Do you know why I like Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto? Any time I read one of his columns, I come away completely satisfied (and not only does he discuss the Browns, he discusses the Indians and Cavs too). Where as other media outlets have been reporting the following...
-Browns need help at cornerback
-Browns could trade for Lito or Law
-Why isn't Kellen Winslow in camp?
...Pluto covers a breadth of topics, ensuring that other players do exist in Berea at these practice sessions. Here is a recap of Pluto's latest editorial, with some added notes by me:
PLUTO ON BILLS CB ASHTON YOUBOTY
"He's traded draft picks for players, players for draft picks -- and even made a few player-for-player trades, which aren't that common in the NFL. That means he'll take a risk, and it's safe to assume he will make some sort of trade to get a cornerback. Yes, Buffalo's Ashton Youboty is a possibility. Buffalo has soured on the former Ohio State star, and the Bills have brought in veteran corner Will James and drafted three cornerbacks (including Akron's Reggie Corner). So he is available.
Can Youboty help? He's played in only 14 games in two pro seasons, and has not made much of an impact. He had the dreaded high-ankle sprain last season. In 2006, he had a rough rookie season as his mother died. He is only 23 and was a third-round pick in 2006. There was a feeling at OSU that he left school a year too early. He played for Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker at OSU, so Tucker will have a major say in how hard the Browns pursue him. Not speaking directly about Youboty, Savage said: 'There is another Daven Holly out there, a guy another team has given up on him and can help us. We just have to find him.'"
-Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer
I know I said this would be a recap, but I was compelled to quote Pluto's entire section on Youboty because of it's importance (and, it's a unique perspective deriving away from Lito and Law).
Can Youboty help? Maybe I'm being a little biased because I'm somewhat of an Ohio State Buckeyes fan, but I agree with Pluto's assessment that Youboty is exactly the type of player that Savage is looking for. Rotoworld.com picked up on Pluto's assessment as well, and are reporting that it'd probably only take a sixth-round draft pick to acquire him.
CB Ashton Youboty intercepting a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles.
I know the logic exists out there to trade Travis Wilson to a team that's thin at the receiver position, but player-for-player deals are less attractive than acquiring another draft pick. Rotoworld also suggests that we trade away one of our inside linebackers (Andra Davis) to the Bills in exchange for Youboty. That might be an attractive proposal, but then again it would put us in a predicament at linebacker if Leon Williams or Beau Bell were to go down.
Speaking of Bell, Pluto thought he looked good in practice, and has already stated that it wouldn't be a surprise if he pushed Davis for playing time early on in the season. When someone makes that impression in the first couple of OTA sessions, Davis' chances don't sound too good. D'Qwell Jackson was reportedly the best of our inside linebackers, to no surprise.
ON GARY BAXTER'S STATUS
"Then there is Gary Baxter. As Savage said, if he makes a full comeback after tearing both ACLs, "it will be a miracle." But it is possible that Baxter might be able to come back enough to help as a backup safety and/or nickel back. He has stayed close to the team, and is making progress. More will be known when the Browns wear pads and begin to hit during veterans camp this summer."
ON LECHARLES BENTLEY'S STATUS
"Here's the latest with LeCharles Bentley. He needs to have his surgeon clear him to play, then he needs to pass the Browns' physical. He skipped the voluntary OTAs to continue to work on his knee with his personal trainer. From a practical view: Until Bentley is on the field taking part in practices with blocking and tackling, there's really not much to say about him."
-Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer
In other words, it's hard to project if either of these guys can make a contribution to the Browns this season (and, it's now or never). Until they are in practice or on the field though, it's best not to set any expectations for them. After all -- if we wouldn't have been so excited about the "potential" of Baxter and Bentley coming back last season, we would've been less disappointed when they were placed on the shelf.
-Jamal Lewis was in excellent physical condition.
-Donte Stallworth struggled a bit, but nothing worthy of concern at this point.
-Re-trying Brodney Pool at the cornerback position may become an alternative.
Browns WR Donte Stallworth (picture credited to OBR's Jeff Wills)
While I'm at it, here is Sunday's link collection:
Youboty to Browns? (Buffalo Rumblings, SB Nation)
OTA photo gallery from the OBR (Orange & Brown Report)
A 17th game is not as easy as it seems (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Browns not showing interesting in Lito Sheppard (Bleeding Green Nation, SB Nation)
13 new things I can't wait to see in NFL '08 (Sporting News)
Hey, Tony! Your Browns questions answered (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!