This picture has nothing to do with this story. I just freaking love it. Look at Fat Polamalu suck dust as Thomas makes Ike Taylor his stirm arm poster boy. I may use this picture for every story I write. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
This is not a McCoy vs. Player X. This is different.
Remember the game "Mousetrap"? The game that required 5 year-olds to have engineering degrees to set up a game? You spend 30 minutes setting up then another 30 minutes to play. All that time, all that anticipation for 10 seconds of results (of course that's assuming that the piece of crap actually works and you don't have to give the ball the ol' finger wedge).
That moment when the man jumps into the tub and sets the trap in motion, it is pure freaking ecstasy.
The reasoning is simple. It was a pain in the ass to get to that point; it took time, energy, adult swear words, etc. You get the idea, this was no simple task.
For the past two seasons, Heckert and Holmgren have been setting up their Mousetrap board. Come April 26th, it's time for H&H to turn that crank and set this trap in motion.
2010 NFL DRAFT
Holmgren and Heckert were the new guys. They were taking over a roster that was filled with veteran place fillers and almost no young talent. Sure there were some pieces (Joe Thomas, Tuba Rubin, Alex Mack, DQ) but we lacked everything.
H&H wanted to start with the biggest need of all. They wanted a Quarterback in the worst way. Remember the Holmgren quote of "I wish I liked Jimmy Clasen more"? They guy was jonesing to take a QB. The one they really wanted was Bradford. They went after Bradford, and they went hard. Well we all know that the Rams passed on the deal.
So what do you do when a plan doesn't go they way you want? You adapt. That's just what H&H did. H&H looked at the draft board and decided to attack another weakness. The secondary.
H&H acquired Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong for a 4th and 5th round picks. They then used the 1st and 2nd round picks on Joe Haden and TJ Ward. Sure we took McCoy (which lends to the thought that the Browns wanted a QB in this draft) but he was a project that had a low chance of working out.
Three fourth's of our starting secondary was picked up in one draft. This is important because it took care of a major need in one swoop. No longer would we "need" to use picks on the secondary. If someone we liked fell in our laps, we "could" take them, but we didn't have to chase a tough to fill role.
2011 NFL DRAFT
This was by far the biggest set-up. McCoy had shown the fans that he could be the possible answer. He "could" be the guy. The rational line of thinking is to give that "possible answer" weapons. Build around him and see if he can take that next step.
But H&H played it smart (more on this later). It was right in front of them. Julio Jones, the supposed "game breaking WR" that we were starving for. It was the greatest need and supposed BPA colliding. This is what is supposed to happen right? We had to take Jones.
But H&H had a plan.
Instead, Atlanta drunk off a playoff exit, decided that they needed Julio, badly. They offered the world.
Browns took the deal. They took a pick that was worth 1,600 points on the trade chart and sent it packing. What they got back was the 27th pick (680 points), 59th pick (310 pts.), 124th (48 pts.), 22nd in 2012 (780 pts.) and roughly the 118th pick in 2012 (58 pts. this will drop after compensation draft picks are awarded).
1600 points out the door and 1876 walk in. Hot damn, now we're cooking.
So H&H took those picks, moved back up and scooped up Phil Taylor, a guy they can play next to Tuba Rubin for the next six-plus years. They also picked up Jabaal Sheard, a guy who plays like a first rounder and is a keeper. Not too shabby for a late round first and second rounder.
With those two moves alone, they made their weakest link on the entire team, into one of the youngest, strongest, most exciting groups that we have had here in a long time. Sure we need help at DE, but again we leave a draft with 3/4ths of a group handled on one draft. We don't "need" to grab a defensive lineman. If someone we liked fell into our laps, we "could" pick him up, but we don't have to chase.
But the biggest thing, is that we added ammo to this season's draft.
If I had to guess, I would say that H&H didn't think Colt McCoy was the guy after his rookie season. They saw first hand what became apparent this season. Struggled on his pre-snap reads. Struggled to stretch a defense vertically. Struggled to make the throws to scare a defense. Great kid, not a great QB.
They knew before we did. So they planned ahead.
2012 NFL DRAFT
This season, they enter the draft with 3,120 points in first and second rounders alone. That doesn't even account for the 3rd and two 4th round picks. In layman's terms, the Browns are walking into a gun fight with an Uzi.
H&H have addressed the other areas of the team enough to get us by. We need a triggerman.
H&H have acquired picks while developing the other areas of their roster. They have waited patiently to spring their trap to catch that damn mouse. Now, I can't say the trap will work perfectly and we will draft our Super Bowl winning QB. Who knows, maybe the ball gets hung up going down the track and we draft a bust, I don't know.
But it's time to crank that wheel. We are leaving the 2012 NFL Draft with a Quarterback.