Let’s get geared up for the season and look at the Browns unit by unit. The performance rating is as follows. A 10 means you are in the top 3 units in the league. A 5 means you would be between 15-17 as a unit and a 1 would therefore mean you are in the 30-32 range. So let the subjective rankings begin:
1. RB/FB – 6 out of 10. Start off with my belief that Peyton Hillis is a GAM (Grown Arse Man). While I am prejudiced, to me he is a top 5 back. He can run with power, he can gash your perimeter, he can pick up blocks, and he can catch the ball. So he doesn’t run a 4.4 – I can live with that. From there, our depth becomes a huge issue. We have had 2 very small samples of Montario. Last year those glimpses showed an enticing combination of electricity and power. This year those glimpses looked unsure and tentative. Armond Smith – just not ready for prime time. I am assuming that Owen M. is the “toughest guy ever named Owen” and will be adequate.
2. QB – 5.5 out of 10. This means that Colt becomes a top 15 QB – and while I am McCoy fan, I think that the WCO makes it very possible, even with the most objective of anlayses . Quite frankly, I have been stunned how quickly he has picked up the WCO. I had expected Seneca to out-perform Colt due to his experiences in the system, and the fact he did not is a real tribute to the teaching of Shurmur and work ethic of Colt. I also give points as I still think Seneca is a fine 2nd string QB that will perk up in the regular season. Kudos to Heckert and Shurmur for the new guy – great pickup, and I like him studying film from day 1. I think the teams gaining a roster spot with 2 QBs are a little short sighted on the issue, and most will regret it later.
3. Secondary – 5.0 out of 10. The CBs are very solid, Haden will be an All-Pro and Sheldon will hold up better than Wright. Really excited by the speed in the young CBs. Points down for the inexperience in the backup CBs and the continued failure to get true free safety to shore up the pass defense. While I love the effort and professionalism of Mike Adams – when you mention “Mike Adams” and “NFL Starter” in the same sentence – you have some issues.
4. Wide Receiver/TE – 4.5 out of 10. While I really believe that MoMass and Robo are in the bottom 5 as a starting tandem – it gets better from there. First of all, there is little if any drop off in our WRs from 2 thru 5. Kudos to Heckert, as even our 6th WR is an exciting prospect. Little may be a starter by year end, and Norwood is my surprise pick to become a nice slot WR. So this may not be the most talented squad – but certainly the deepest unit on the team – by far. TE is another top notch area. Watson is downright good – and Evan Moore a potential match up nightmare for anybody. So depth and TE move us to around the middle of the pack as a total receiving unit.
5. Offensive Line – 4.5 out of 10. If it wasn’t for injuries, this would be our top ranked unit. 1 HOFer and a potential Pro Bowler out of 5 starters. But Pashos is the largest hunk of glass in the world, and this will be a patchwork unit. It is never a good sign when a guy is cut the week of gameday, and then is picked up to start for our Browns. I am worried that Hicks, Lavou and Pinkston are among the 5 most important Browns in the early season, and no one knows how they will perform. If the guards can't hold up in the middle of the line - that is big problems, even against Cincy.
6. Linebackers – 4.0 out of 10. Another area that would be ranked higher if not for injury and depth concerns. Really concerned about Gocong in the short term. It is definitely possible that he has suffered some sort of nerve damage, and those injuries are about as unpredictable as a back injury. DQ is a warrior, and looks fully recovered, but still took away for longer term injury concerns. And again - just no proven depth behind DQ, Fujita, and Gocong.
7. Defensive Line – 3.0 out of 10. While the lowest ranked unit – it has a very high ceiling. The problem is that you have exactly 1 guy that has taken significant NFL snaps at his current position, and that is if you count Tuba’s NT experience as DT experience. When you look at the DL depth, it really justifies the drafting strategy of Heckert. But for 2011 the fact is that no backup DT has played significant snaps at DT in the NFL, and no DE took a snap as a 4-3 DE last year – period. I was hoping for a vet pickup – but looks like Pat and Heckert like what they got – and the potential is there. Taylor is massive and showed burst in Philly – just dominating his former Baylor Bear teammate. Jabaal - it looks like a long, learning year for the youngster, but Tuba is ready to star. So high on ceiling – low on depth, and basically just an unproven unit.
So what did I screw up? What areas are rated too high or too low?