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Grading the Browns 2010 Draft

April 27, 2010

It seems there are two things everyone does nowadays: a mock draft and grading their favorite team's draft. Well I missed out on the first one, but not the second! So here we go....

Joe Haden, CB (7): I have already addressed what I view as the Browns mistake in the early part of the draft. (What I didn't address is how glad I am the Browns did not move up to select Sam Bradford, let's just say I am glad and leave it at that.) In terms of grading the pick of Haden at 7, I have to give the Browns a good mark. Haden was the best corner available in this draft. He has all the physical tools you would look for in a cornerback and he was highly productive in college. Furthermore the Browns strengthened last year's most glaring weakness, the secondary. With the prevalence of three wide receiver sets Haden will have plenty of opportunity to make a contribution this season even if he does end up the third corner. Similar to recent good first round selections Alex Mack and Joe Thomas, Haden feels like a guy you can plug in for the next ten years. Grade: B+/A-

T.J. Ward, S (38):
The Browns certainly had a need at safety. The draft is about getting the best player at the best value, or put another way, getting the best possible player with the latest possible pick. There are three big questions about the pick of Ward: 1) Can he stay healthy over, not just the course of the season, but to have a real NFL career? 2) Could the Browns have drafted him later? 3) Was he really the best safety available at 38? The reality is right now the answers to all three questions are "who knows?". To make the Browns look best with this pick, the answers they would hope for are 1) Yes 2) No 3) Yes. However, the answers of 1) No 2) Yes 3) No are very much in play. At the very least, it seems like there are a few too many questions around T.J. Ward to give this pick a very high grade. That being said I really hope he turns into the enforcer in the secondary the Browns seem to be projecting. Grade: C

Montario Hardesty, RB (59):
The Browns gave up three picks to move up for Hardesty, which has to be taken into account when grading this pick. Remember the value component of reviewing a draft. Like Ward, Hardesty has injury questions. However the questions are not as serious as those surrounding Ward. The next running back drafted was Joe McKnight in the fourth round. Hardesty would not have fallen that far. It's hard to say how much later the Browns could have grabbed him. He was very productive in the SEC and he didn't have the best supporting cast in the conference. He fills a need and was definitely the best running back available when he was taken. Some people are down on this pick, but I think it was pretty solid even considering what the Browns gave up. Grade: B

Colt McCoy, QB (85): The Browns being able to get McCoy at 85 improves the value of the Hardesty pick, at least to me. Thank God the Falcons took that tackle from Kentucky. McCoy has a lot more upside and may turn out to be the steal of the draft. Even if McCoy turns out to be just a marginal starter, he is still a steal at this point considering the value of quarterbacks in the NFL today. It has been written ad nauseum how the Browns are the best fit for McCoy and he doesn't have pressure on him coming in as a third round pick and blah blah blah. I agree with all of it. Great pick, even if Tom Heckert didn't want him. Grade: A

Shawn Lauvao, G (92):
From the pick I liked the most to the pick I liked the least. Actually, that's not even right. This is the only pick I actually disliked. The Browns very well could have gotten Lauvao in the 5th round. He is too short to ever be anything but a guard in the NFL. I admit, I don't know anything about him beyond what I have read, but he was given a pretty low grade by every outlet I have seen. My biggest problem is there were two offensive linemen on the board who seem clearly better than Lauvao, Mike Johnson from Alabama and Bruce Campbell from Maryland. Campbell has loads of potential at tackle and can certainly play guard if needed. Johnson was an All-American guard on the National Champions and at 6'5" has the height to play at tackle if necessary. Both Campbell and Johnson had much higher grades than Lauvao. Campbell and Johnson are viewed as guys who can start and perhaps will develop into really good players. Lauvao is viewed as a guy who may develop into a fringe starter. This was a bad pick. Grade: D-

Larry Asante, S (160):
Asante is another safety who probably figures to be more of a special teamer, at least initially. He hits hard and was productive at Nebraska. He could develop into a starter someday. At the very least he will provide depth at that aforementioned position of great weakness from 2009, the secondary. In addition he should be very good on special teams. There really isn't a lot to complain about with this pick. Grade: B

Carlton Mitchell, WR (177):
At the time Asante was picked, my only real complaint was that Carlton Mitchell was on the board. That was addressed when the Browns grabbed Mitchell with their next pick. A guy with prototypical size and decent speed, Mitchell was viewed by many as a Day 2 (Rounds 2 and 3) level pick. He didn't play in a pass first offense at South Florida nor is USF a big time team. So Mitchell has a lot of room to develop. If he doesn't, well it was only a 6th round pick. If he does the Browns look like geniuses. This pick is low-risk high-reward, which is exactly what you want at this point in the draft. Great value. Grade: A

Clifton Geathers, DL (186):
Geathers is a physical monster. Just enormous. His mere size alone should be enough to warrant him a spot on the roster. He could develop into a solid 3-4 defensive lineman. I imagine he could give quarterbacks fits swatting at balls at the line of scrimmage and using his Stretch Armstrong abilities to get a hand on them from 27 feet away. Another low-risk high-reward pick. Kind of like the Asante pick, there really isn't anything to dislike here. Grade: B+

It's been said a million times you can't properly evaluate a draft until three years down the road. You can evaluate if a player was taken too high or too low though. It is a team-by-team evaluation. Basically, if a team grabs a player that it almost certainly could have had at its next pick, it took the player too high. Take Joe Haden. Some analysts claim the Browns reached because Haden should have gone somewhere in the teens. That is an improper evaluation. The issue for the Browns is, would Haden have been there for their next pick? In this case at number 38. The answer is absolutely not. So Haden was not a reach. Sometimes that evaluation method needs to be tweaked on a situational basis. For example, the 49ers picked at 11 and 17 in the first round. They took Anthony Davis at 11 and Mike Iupati at 17. Could they have had Davis at 17? Probably. But if they wanted both Iupati and Davis, could they have grabbed someone else at 11 and then taken Davis at 17 and Iupati with their next pick which was 49th? Almost certainly not. So if Davis and Iupati were their guys then there is no reach.

My point being, that is how you can grade value in the days after the draft in an accurate manner. I think the Browns had one super major reach (Lauvao) and one kinda maybe a reach (Ward). I can forgive a kinda maybe a reach pick. The Browns may well have had to move somehow to get Ward at a proper value, but moving in later rounds costs a lot less than moving in round 1. They then were able to move to get Hardesty, which I thought was a good pick, and still got two major bargains with McCoy in round 3 and Mitchell in round 6. Finally I have to consider what I think was the Browns biggest mistake, not trying to move up to 5 to get Eric Berry. While they may have made some sort of offer or known with certainty the Chief were not going to accept any trade that wasn't ridiculously lopsided, the Browns claim they didn't explore the scenario and whether or not that is true I can only take them at their word. I have to knock them down a peg for that (in my opinion) major blunder.

Browns Overall Draft Grade assigned way to early to mean anything and ultimately meaningless anyway: B

Jack Bacevice

1 comment:

  1. I like your grades. To me my favorite is we got a guy in McCoy who might turn out to be the QB of the future, or at least solid trade bait when he develops in a few year. Also we didn't trade up for Bradford a guy nobody is completely sold on being a franchise QB, and by doing so loose other valuable picks and add a bunch of salary that could handicap us. I really think Mike is looking for the QB of the future on the trade market someday instead of through the draft.