There has been a LOT of scrutiny lately on our rookie draft class for a couple of reasons.
1) We're tanking at 1-10 and demand out rookies play in order to at least develop.
2) A couple of rookies either arn't seeing the field (see: Francies) or even suiting up (See: Veikune, Roboskie).
This has led to some frustrating debates on what could have been, what should have been, and what went wrong again. At this point, I'm starting to get sick of all the draft bashing. Mostly because people should wait a few years before judging busts. Partly because we don't have much else to do.
Having said all that, why not critique a class that's plenty eligible for critiscm? Hindsight is 20/20 after all.
In the 2007 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select:
Joe Thomas LT, 3'rd overall
Joey T has been a S-T-U-D stud for us since he got here. He has man handled just about every rusher he's gone up against (most notably Jared Allen of the Vikings in week 1), and been to two straight pro bowls with a chance to go to a third. As far as picks go, he was a pretty safe pick (as admitted by, then, GM Phil Savage). We could have had Adrian Peterson, but I doubt too many fans would redo the pick since we have a franchise LT for the first time since coming back. The best pick since 1999 in my opinion.
Brady Quinn QB, 22'nd overall
Quinn's legacy: After holding out, watching from the bench for 1 1/2 seasons (save one relief series at the end of 07), going 1-1 before breaking his finger (ending his season), getting the nod for the start of 09' but getting pulled half-way through the Ravens game after going 0-2 as the starter, and sitting for five more games before finally getting the nod again and totalling a starting record of 0-5 (of start-to-finish games). Did I miss anything?
Quinn showed some stuff last year, but that was with a competent play caller. The start of the year, he looked like a rookie instead of a guy who's supposedly been developing on the sidelines per traditional procedure. Lately he's looked a little more poised in the pocket, with better sense of the pressure. I really think you could go either way here. On the one hand, he's been about average. On the other, the play calling sucks, and we lack some of the support young QB's need in order standout (i.e. impact players at the ball handling positions) and that he'll continue to grow. I'm in favor of keeping this guy for another year and seeing what he does with a full off season as the starter.
Eric Wright CB, 53'rd overall
Despite what announcers may have said, Wright is not a top 5 corner. But I still think he's a pretty good corner. For the most part, he seems to be in control of his position, doesn't get burned that often (when he does, I've noticed its against crafty veterns), and has made quite a few plays for the turnover game. However, his ability may not show since is may find that he has to cover his man for about 6 seconds. If we get some more defensive pieces (and start pressuring the QB consitently) I believe Wright CAN become a top 10 corner for sure.
As a side note, he came into his rookie season with character issues involving legal manors. So far he's been a choir boy.
Could've had: No one that really jumps out at me except Green Bay's RB Brandon Jackson so I'm very satisfied with this pick.
Brandon Mcdonald CB, 140'th overall
Where do I start? Looking around at the other picks (Steve Breaston, anyone?), McDonald still looks like a good pick. But he's been burned badly before, the victim of bad tackling, and benched (correct me if I'm wrong) 3 times only to be put back in later. I agree with Chris' evaluation during training camp, I think he'd make a great nickle back. But if we look at our corner depth, we don't really have a choice but to start him again. He does have a knack for interceptions though...think'd he'd play offense for us? *laughs*
Melia Purcell DE, 200'nd overall + Chase Pittman DE, 213'rd overall
I'm lumping these guys together because they've both pretty much become the same thing. CUT. We got these guys thinking that they'd add some depth to our line. I'm pretty sure neither is with the team anymore. But giving how low they were picked, it's somewhat to be expected. Not every 6'th + 7'th rounder can be a Tom Brady or a Marques Colston.
Syndric Steptoe WR, 234'th pick
Here's some interesting trivia: Chansi Stuckey was picked exactly one pick after Steptoe was by the Jets. Stuckey was part of our trade deal to ship Edwards out, and Steptoe was cut by the end of training camp this year. Coincidence? Well Steptoe was forced into starting action after Stallworth and Jurevicious both went down. Truth be told, he had a phenomanal training camp/preseason so he truly earned his way onto the team that year. But he should have been more of a 3'rd or 4'th wide out in spread formations that year. We never saw that same potential again. So here we are.
Notably: This was the year we got UDFA fullback Charles Ali. The guy was good, but I guess we didn't need him with Vickers.