clamoring for drafting a player from Ohio State (Pryor, Ginn, Guiton, etc) I secretly scoff at you before choosing to ignore your comment.  What works at Ohio State does not often work in the NFL.  And usually, OSU players are not a good fit for the Browns.  That being said, Carlos Hyde is an exception.  Pairing his plow you over style of running with the speed of Dion Lewis and Edwin Baker is a sure fire way to get our non-existent running game a jump start.  Hyde is a power back who can actually pick up short yardage and score in the red zone.  He’s a monster, plain and simple, and he’s likely to fall to the Browns with the 71st pick.

83rd Pick

“With the 83rd pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Christian Jones.”

Christian Jones, LB, Florida State

The clear chink in the armor of the Browns defense was Craig Robertson at inside linebacker.  Robertson constantly got beat in coverage by TE’s and slot receivers, and was weak in the run department, which is supposed to be his strength.  Robertson played himself out of a contract and likely a starting job.  Christian Jones is a 3rd round pick who would be ready to start day one of camp.  He big enough to play smother coverage on Tight Ends, and fast enough to open up and catch WR’s deep.  He’s a diamond in the rough if he falls this far, which is expected.

Josh McDaniels Early Favorite In Browns Head Coach Search

Sources have told DPN that Josh McDaniels is the Cleveland Browns inside favorite to take the reigns as the new Head Coach, in the wake of the sudden dismissal of former Head Coach Rob Chudzinski.

McDaniels has connections to both Browns GM Michael Lombardi and Joe Banner, and sources inside the Browns front office tell us that he is their hands down favorite.

That being said, the Browns cannot interview him until after January 5th, and could have to wait longer due to the Patriots playoff games.  Also, there are rumors that McDaniels may not be interested in the job in Cleveland.

Why Brian Hoyer Should Be The Browns Starting QB Heading In To Camp Next Season

Many believe that the Browns will head in to next season with an open QB competition between Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, and whichever QB(s?) that they draft in this upcoming draft.  Many, myself among them, expect the Browns to release Brandon Weeden shortly after the season ends, and either put Alex Tanney on the practice squad or release him directly as well.  So, that leaves Hoyer and Campbell as the incumbents to duel it out, and you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think a Top 10 draft pick at QB isn’t going to have a real shot at starting immediately, regardless of what we all may want.
Now, that being said, I’ve been a vocal supporter of Jason Campbell’s from the second the Browns signed him.  I felt he should be given the starting job over Weeden immediately.  Though he’s had some bad breaks in his career, Jason Campbell has often been a very good quarterback on very bad teams, particularly with the Redskins, where he spent the majority of his career.  And, during his time with the Browns, he’s shown moments of great skill and dependability (vs the Chiefs and vs the Patriots both spring to mind).  Jason Campbell, despite what his critics may say, is a starting caliber quarterback, hands down.
That being said, I’m going to get on record early as saying that I think Hoyer should get the nod next year.  I just want to be clear that it’s not a snub to Campbell, my saying he should be the back up.  The difference in results is pretty clear.  The Browns were 3-0 in games Hoyer started, and are 1-9 in all other games with every other QB.  There is a reason for that that I think is deeper than the numbers indicate (Hoyer’s stat averages are similar to or behind Campbell in most categories).  Think back to those two full games Hoyer played, against Cincy and Minnesota.  The feeling of the entire team was different.  It was more urgent, more pressing, almost more desperate.  Not desperate in a bad way, desperate that in every series, offensive or defensive, the entire team felt like it was playing a two minute drill.  Whatever it was, the offense and defense both responded with vigor every time Hoyer was starting.  They played like there was something on the line.  While I like Jason Campbell a lot, his cool, calm demeanor seems to put the rest of the team too much at ease.  Hoyer was playing for his shot at a real opportunity to be a starter, he was playing against everyone who’s passed on him or cut him, and very much competing against the other QB’s on the roster as well as the other team on the field.  You could feel it, and the rest of the Browns clearly felt it.  The pushed.  They played with more intensity and more effort, and it translated in to wins.

A lot of Browns fans make the case for Tim Tebow by stating that he has some magical x-factor that translates to winning.  I would counter by arguing that we have that guy on our roster right now.  Brian Hoyer has something that, for whatever reason, urges the rest of the team to play well around him.  It could be his personal passion.  It could be the way he includes everyone in his offense.  To that point, while it has been a lot of fun to watch Josh Gordon explode these past 4 weeks, it hasn’t translated to wins.  When Hoyer was playing, everyone, including guys like Greg Little and Davone Bess, got involved in the offense.  They made plays.  Jordan Cameron made plays.  Travis Benjamin was making plays outside of returns.  Hoyer elevated them.

And, for whatever the reason, the defense played its best when Hoyer was running the offense.  Remember when he got hurt against the Bills?  I posted on our Facebook page to watch for the retaliation on E.J. Manuel.  I had a feeling that the defense was going to make a statement by putting Manuel in some serious pain.  A few series later, TJ Ward and Tashaun Gipson put him out of the game.  Not that I’m saying they were targeting, but rather, you could see them get angry and you just had to know they were going to start laying guys out.

So, basically, Hoyer gives the Browns the best shot to win, which is always how you should determine your starter.  Not because he’s some statistical giant, but because the Browns, for whatever reason, play better around him.  The offense, the defense, every series, they play like it matters when Hoyer is on the field or sidelines.  They trust him.  And, when it matters, they step up when he’s there.

Long live HoyerNation.