Bud Shaw asks the right questions in his latest column about DeShaun Watson. It all centers around Watson as a legitimate NFL quarterback prospect after his amazing performance in the National Championship game.
Of course Watson will be one of the top quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft, and of course he brings many skills that should translate to the NFL game. But the Browns have the top pick in the draft and can select a defensive stud in Myles Garrett, who many consider to be the best player in the draft. So for the Browns we have to consider where Watson or another quarterback might be taken given that they’re sitting on picks 1, 12 and 33 in the draft.
Shaw brings up some legitimate concerns regarding Watson if you’re considering him at #1. As you move down the first round and into pick 33, the positives certainly start to outweigh any of these concerns.
The Browns may get the opportunity to coach Watson at the Senior Bowl, which is a huge positive. Shaw seems concerned this may lead Hue Jackson to fall in love with Watson in the same manner he became intrigued by RG3. But it’s worth noting that RG3 was a calculated risk for the Browns with little downside, so in one sense it’s not fair to compare these situations. Jackson has to realize the opportunity cost of taking Watson high if he happens to love him as a prospect.
The bigger issue raised by Shaw is the assumed reliance by the Browns on Jackson’s opinions. Of course he knows quarterbacks, but so did Mike Holmgren. Perhaps the best quarterback coaches aren’t always the best evaluators of quarterback talent, since they sometimes overestimate their own abilities to work out the flaws in a prospect.
Shaw argues persuasively that the entire organization needs to get behind a selection of Watson or any other quarterback that they would select at #1. So without that consensus they should probably stick to the best player there, and then look for a QB at 12 or 33.
The title above is a quote from Mel Kiper’s positive review of the Browns’ first round picks:
Danny Shelton is an immediate-impact player in Cleveland. And by the way, I know some people question Cameron Erving. But when Alex Mack got hurt last year, the offense fell off a cliff, and Erving isn’t just insurance, he’s versatile and can start elsewhere. Man, did Cleveland get more physical.
The Browns didn’t get cute in round one, and decided to added needed size, muscle and versatility to both lines. The NFC North is a physical division, and both of these picks are more in line with what we’ve come to expect from the Steelers and Ravens over the years.
In the video above, you also see some positive reviews of the Shelton pick, even from well-groomed Brady Quinn of all people.
Prepare to hear the names Bjoern Werner, Jarvis Jones and Damontre Moore quite a bit inn connection to the Browns leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft. All are excellent pass rushers, and regardless of the type of defense the Browns end up running, they’ll probably be targeting this position as one of their priorities heading into the draft and free agency.
In early mock draft, we saw Moore’s name in connection with Cleveland at #6, but now he seems to be rising as Mel Kiper has him going #2 to the Jaguars. Meanwhile, Kiper now has Werner going to the Browns:
I’ve heard Werner compared to J.J. Watt, and while he’s not nearly at Watt’s somewhat extraordinary level, and doesn’t yet have the size to work primarily inside at this point, in terms of his great awareness as a pass-rusher, there might be something to it. Not only does Werner provide immediate impact as a pass-rusher, like Watt, he defends the pass with his eyes and gets his hands up, disrupts passing lanes and swats away throws. A late arrival to football, he has a high ceiling. He’s an ideal fit in Cleveland, a team that saw the defense regress in 2012.
The Cleveland Browns hosted Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick for a workout yesterday. Odrick is reportedly flying up the draft charts, and some Browns fans and commentators are worried that the Browns might take him with the 7th pick. Naturally, many of them are bringing up the Courtney Brown disaster.
I have no idea whether the Browns would draft him that high, but we need to keep several things in mind regarding the Courtney Brown comparisons. First, the men are not the same guy just because they went to the same school. That should be obvious, but logic escapes many fans when thinking about their team. Also, they are different types of players. Both are defensive linemen, but Browns was projected as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense where he would be counted on to get to the quarterback. Odrick would be a defensive end in the current 3-4 defense run by the Browns, and his responsibilities would be different. So, throw out all the Courtney Brown and Penn State references when considering whether the Browns would be making a good pick with this guy.
After trading for cornerback Sheldon Brown from Philadelphia, most people are assuming that the Browns won’t target Florida cornerback Joe Haden with their #1 pick. That’s probably a good assumption, but I still think Haden would be a good pick if Eric Berry is off the board.
I just watched an interview with Haden on ESPN. He definitely comes across as a good kid. He’s very articulate and seems to be very personable. When you’re picking someone in the first round, the last thing you want is a character problem. After dealing with Braylon Edwards the Browns are probably very sensitive to that issue. If this interview is any indication, Joe Haden shouldn’t be a problem in that area.