Twas The Night Before Draftmas!

Al Bello

And these are the 9 picks. . .

That I would write long letters about to Joe, Chud, Ray and "Mick"!

1. Dion Jordan: Dion Jordan is my "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!" And yes he's still my most coveted player even if I shoot my eye out!

He is what I consider a Type B player: Exceptional Physical Talent - Dion will be a starter in his first season and reach Pro Bowl status when fully developed; he has rare athletic ability and position skills; is a top 5 - 10 selection; but his college circumstances/system limited his production in that he wasn't asked to focus on rushing the passer and was used often in coverage schemes.

At 6'6", 248 pounds, there's no doubt the potential and the talent that exist within Dion Jordan. I think he is the best OLB prospect in the class due to his versatility. His athleticism, speed, fluidity in space and ability to cover the TE or WR in the slot (and dominate them) will be hard for the Browns to resist if he's available at #6.

Consider also that Jordan is only in his 2nd season as a pass rushing DE --- similar to the short learning curve of Ziggy Ansah. Jordan's roots are as a wide receiver and this skill set and understanding extend itself in coverage packages against opposing WR or TE. His length, speed, and explosion allow him to rush the passer whiling gaining the edge better than any prospect this year.

Jordan has a relentless motor and he's always flying to the ball, even 20 or 30 yards downfield. He has extremely active hands and has shown a good spin and swim move, which will provide a strong base skill set to build from at the next level. He really can do it all and in the type of scheme defensive coach Ray Horton wants to execute, Jordan could quickly reach Pro Bowl levels and give opposing offensive coordinators and head coaches' nightmares.

2. Barkevious Mingo: I am banking on Dion Jordan being gone by the time the Browns first round "present" is delivered at #6 so I go directly down my Wish List and find a player who will make the opposing QBs say "FUDGE" - Barkevious Mingo.

He is also what I consider a Type B player: Exceptional Physical Talent - Barkevious will be a starter in his first season and reach Pro Bowl status when fully developed; has rare athletic ability and position skills; is a top 5 - 10 selection; but his college circumstances/system limited his production in that he was asked to play contain most the time and only really being unleashed in the bowl game vs. Clemson.

Mingo has the skill set and athletic qualities to be a dominating pass rusher at the next level. He has a good stock of pass rush moves that he will be able to develop and strengthen. Mingo does a good job of disrupting passing lanes when he is unable to get to the QB. He shows good hand usage but will need to develop better technique.

His burst off the line is elite and is undoubtedly the best in this class. In terms of pure pass rusher ability, I believe Mingo is the best prospect in the draft. Where he doesn't get credit is that he can move in space nearly as fluidly and quickly as Dion Jordan and while I am not one to put my stock in a players' combine metrics, his do tell this story. The reason his production numbers were low was because he was never asked to just rush the passer, rather play "robber" most the time.

3. Tavon Austin: If I can't get my "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle", I at least want to get some high octane fuel to make Norv Turner's sleigh fly!

Austin's speed and explosion jump off the tape and scream "instant mismatch" and "game changer". I currently have him rated as my third highest player, taking a small recent jump up from the number four spot in my Browns specific board. In a recent discussion with my brother, Robert Krupka, he was also high on Austin: "Lots of teams would love to add that type of weapon and I think the 49ers might be trying to get ahead of the Rams to grab him."

I consider him a Type C & I Player: Physically Deficient Star / Speed Player - He is similar to a Type B in that he will be a starter in his first season and reach Pro Bowl status when fully developed; has rare athletic ability and position skills; is a top 5 - 10 selection; while his size is a deficiency, his production and abilities help him overcome that and his final grade cannot exceed his physical grade.

Many sources have confirmed the Browns would be open to discussing and exploring trade talks for the #6 pick. I wouldn't even need to if he was the player I wanted, as I would be fine if they picked him at #6 but Joe Banner has stated that in the event they trade back, he would want fair market value for the swap and the confidence that the total value they would add would be greater than that of the pick lost. Adding Austin helps that trade equation considerably, we would need to ensure we only drop back slightly, because he could literally and figuratively be gone!

Tavon Austin is electric with the ball in his hands and is an offensive coordinators dream. He can be used all over the field and instantly creates speed and coverage mismatches for defenses. Slot, X, Z, motion, pistol, reverse, bubble screen, pitch out, direct snap, option, hand off, slant, curl, post, out or "Hail-Mary"... the combination of Austin's versatility and speed with Trent Richardson's thunder is beyond exciting to consider.

4. Jonathan Cyprien: If The Red Ryder Bee-bee gun is Ralphie's ultimate present, Jonathan Cyprien is the old man's leg lamp.

I consider Cyprien a Type D Player: Pro Bowl Player - He has all the same components as a Type B player like Jordan and Mingo, but his athletic abilities are "only" near theirs. Cyprien will be drafted and be a starter in this league. As soon as first started to watch his film I had a feeling like I was watching a special talent.

I feel Cyprien has the ability to play either safety spot, showing the range, instincts, anticipation, hard hitting, and ball hawking ability to roam the secondary if needed and cause opposing QB's and WR's to wake up late at night sweating, a la the current Dwane Wade vs Kevin Durant Gatorade commercial. After further review, I have him back where I originally slotted him, as my highest safety in this draft class for the Browns. I would be beyond ecstatic if somehow we could land him via a trade back in the second round.

For me it would be like finding that stocking stuffer that you totally passed up in the morning, only to be reminded that it was there and not to forget about it; diving in and being overwhelmingly surprised and elated.

5. Robert Alford: If I were the Bumpuses' dogs, Alford would be my figurative turkey, the object I would do anything to get, even if I have to wait for a while for the perfect opening to do so.

I firmly believe that when I watch the type for Alford that I am watching a future Type D Player: Pro Bowl Player - Alford owns all the same skills as a Type B player, but his athletic abilities and production are "only" near theirs. He's a top 5 CB on my board and I would be thrilled with him in the 2nd round in a trade back where Cyprien was already off the board or somehow in the 3rd round. He would be what I consider an instant starter opposite Joe Haden and would give our defense the second corner back we need at an excellent value.

He is strong. Like really strong for a defensive back, tossing up 17 reps at the combine - and it shows on film consistently in his ability to play press coverage; consistently jam WR at the LOS; or beat blocks and find the play. He is very fluid and has a great back pedal with smooth, quick footwork. His hips are loose and he can flip them and run very well. His speed and explosiveness show up on film and helped him make up any lost space. His 4.39 second 40 yard dash at the combine only confirmed what I saw on the tape: he's very fast. He also impressed with a 132" broad jump showing his explosiveness, as well as a 40" vertical. It's those athletic qualities that I saw in him while watching him defend the pass and break up plays, and snag 4 INT's this season.


We've all been bad here and there, but another lump of coal? Please spare me these picks!

1. Dee Milliner: Please no, not at six! I would rather sit there with a red bar of soap in my mouth for the entire offseason. At six, this pick would make me say "FUDGE!"

I consider Dee Milliner to be a Type D Player: Pro Bowl Player - He has all the same components as a Type B player, but his athletic abilities are "only" near theirs. Meaning that while he may be the best cornerback in his class, he is not elite. Many fans will take this that I don't feel he will be good or that I don't feel the Browns need a starting cornerback. These are both false.

I don't see the value in drafting a Type D cornerback with the sixth overall pick when I feel confident that I can find a similar type player in the second or third rounds. Meaning, I feel that I can find the Browns a starting #2 cornerback at a better value and not spend the sixth overall pick on a similar player.

Watching Milliner's film was fun. The kid can play and is fast. However, he seems to struggle catching the ball and missed several interceptions during game play, which also showed up in his field drills at the combine. He was never asked to back pedal, which could expose him early and often at the next level. He also tends to dive at ball carriers instead of breaking down and tackling with technique.

2. Ryan Mallett: This is like a completely different movie, a completely dumb movie, in fact this is the type of movie you get up and walk out on.

I consider Mallett a Type E player: An Under-Achiever - A player that is usually attractive to teams due to his physical abilities but lacks overall competitiveness; is usually a coach killer; "buyer beware" and "boom or bust" player. May have mental lapses in concentration or have off the field concerns as well.

If we are associated with Mallett's name on draft day, and he ends up as a Brown, this means that we undoubtedly had to forfeit considerable assets to do so. I dislike this idea tremendously given how he grades out. This also means that Weeden likely won't get a fair shot to start in a new system that fits his style and strengths. That means the Browns would have wasted a first round pick on Weeden and then wasted assets and / or picks in the trade for Mallett, ultimately netting the Browns 2 similar players.

Give Weeden a year with Norv Turner. If he doesn't perform this year, go all in next year on your franchise guy, whoever that is.

Yeah, it's ok to say it. . . what a lump of coal!

3. Jarvis Jones: Jarvis Jones is like Scut Farkus. He appears to be tough but deep down he's nothing like you think he is.

I consider Jarvis Jones to be a Type D Player: Pro Bowl Player - He has all the same components as a Type B player, but his athletic abilities are "only" near theirs but there is a medical concern. Meaning that while he may be among the best linebackers in his class, he is not elite by any means.

The most important reason I do not want to consider Jarvis Jones with the sixth pick is because of his medical concerns. Say what you want, but the most medical grade are from team doctors and we will soon see if their concerns impact where he lands.

The next reason why I want nothing to do with Jarvis Jones because I do not think he fits the scheme here in Cleveland as a 3-4 OLB due to his inability and ineffectiveness to disengage from blockers. He struggled with this at Georgia and I think his production was more a function of his hustle and the scheme than it was anything else. Jones is not an elite athlete and I don't believe he has the frame to add considerable weight to be an every-down linebacker at the next level in the 3-4 but perhaps he can find a good, productive home somewhere in a 4 -3.

4. Matt Barkley: Lastly, Matt Barkley, aka the Pink Bunny Costume. Of all things I have to find on draft day, a pink bunny costume would be pretty damn bad and outright embarrassing with the #6 pick.

I'll keep it brief. Matt Barkley may well be a good NFL QB in time, but I just don't see how he will overcome his physical limitations or more importantly, how he would fit into a vertical offense here in Cleveland? He is a perfect West Coast QB, a game manager, a "point guard" but not an elite talent that will lead you to the Super Bowl and help your team pick up chunks of yardage vs. NFL secondaries.

Much like several past Cleveland QB's the intangibles are there: smart; good footwork; charismatic; huddle presence / leader; likeable; and good throwing on the run. But then you turn on the tape, you see a QB who ran a pro-style offense, with an average arm, who struggled with accuracy while essentially passing to 2 NFL WR's and not being able to step up in the pocket consistently or avoid the pass rush using his athleticism.

In fact if we draft Matt Barkley at #6 I will wear a Pink Bunny costume and take a picture of me in it and use that picture as my new avatar until next year's draft.

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