Alabama running back Trent Richardson holds up a Cleveland jersey and stands next to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Cleveland Browns select him as the #3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 26, 2012. UPI /John Angelillo
After the first two quarterbacks, there was one great player in the NFL Draft, and the Browns made sure they got him by trading up from #4 to #3 to grab Trent Richardson. There are conflicting reports about whether Minnesota really had other offers on the table, but the Browns paid a small price for certainty, which makes sense when you have a stud like Richardson.
I also love the selection of Brandon Weeden. It sounds like the Browns would have nabbed Kendall Wright at #22 had he been there and then traded up to get Weeden, but they obviously decided to pull the trigger and not risk losing Weeden once Wright was gone.
I was willing to give Colt McCoy another year, as he faced serious challenges last year with a new system, no offseason, the Hillis drama and problems on the O-line. But that said, we desperately needed to upgrade the quarterback position. Now we have a guy with size and a big arm.
I’m tired of seeing the Browns get pushed around by teams like the Steelers and Ravens, and now we have a badass running back along with a big quarterback with a big arm.
It also looks like many of the players the Browns would be considering at #22 will be available around pick #37, with several wide receivers and offensive linemen. My preference right now is Stephen Hill, as he adds more size and serious speed at wide receiver. With Richardson running the ball, and with a Weeden/Hill threat for deep passes, defensive coordinators will have serious issues to face when game planning against the Browns.
If Hill isn’t there, there are plenty of other good options. Let’s see how day 2 goes . . .
Analysis: Richardson is simply a home run at No. 4. You rarely say that about a running back taken so high, but he has such a high floor as a prospect — the only downside is injury, and that’s such a perpetual issue, one that extends far beyond the running back position if you’re looking close. Glenn is a versatile player who Cleveland will move to right tackle. He can be dominant as a run-blocker and has great initial pop, and with his presence, Joe Thomas on the left side and Richardson in the backfield, Cleveland has to feel pretty confident in an upgrade for the ground attack. Weeden is capable of pushing Colt McCoy right away (he’s a few years older) and could be a steal. So he’s older — if the Browns get 6-8 good years from him, will anybody really care? Bentley is a nice piece at corner, where the team can use some help, even though I consider this a pretty good secondary.
Here’s a video of every throw Ryan Tannehill made against Oklahoma. He makes a terrible throw for an interception at around the 1:10 mark and then rolls out and makes a nice throw on the run for a touchdown after the 3-minute mark.
He definitely has talent, but is he worth a top ten pick, let alone the #4 pick? I’ll trust Mike Holmgren here, but I still prefer Trent Richardson at #4 or a trade down.
Peter King talks about the Browns in his recent column about the NFL Draft:
2. The Browns are the pivot point of the first round at No. 4. You have the big quarterbacks going 1-2, and then Minnesota is praying it can stir up interest at No. 3. Not going to happen, according to the teams I’ve talked to, because there isn’t enough love for another of these five prospects — tackle Matt Kalil, running back Trent Richardson, cornerback Morris Claiborne, wideout Justin Blackmon or quarterback Ryan Tannehill to move up to three. Or four.
If the Vikings stay where they are, it’s most likely they go for the long-term protector of second-year QB Christian Ponder instead of a desperately needed cover man like Claiborne. Then, Cleveland. I heard different things over the weekend from people I trust. GM Tom Heckert loves Blackmon and that would be his pick; president Mike Holmgren is still trying to decide with finality if Tannehill is the franchise quarterback worth taking here. The safest pick? Richardson, at a need position, even though receiver is a bigger need.
The Browns are obviously keeping all their options open and I suspect that they haven’t finalized their decision. Everything King said makes sense, but any or all of it could be misinformation floated by the Browns in order to influence other teams in the draft so the Browns can get the trade they want or the player they want at #4. If they want Richardson, for example, they might be worried about Tampa Bay trading up to #3 with the Vikings to get him.
Barring a trade, I still prefer Trent Richardson at #4, then hopefully the best wide receiver at #22 and then Brandon Weeden at #37. As King notes, everything may hinge on how Mike Holmgren feels about the quarterbacks. I’m not pulling for the Browns to get Ryan Tannehill, but if Holmgren thinks he can be a franchise quarterback, then they have to consider taking him.
Rumors are all over the place when it comes to Robert Griffin III and possible trade partners for the St. Louis Rams for the #2 pick in the NFL Draft. Some of the speculation has gotten out of control, but everyone needs to keep in mind that free agency will have a huge impact on the RG3 market, and that the Rams might need to make this deal as soon as possible, as their leverage with teams like Cleveland and Washington might dry up as players like Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn hit the market.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a helpful update of the status of the trade talks.
So far, however, the quarterback-needy teams don’t seem to be in a hurry to get Griffin. They might be waiting to see what happens with Manning, Flynn and the others. They might be waiting to do their due diligence and watch Griffin throw at his pro day March 21.
In the meantime, the Rams are talking and will continue to talk with potential trade partners. According to league sources, this was the trade landscape entering the weekend:
• Cleveland (No. 4 pick): The Browns are unwilling at this point to include their second first-round pick, No. 22, as part of any trade package with the Rams.
• Washington (No. 6): The Redskins appear willing to trade their first-round pick next year, as well as their No. 6 overall pick this year. But they aren’t willing to include their second-rounder this year, which isn’t acceptable to the Rams.
• Miami (No. 8): This one appears to be dead in the water, somewhere off Florida’s Gold Coast. After losing the tug-of-war for coach Jeff Fisher, the Dolphins aren’t eager to do business with the Rams — or do the Rams any favors.
• Seattle (No. 12): No chance. The last thing the Rams want to do is send RG3 to a division rival and face him twice a year. The same applies for Arizona, which picks 13th.
I’ll be surprised if a team like the Browns is able to snag the #2 pick without including their extra first-round selection in this year’s draft (#22 overall), but anything is possible if the other suitors go with other options.
This column does throw cold water on some of the reports out there that the Redskins were making a ridiculous offer for the pick, and the Browns are clearly being cautious or coy here.
RG3 blew everyone away at the Combine, and there’s every reason to expect him to impress on his pro day as well, but it’s hard to imagine teams giving up the farm for the #2 pick without watching this kid throw in person. A pre-draft draft is still very possible, but the Rams may have to wait as Thomas explains in his article.
Baylor University quarterback Robert Griffin III. (UPI Photo/Ian Halperin)
The buzz keeps building. Robert Griffin III measured at 6′ and 2 and 3/8″ and then blew away the field with a 4.38 time in the 40. It’s not quite as fast as the rumored 40-imes for Micheal Vick, but it still confirms RG3′s amazing athletic ability. (Official time later reported to be 4.41 – still fast!)
He’s also impressing everyone in his interviews as well, which isn’t a surprise.
The key question now is what will it take for the Browns to get him.
Todd McShay has some observations from the Senior Bowl at ESPN.com in the Insider area (you need a password). He’s high on Quentin Couples and thinks the Browns might look at him at #4.
North Carolina DE Quinton Coples (Scouts Inc. grade: 95)
Coples (6-foot-5¾, 281 pounds) did not have his best season in 2011, failing to play with the consistent aggressiveness we saw on his junior tape from 2010. That’s not to say he was dogging it, just that his motor wasn’t running in its highest gear at all times. That has raised some concerns about the work ethic he’ll show at the next level, but if a team can get him to work hard, Coples can be an elite difference-maker along the defensive front.
He’s a versatile lineman who can be disruptive as an interior pass-rusher. Although Coples doesn’t have elite top-end speed, he showed the ability this week to set up offensive tackles with his hands, using his initial quickness to get into power moves and flashing quickness and fluidity on both inside and outside pass-rush moves.
Coples also has the long arms and upper-body strength to be effective against the run, and he’s one of the top three or four natural talents in this year’s class. Depending on how things shake out with the top quarterbacks on the board, Coples likely won’t last long past the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 or the Washington Redskins at No. 6, where he would find his best fit as a 4-3 defensive end.
Coples would be an amazing bookend opposite Jabaal Sheard on the defensive line for the Browns, so this has to be a consideration for Tom Heckert. If the Browns can land a another premiere defensive end in this draft or in free agency, then they’re on their way to having a New York Giants-type defense that can pressure the quarterback without relying on the blitz. The motor issue has to be the big question mark here, but this is where Heckert earns his money.
McShay goes on to describe two more DE prospects in South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram and Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw. McShay likes Ingram a little better but thinks both can be excellent pass rushers in the NFL. Both could easily be gone when the Browns draft at the #22 spot with their Atlanta pick, but McShay suggests that Upshaw might be there if he drops a little.
McShay also loves North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins used to play at Florida until he was kicked off the team, so there are some character issues. He stands out as an elite talent at corner, and we might see the Browns grab him if he lasts until the 2nd round if his former teammate Joe Haden supports him and he convinces the Browns that he’s matured.
University of Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) runs for a first down against Louisiana State University during the second quarter of their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana November 6, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Mel Kiper posted his thoughts on what the top 10 teams in the likely draft order need going into the 2012 NFL Draft.
Scenarios: Greg Little has shown flashes, but the Browns could use another threat in the passing game. Jabaal Sheard has been as good as I hoped he’d be when I talked up that pick back in April, but they could really use someone on the other side of the formation to balance the pass rush. Then it gets really interesting.
I agree with Todd McShay that the Browns could be the rare team that is willing to pick a running back high in the draft, with Alabama’s Trent Richardson the obvious name. Peyton Hillis is likely to play somewhere else in 2012, and Richardson fills that hole. But besides that, there’s a real question regarding Colt McCoy and how committed to him the Browns are. Although I wouldn’t predict it now, the Browns could be in the picture for Griffin.
I agree with everything here. It all revolves around McCoy and whether the Browns want a QB in the draft with their top pick. I can see them going with Richardson as a running threat can open up the offense and take pressure off of the quarterback. Mike Holmgren had his own stud running back from Alabama with Shaun Alexander.
I think they will naturally take a hard look at Robert Griffin III, but I think he might not be there when the Browns pick.
Baylor University quarterback Robert Griffin III, shown here playing against Texas Tech on November 26, 2011, was announced as the recipient of the 77th Heisman Memorial Trophy on December 10, 2011 at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. Griffin becomes the first Baylor player ever to win college football’s most prestigious award. (UPI Photo/Ian Halperin)
With a disappointing season winding down and with Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert unwilling to say definitively that Colt McCoy with be the guy next season, Browns fans are starting to think about the draft, and all the buzz seems to be around Robert Griffin III. The kid has a great arm, he’s smart and has excellent character. He’s also a dual threat and came out of nowhere to win the Heisman this year. Now he’s rocketing up draft boards.
One key to his draft status will be his height. He’s listed as 6′ 2″ so we’ll need to see his actual height when he goes to the NFL combine. We’ve seen with Colt and others that size can be critical for quarterbacks in the NFL.
Assuming his height checks out, this kid will get a ton of attention. It will be fascinating to see if Holmgren decides to go after a QB in the first round and which player he targets. With extra draft picks the Browns can move up if necessary.