If you are reading this for a grade on the Browns draft, you won't be satisfied. While I understand why experts grade drafts, I don't believe you can do it the Monday after the NFL draft. You really can't accurately judge a team's draft for at least two, three or even four years. If you want some feedback and opinion on what the Browns did this past weekend, this is the place to be.
Let me start by saying if you didn't like what the Browns did this year, go back to 2008 and break that draft down, it will make you cry or laugh and feel like what Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi did was genius. But I think it is only fair to question some of what the new Browns regime did this past weekend. With the 6th overall pick in the entire draft the Browns selected DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo out of LSU. I can't fault the Browns for this pick. They needed a pass rusher, someone who can get to the quarterback. They needed defense and they took the guy they feel is the guy to do that. Mingo could turn out to be a stud and have a great NFL career but I would not call him a "can't miss" and that has to be a concern to Browns fans when you had other impact players on the board and the possibility of trading the pick to get a lower first round pick and an additional pick in another round. While I don't fault the Browns for selecting Mingo, I would have taken the trade the pick option. I am happy they did not draft a QB to add to the mess this city has lived with since 1999. I think Brandon Weeden deserves a chance to prove himself, but I will be keeping tabs on Geno Smith in New York.
The Browns did not have a second round pick so in the third round they took care of another need, cornerback, by selecting Leon McFadden out of San Diego State. Ok, he's not a stud and he's only 5-9 but he is at least a body, they desperately need that. But on Saturday the Browns decided they did not need as many bodies as perhaps you or I believe they need. They traded their 4th round selection to the Steelers for a 3rd round pick next year. Like some people, I don't care that they traded with the Steelers, especially if they end up getting the better end of the deal. But if the safety the Steelers drafted with the Browns pick comes back to haunt the Browns year after year it won't be pretty around town. Then the Browns traded their 5th round pick to the Colts for a 4th round selection next season. This will be great, next April! They turned lesser picks into better picks. So the bottom line: the Browns are at least 2 years away from really being a contender, if not longer. In a league where teams can turn it around sometimes in one year, that is tough to accept. With the Browns other three picks, a sixth round selection and two seventh round picks the Browns took a safety who is hurt and two division two players.
So to recap Saturday:
4th round: Trade pick (to the STEELERS)
5th round: Trade pick
6th round: Draft hurt player
7th round: Draft two D-II players
I understand the trading of the picks, although trading one instead of two would be a little easier to digest when you have team that has so many holes to fill. But you have to admit; through free agency and some of the draft they have started the process.
In the end the Browns want you to consider the whole body of work. They want you to remember while they didn't have a second round pick, they have Josh Gordon with a year of experience. They also made a trade to get WR Davone Bess and now they have two additional picks in next year's draft.
The following is Joe Banner's answer to the question if there is any worry that the focus is already down the road when the 2013 season is coming up:
"We are not asking for a free pass for this year. We expect to improve. We expect it to be conspicuous. As you look at the individual players we added and the way the coaches bring them together and get them in sync, we are not saying that we don't expect to be better. We are not going to reach all of our goals or fill all of our needs this year. But we think we will play exciting, aggressive football. I think it will be clear that the team is continuing to improve as I think it has for the last year or two and positioning itself well to have a chance to become very good and sustain it."
I think we all can agree on this, I can't wait until September to see if this Browns team is indeed heading in the right direction. Because drafting in spots like 6 is getting old.