Grading a Draft is silly without seeing how a team evaluated talent. This information is only partially revealed in the selections that the team made. There is a science in how that aspect is conducted and ordered. But good drafting requires imagination and creativity. There are 32 different perspectives generated by 32 unique situations by teams with 32 sets of picks. This is the proverbial river -- the rising and falling of 10,000 things. I wanted to talk about how I think Farmer negotiated this river.
Our Goals: I think that Farmer was looking to add 4-6 players who would be +solid contributors. Positionally, (and Im not sure what to make of Josh Gordon info, so Im going to ignore it for now.) I would order their needs as followed. QB, WR2, OT/OG, ILB, CB2, FS. The quintessential draft problem is that the quality of available talent rarely syncs with the needs of a particular team. Getting the set of players that best improves the team is a form of high art. Let's critique.
Move 1. 4 to 9. A+++
I view this as an incredible value move that says so much about what the team was looking to do in this draft. Here you have a clear opportunity to draft what everyone says is an elite, difference making WR, and you trade into next years draft to move back 5 spaces. What this says to me is that the Browns didn't value Watkins like other teams in the league did. I think that Watkins lack of size and truly dynamic speed takes him out of the elite grouping. I love how Farmer played up Watkins to drive up the value of the pick. They got so much in compensation here. To me, its almost a TR type fleecing. All they have to do is get an elite player at 9, and they will go a long way in cementing this as a slam dunk play.
Move 2. 9 to 8. D+
Im really not sure why this move was made. My initial impression was that they were looking to get Evans. I still think that this is the case, but this and picking Gilbert at 8 doesnt really make sense. I think that he was certainly there at 9. Maybe even at 11 or 12. Here is one of the hardest aspects of the Draft Process. If they had gotten Evans here, they may have been able to complete a near perfect wish list. Missing out on Evans here means that they'd have to get a WR some place else. The only thing is, that the value of the WRs selected wont really sync up with their selections for the rest of the draft. The only place they could have done better was in round 3. It is the only pick that I truely question. Donte Moncrief could have been a great value pick too. Kirksey is incredibly athlethic and fills a big hole on Defense. He is the type of player that could have been picked up with the pick they are using to trade here. Its a gutsy move. If they would have landed Evans, then all would be forgotten. I applaud the aggressiveness, but here he really costs the franchise and I dont think that he gets any return at all for this move.
3. Gilbert at 8. A
Justin Gilbert is an elite Athlete at a huge position. He has great ball skills. He is slightly over drafted here, but you cant really knock that pick given who was left. There are no WRs worth this pick. But the secret to why this pick is so good is based on the availability of CBs in this draft. When they take a CB here, they get the best one. The next place you could pick one would be at 26. By 26, you have a huge drop off in talent, and you would need to move up to get Dennard or Verrett. Really after 26 you have Gaines, and thats pretty much it. Getting your CB early is a really important move. The other really weak spot in this class is at OT/ OG.
4. Moving from 26 to 22. B.
This seems like decent value, but was there a true return? My guess is that there was. Whether another team would have traded to get JFF, or if KC would have selected him, we wont know. I almost always appreciate aggressiveness. I think that this was a good move.
5. JFF at 22.
I dont need to say much about this pick. High risk/reward. Whatever. If you pick him, you have to take a ZBS OG at 35 because there wont be any left after that, and this is the offense you want.
6. Bitonio at 35. A
Like I said, there was no choice with this one. You couldnt have gotten a quick OG past this point. Ideally Sua Filo would have been the pick. But Bitonio is a good consolation prize. Tough, Versatile, Could have been a first rounder. There was no one of his caliber after him. There was a lot of bitching about not taking a WR here. I get it, but I dont think that the value was there. Of the players left, I would want in this order Latimer, Moncrief, Robinson, Richardson. None of those guys are ones who slipped out of the first. They all are second round talents. Maybe you'd want to trade back into the second to grab one. Maybe they tried. Obviously they didnt value Moncrief like I did. I thought he was a perfect value in the 3rd. But Bitonio will be on the field on every play. If JFF is going to be good he will need Superb pass protection AND they will need to be effective running the ball. OG would have been a huge hole. You cannot understate the importance of that pick given JFF.
7. Kirksey. at 71 Sigh. B
He looks like the type of player the Browns need at ILB. Additionally, there arent any ILBs that jump off the page in this draft. He is one that does. The problem is, that the Browns are running out of places to pick him. You might want to take him with your 2nd 3rd you traded to Philly and he could be on the field a bunch too. He may have been a more important piece to this team than Moncrief, but this looks like the mistake they made by over trading early. The player they got looks okay. They may have over drafted him. But they filled an important need where they really didnt have a body.
8 . trade and West at 94. A++
I was a lover of Brett Smith (UDFA). Im owning that. Equally, I am enamored with Terrance West. I watched all I could of this guy. He is the one RB in this class that I think has the chance to be truly special. With Hyde, I just dont think that he avoids contact enough to stay healthy and be effective long term. He also doesn't have great speed. Hyde has good vision and balance, but I dont think that he will be the type of player who will dominate at the next level. There are a couple of other decent backs like Tre Mason and Sankey who look the part and who I think will be good. But West is just different. He runs the football like Kyrie runs the point. He is gifted in that he combines being incredibly deceptive with being incredibly efficient. He avoids contact. His vision is off the charts. He gets every yard he has coming, and if a score is possible, you'd better believe he will make it happen. I LOOOOOOOOOVE this pick.
9. Desir at 127. A
What value! You wish you could have gotten a WR here. There really isnt much left. He has great length.
10. Trade with Ravens into next year. Im not sure if this is any value at all. You probably lose this trade with the Ravens if they make the playoffs.
1. Kinda pissed that Pittsburgh got Archer AND Shazier. They are doing that just to piss off Browns fans.
2. West was really stolen from Newsome. I think Ozzie wanted him.
3. If you knew youd get Desir at 127, do you think you would have done something different with 8?
4. It looks like the Browns are going to be better at running the Football. They'd better be. The Defense is could be great.