If coach Mangini ends up staying on with the Browns (and I think that is becoming a very large IF at this point) he will probably end up having significant input into the 2010 draft. This is a key draft in the future of the Browns as we will have 11 picks and there are needs at almost every position. So the question: Is coach Mangini someone in whom you want to put your trust to rebuild the Browns for the future? I thought one way of looking at this would be to look at the most recent draft. It can be argued that Alex Mack was a decent first pick. But let's look at the picks that immediately followed Mack to see how well they have performed. To avoid the tendency to "cherry pick" in these kind of hindsight exercises, I'll look at all the picks that were made until our 2nd pick, Brian Robiskie (more on this later).
22 Percy Harvin This guy has been a beast. I don't even have to look at the stats.
23 Michael Oher Another obvious success. Can you imagine what our line would be like with Thomas on the left and Oher on the right?
24 Jerry Perla A DT drafted by the Falcons. I can't find any reference to him in the NFL at all so I assume he was a big bust. I don't think the Browns would have drafted a tackle this high in the draft.
25 Vontae Davis DB Starter for the Dolphins in all games. Has 2 INTs including one a pick 6 and 35 combined tackles.
26 Clay Matthews Jr Besides the obvious link to the Browns' past and the fact that we really needed linebackers, Matthews has done well for the Packers. He has started all games, has 29 combined tackles, 5 pass defenses, 5 sacks and a forced fumble. I like that he seems to have pass rushing AND pass defense skills.
27 Donald Brown RB drafted by the Colts. Has played in 9 games and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Has 2 TDs and 10 receptions for 157 yards. Pretty decent for a non-featured back.
28 Eric Wood A center drafted by the Bills. Has started all games so far for the Bills so he is an immediate contribution. The quality of that contribution might be suspect as the Lions have 33 sacks against them. If we don't pick Mack, maybe he goes to Detroit and we get Wood instead of Robiskie?
29 Hakeem Nicks Giants WR. Has played in 9 games. Has 32 receptions for 538 yards and 4 TDs. Compare to Robiskie who is MIA and has 1 reception for 23 yards. Massaquoi compares favorably with Nicks and was picked a full round later.
30 Kenny Britt WR drafted by the Titans. Has played in all games. 33 receptions for 521 yards and 2 TDs. And this with a team that lost its first 6 games badly.
31 Beanie Wells Beanie was another obvious local favorite. I wasn't that interested in him but... 108 attempts for 489 yards gives 4.5 per attempt, not bad. Does have 3 fumbles though.
32 Ziggy Hood A DT with anemic stats who has seen action in almost every Steelers game. Doesn't seem like a very good pick up. Again, I doubt the Browns would have gone for a DT but this guy looks like a bust.
1 Louis Delmas This DB has started all games for the Lions. He has 61 combined tackles, a sack, a safety and an interception. Pretty decent rookie stats.
2 Pat Chung Another DB that has played in all the Patriots game so far but only started in 1. 28 combined tackles, 2 sacks and an INT. Kind of mediocre.
3 James Laurinaitis Another obvious regional pick for the Browns who has started in all games for the Rams. 85 combined tackles, a sack, 2 INTs. Once again, linebacker was an obvious need for the Browns--much more obvious than center or WR.
Of the list above I'd say there are 3 that look to be total busts (two of these being DTs which would not have been a Browns priority) and 2 that could go either way. That leaves 9 that are looking to be pretty decent and at least have contributed to their teams in a meaningful way this year.
So these are all guys we could have had instead of Mack, a center. There is no question that some of these guys would have filled greater priorities with the Browns. Though Mack is a good addition, is it worth passing on all these others to get a center at that point in the 1st round? Wouldn't a decent linebacker, RB, or DB have had more of an immediate impact? Wouldn't an OT like Oher have greater potential of strengthening your offensive line than Mack?
Then there is Robiskie, a guy with 1 reception that hasn't even been suited up in most of the Browns games this year. Robiskie was supposed to be one of the most "NFL ready" wide receivers in the draft. You can go back right now on the draft sites and see this stated over and over again. Massoquoi would fall into the "pretty decent" category but Veikune looks to be no better than Robiskie and Maiava is definitely sub-par in his position (though not a definite bust at this point).
This is hindsight but that is the only way you can analyze the performance of rookies at this point in the season--having seen them play a bit and accumulate some statistics. Contrasting the performance of players taken at about the same point in the draft as the Browns one might think that Mangini moved up and cherry-picked the bad apples from the bunch.
So the question is: do you want to trust the future of your team to coach Mangini after seeing a pretty obvious lack of ability to pick talent from the draft? Note that IF you are going to cut all of your established talent, which has been done with this team, you need to build mostly through the draft. So either, Mangini and his staff are very poor judges of football talent or they are poor at helping rookies to reach their full potential. A topic for another discussion... "does Mangini have the ability to get the best out of his veterans either?" Discuss that one amongst yourselves.
If Lerner and his advisors are noticing this, and all indications I've heard is that they are noticing, this becomes another compelling reason to suppose that the Mangini Regime is on its way out of Cleveland at the end of this football season.