Grossi: Browns Targeting Defensive Unknown at 6

Joe Robbins

There are many options for the Browns with the number 6 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft but speculation abounds as to what direction the new front office will go.

Yesterday on The Really Big Show Tony Grossi was on the air talking about the Browns draft process and what we were looking to do. He said that there is a player on our radar with the #6 pick who is not really being discussed at the moment and mentioned that this player is not very well known at the moment but that this player will be very well known at the end of the draft process. Grossi feels this year's draft is a great example of a draft where a player can shoot up the charts and land as a top 10 pick. He also inferred that the pick would be a defensive player.

Interesting.

So who could this unknown dark-horse be? Seriously. This scares me a little bit. There will undoubtedly be very good and very well known players available on the board at 6: Star. Floyd. Warmack. Fisher. Cooper. Mingo. Jordan. Milliner. Rhodes. Ansah. Werner. Jones. Brown.

So who can it be?

We've all weighed in on the Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner. Joe as a talent guy? Let's wait and see. Joe Banner as the CEO? Well let's give the man his props. He has assembled what I believe to be the strongest overall coaching staff the Cleveland Browns have had in a long time. He has also added excellent, smart and up-and-coming marketing and business professionals on the inside of the organization. As for Lombardi, in what is probably better spoken in the words and voice of Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV: "If I can change; then you can change; then Lombardi can change!". Well maybe he didn't say that, but you get the point.I just hope it's true.

But a unknown player at 6? A darkhorse? Seesh. That's not giving me that cozy, triumphant feeling I was hoping for. This all feels eerily similar to what we've seen in the past. A new regime selling us their vision of hope and change; another new plan that asks more patience from fans; and now an owner who's not even in the building ... again?

This nucleus is different though. We have a new owner who cares and who didn’t just invest ( in the voice of Dr. Evil ) one billion dollars to watch the team fail. We have a roster stocked with young talent on both sides of the ball and a coaching staff who is actually competent and will be able to coach and mold our young players. It goes without saying that continuing to add talent in the draft and deciding on our franchise QB is of the utmost importance if the Browns have any chance of creating sustainable success on the lakeshore. Haslam knows this; Banner knows this; we as fans have known it for years.

So I asked myself this question a few weeks back and it makes sense to share it with you now given what Grossi discussed yesterday - what could Cleveland Browns fans glean from the "Joe Banner drafts" in Philly and the "Mike Lombardi drafts in Oakland"? Was there anything "in there" that could help fans see ahead to April's draft and perhaps have an inkling into where they might be focusing?

Based on the draft research I compiled from the 1997 - 2012 Eagles and the 1984-2007 Raiders, the answer is that there are certainly some interesting trends. In my quest I only looked at the first four rounds and which positions were picked. I didn't evaluate performance, just position and probability. Here's the breakdown:

EAGLE'S / BANNER'S Round by Round Position Breakdown

First Round

Second Round

Third Round

Fourth Round

DL - 55%

DB - 24%

LB - 33%

DB - 47%

OL - 18%

LB / WR - 18%

RB - 25%

OL - 21%

WR - 18%

DL / OL - 12%

DL / DB - 17%

LB / WR - 10%

DB - 9%

RB / QB / TE - 6%

WR - 8%

K / QB / TE / RB / DL - 5%

EAGLES / BANNER'S Overall 4 Round Trend

DB - 22%

DL - 19%

LB - 15%

OL - 14%

WR - 13%

RB - 8%

TE - 3%

K - 2%

QB - 2%

OAKLAND'S / LOMBARDI'S Round by Round Position Breakdown

First Round

Second Round

Third Round

Fourth Round

DB - 45%

TE - 30%

LB - 40%

WR / DL - 29%

QB / OL / DL / K / TE /LB - 9%

OL - 20%

OL - 20%

RB / DB / LB - 14%

QB / WR / LB / DL / DB - 10%

RB / WR / QB / DB - 10%

RAIDER'S / LOMBARDI'S Overall 4 Round Trends:

DB - 21%

LB - 18%

OL - 13%

DL - 10.5%

WR - 10.5%

TE - 10.5%

QB - 8%

RB - 5%

K - 3%

---

The fact that I'm not overlooking in all of this data is that each draft is not inherently owned by one person. Most fans don't know with certainty who made what picks in each of their respective draft rooms year in and year out, i.e., the Al Davis effect, but, based on this data Lombardi and the Raiders drafted a DB over 45% of the time in the first round while Banner and the Eagles took a DL over 50% of the time in the first round. Both Banner and Lombardi have shown a strong affinity for defense, particularly DB / LB heavy drafts. I admit that it's hard for hardcore statisticians to extrapolate this data and apply it seamlessly to the upcoming April 2013 draft, but given what Grossi said yesterday, if you believe him, I think this data can help us begin to narrow our focus of what position this defensive darkhorse could be.

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