Before the draft, we were wondering if any of the trade rumors regarding the Cleveland Browns would come true. Would QB Brady Quinn, QB Derek Anderson, or WR Braylon Edwards be on the move? Well, get this folks: the Browns made three trades in the first round alone -- although none of them involved us parting with players.
When the Browns first sat on the clock at No. 5 overall, they had to be disappointed that LB Aaron Curry was selected at No. 4 by the Seattle Seahawks. I just don't see how we could have passed up that potential if he were on the board, which means that we probably wouldn't have made any trades.
Clearly, based on our quick dealings, George Kokinis and Eric Mangini had this "backup plan" in mind all along, especially with the New York Jets. You don't just make a deal that includes three current NFL players in a matter of ten minutes -- there has to be some prior negotiation.
The Jets needed a QB, so they traded up to the No. 5 spot. How ironic is it that Mangini was negotiating with his former team? Business is business, though, and that's all that counts. Yesterday, I took down the tagline that I had on this site for about a month that read "Converting Green to Orange and Brown, Day-by-Day". In hindsight, I should have left that message up.
The Browns dropped down to the No. 17 overall pick and also acquired the Jets' No. 52 pick. That in itself would not have been a very good trade, but here is the part that made it bearable: three quality players from the Jets.
- QB Brett Ratliff - We could have a QB battle between Quinn and Anderson still, and then end up trading Anderson in training camp to a team that needs him. Ratliff at least provides us with a ready backup. His experience is at a minimum, but from what I saw of him in the preseason last year, I'd feel more comfortable with him than Ken Dorsey.
- DE Kenyon Coleman - We can't stress how important it is to have a rotation at the defensive line position. Last year, we seemed set at the start of the season, but the Robaire Smith injury set us back. Coleman has the experience, recording 83 tackles in 2007 and 55 tackles last season.
- S Abram Elam - This is probably the most critical pickup in this trade, because he will probably be the leading candidate to start opposite Brodney Pool at safety. The Browns originally tried to sign Elam as a restricted free agent a few months ago, but the Jets (somewhat surprisingly) matched the offer and kept him, reportedly because they felt he was important to the team.
From there, the Browns did a little more shuffling to move down from the No. 17 spot. First, we traded with Tampa Bay to exchange first-round picks (they had No. 19 overall), and we also acquired their pick at No. 191. When we were on the clock again, we made our final trade of the evening, this time to the Philadelphia Eagles. We again exchanged first round picks (they had No. 21 overall), and we acquired their pick at No. 194.
Finally, after all of that ruckus, the Browns settled on selecting C Alex Mack. I love the idea of having Mack, as I stated a couple of days ago in my draft primer. I'm not excited about having to pick him a little earlier than I would've liked, but I'm not going to curse out Kokinis and Mangini for the pick. Hank Fraley was a liability on the line, and now I feel a lot more secure about the development of Brady Quinn heading into this season. We also are in line to have a better line for RB Jamal Lewis to be in front of.
The Browns' next two picks also addressed positions of need, wide receiver.
I am already salivating over the concept of removing the horrors of our wide receiver position last year, when Donte Stallworth did nothing and Syndric Steptoe was put in a starting situation when he had proved nothing.
- At No. 36 overall, we took Ohio State product Brian Robiskie. He was touted as being the most polished or "ready" wide receiver in the draft. In other words, he should be able to step in and be as productive as he can be without going through the "rookie" learning experiences.
NFL ready? Young player? I guess Quinn and Robiskie will be on the same page in terms of expectations at least.
- At No. 50 overall, we took Mohamed Massaquoi of Georgia. I certainly didn't expect two receivers in a row, but as I stated above, the concept is intriguing. Part of our team's problem two years ago (when we should have made the playoffs) was that we didn't have a third receiver. Now, we potentially have three receivers who can contribute. Also, if one of them is a bust, at least we can fall back on the other guy.
Now, here is the somewhat controversial part to the picks above. When we were on the clock at No. 36 overall, the following players were still available:
- LB Rey Maualuga (No. 38 overall)
- LB Everette Brown (No. 43 overall)
- LB Connor Barwin (No. 46 overall)
Barwin wasn't the surprise -- seeing Maualuga and Brown in the second round were the shockers. The Browns passed on both of them, but don't neglect the fact that so did "X" number of other teams. Considering that I was emphatic about linebacker being the Browns' biggest need though heading into the draft, I think only time will tell whether this was an "OK" decision for management to make.
With our final pick of Day 1, we did get that linebacker I was looking for -- Hawai'i product David Veikune. I'll have to compile a scouting report on him in the next few days, but rufio loved the selection and called him the type of [pass-rushing] linebacker we needed.
In conclusion, the first day for the Browns seemed like a very fair day. It was certainly more eventful than last year, but it wasn't a draft that shattered expectations. We didn't disappoint either, which is all I can ask for from new management.
At least it wasn't like the Oakland Raiders or the Denver Broncos, eh?
(One other note: thanks to everyone for sticking around DBN in the open draft threads! And, a huge thanks to rufio for picking up the slack while I was away, as well as the DBN Big Board he has compiled over the past few weeks.
Be sure to come back tomorrow bright and early at 10:00 AM. We don't have a third round pick, but after three trades today, would you really bet your money on us not having a selection in that round when it's all said and done?)