"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. This past week saw the controversial kickoff rule change and some more draft-related news and nuggets.
Since last week's edition of The Sunday Five, the NFL owners voted to change where the football is placed prior to a kickoff. I think I made my opinion of the rule change pretty clear in a series of articles. Like the majority of folks here, I hate the rule change, but now I have to accept it and consider how the Browns can still utilize the strengths of Joshua Cribbs. I'm not overly concerned with kickoffs in which Cribbs will field the ball a couple of yards into the end zone; I'd be more concerned with how our blockers do under a new special teams coach. The blocks didn't seem very good on kickoffs last year. Coupled with his injury, that made Cribbs a below average return man. The Cribbs we all know and love, assuming he has good blocking, will return kicks out to the 35 or 40 yard line every time; pushing the kickoffs up a couple of yards might hurt the starting position a little, but it can still be better than taking a knee. The thing I remain concerned with is a guy like Billy Cundiff kicking it out of the end zone on a regular basis, preventing any chance of a return.
The SB Nation writer's mock draft is underway, and my pick should be posted in a couple of days. I have to be honest; I was a bit disappointed at the players who had already been taken by the time I was on the clock. It felt like last year when the Browns missed out on safety Eric Berry.
Speaking of safeties, could the Browns throw everyone a curveball and find a way to take another safety early in the draft? The "easy" thing for Cleveland to do at safety is to bring Abram Elam back for a bargain and deal with whatever productivity you're going to get out of him. It doesn't sound like Mike Holmgren wants the Browns to be big spenders in free agency, and it isn't a guarantee they will get a guy they want if it takes place after the draft. The 2011 NFL Draft Class is quite thin at safety, but maybe they take a look at Chris Conte or DeAndre McDaniel in the second- or third- round of the draft? The secondary was mentioned as a position, along with the defensive line, that Holmgren wants to improve this offseason. That doesn't mean it has to be a cornerback though; it could very well be a safety.
An Atlanta Falcons newspaper blog speculates that the Falcons will be interested in making a push to trade up for receiver A.J. Green with either the Bengals or the Browns. The Falcons currently hold the No. 27 pick overall. The paper suggests that the Falcons would probably have to give up their second round picks this year and next year in addition to that pick. If the Falcons picked sooner, it might be a compelling trade. No. 27 overall sounds a bit too late for my liking. It almost sounds like they are trading an early second-round pick and an early-third round pick for a high first-round pick. A throw-in player might help, but with the lockout situation right now, trading of players is forbidden.
I listened in on our quarterly conference call at SB Nation this past week and continue to remain thrilled to be a part of the network. I can't talk about most of the stuff that was discussed, but I can convey that the technical team is always working to improve the user and blogger interfaces and that a more convenient mobile app should be available at some point.