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Michael Crabtree: No Thank You


This writer is starting to get nervous as Draft Day approaches. Not because we think that the Browns will make stupid moves; rather because we fear that the endless mock drafts on the internet may have some effect, no matter how slight, on our first pick.
We hold the fifth overall Draft pick. If we keep that pick, it must be used on a defensive player, namely, Orakpo or Curry. We note, however, that an increasing number of mock drafts available for review on the internet, including respectable ones like Mel Kiper on ESPN, currently predict that the Browns will select Texas Tech Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree as our first pick. No thank you.
The rationale is that the Browns are in trouble at the WR position. Undoubtedly, the legal situation for Donte Stallworth has exacerbated the issue. But there is no reason to panic. We still have Braylon Edwards. We still have tight ends including our free agency pick-up, Royal, from the Bills. We have other free agent signings who can contribute to the receiver position like veteran David Patten from the Saints. We have Josh Cribbs who can also contribute to catching the football on offense. And we know that the receiver position is typically deep in the Draft with good talent available as late as the fifth round, thus, we can use a later pick for a WR if that becomes necessary.
The other rationale is that Crabtree will somehow become the saviour if we trade Edwards. That makes no sense. Old "fumble-hands" is indeed a frustrating player to watch, but he cannot be replaced by Michael Crabtree. Crabtree has no pro experience at just 21 years old. Edwards is a five-year professional. Crabtree is identical in size to Braylon - both are 6 feet 3 inches tall and weigh 215 pounds (so stop cheerleading the size of Crabtree). Most important, if Braylon can get some confidence back in 2009 catching the football from a new QB (Brady Quinn) or even a rejuvenated Derek Anderson (should he win the QB competition), then Braylon has the capability to be every bit as good as Crabtree is projected to be. In fact, Edwards has shown it on the field. Compare the following statistics which are compelling.
Crabtree
2008 - 97 receptions, 1165 yards, 19 TDs
Career - 231 receptions, 3127 yards, 41 TDs
Edwards
2008 - 55 receptions, 873 yards, 3 TDs
2007 - 80 receptions, 1289 yards, 16 TDs
The fact that Braylon in 2007 put up numbers comparable to Crabtree is seldom remembered. And Braylon put those numbers up in the Pros, where most experts will tell you the job of a receiver gets relatively harder compared to his College compatriots because of the marked difference in the quality of the opposing secondary and the importance of the running game in the NFL.
Edwards had a very bad year in 2008: no question about it. But he can bounce back.
Regardless of the fate of Braylon Edwards, we urge the Browns not to select Crabtree as our first pick in the upcoming College Draft. Go Defense!
Go Browns!
-Clayton
Devo's Cleveland Browns

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