It only seems logical to me that when a team has a new GM and two of them are in the top 4 picks in a Draft then we should take a look at what that team did. Even though I will confine my thoughts for today to the actual 2018 Draft please remember that there is a lot to talk about relative to the wheeling and dealing Mr. Dorsey did prior to the proceedings in Texas.
When all the wheeling and dealing was done for the 2018 Draft process, the Browns had 9 new picks to add to their roster. And perhaps the biggest surprise to many was the first guy taken, BAKER MAYFIELD the heir apparent to the throne of Franchise QB. The hope is that TYROD TAYLOR will do enough this summer/fall that MAYFIELD can absorb in the QB room and learn a bit of theory before he actually plays in real games. But if TAYLOR and the BROWNS stumble in September it would seem likely that BAKER will find himself running the huddle out on the field. In the end the team settled on Mayfield because of his track record as an experienced, winning college QB despite being a little less than ideal in the size department at 6’005/215. But clearly the career of a guy named BREES gives some confidence that a gutsy, athletic, live-armed guy with a high FBI can thrive and win in the NFL. I want to make note that for those who question his arm strength, MAYFIELD had the second fastest throwing speed at 60 mph during Combine workouts. The only QB there who exceeded Baker’s speed was Josh Allen at 60 mph. I don’t question the pick in the least.
Probably the more jaw dropping selection might have been DENZEL WARD/CB at Pick 4. BRADLEY CHUBB seemed to be the player of choice there for the general public and media mavens. But then again I did not hear anyone deny that WARD was the top CB in this Draft, and the Browns were somewhat suspect at CB, certainly more so than at DE where they appear to be solidly 2-deep already. The 191 lb. WARD is clearly not lacking in his ability and willingness to help his team in run support. In fact, the Browns coaching staff may have to counsel him on preserving his own body a bit and toning back some of the vicious hits like those he laid on receivers while a Buckeye. He starts Day 1, unless something goes terribly awry.
AUSTIN CORBETT/OL/Nevada went at Pick 33 to open Round 2, and the only negative I would bring up is that his work at the Senior Bowl showed some of his athletic and size limitations out at OT against the star DL present. But like a current Brownie who played OL at Nevada, named Joel Bitonio, CORBETT looks like an instant starter at OG. Bt that doesn’t fill the big hole created by the retirement of All-World LT JOE THOMAS. The 6’043/306 CORBETT may get a very long look at OT during Training Camp. Either way he was a value selection in Round 2.
A couple of picks later the team selected NICK CHUBB/RB/Georgia. So at least the Browns got Bradley’s distant cousin on the roster. Tore up a knee early in the 2015 season, but has come back well and clearly the Combine medical evaluation went well. Prior to that injury he looked like a threat to break the career rushing record of a guy named Herschel Walker in Athens. He should step right in as the No. 1 RB for the Browns with Duke Johnson being a great back-up in passing situations. CHUBB can catch the ball, but mostly as a run after catch dump-off target. 3rd and short just got easier for the Browns Offense.
Now the picking seemed to get a bit funky for Mr. Dorsey and his personnel people. CHAD THOMAS/DE/MIAMI was taken in Round 3 at Pick 67. The 6’6/275 Thomas looks like Tarzan and is one of those first-guy-off-the-bus types to intimidate opponents. But when I watched him play he took way too many plays off. I also felt he was way too quick to leave the field with a “boo boo” for a play or two. In my game notes last December I twice made note that he looked less intense about football than a star player should. Browns fans, the Dorse reputation in Green Bay was that John was WHITEY’s go-to guy to go one-on-one with prospects and figure out where their head was really at. I sure hope Dorse got this guy pegged correctly.
Then it got even crazier with the selection of ANTONIO CALLAWAY/WR/Florida who missed his entire 2017 season because masterminding a credit card fraud plot on campus. That was on top of previous suspensions for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia on multiple occasions. And there is more that I will bypass for now. An explosive big play receiver and return man, but looked like a gangster to me. How about if I say to you that living in Florida for almost a decade now, athletes get more second chances and cover ups from the authorities than I ever saw back in Big 10 country. Better not put his lacker anywhere near Josh Gordon folks. I thought Boys Town was out in Nebraska, not Ohio.
I like their selection of GENARD AVERY/LB/Memphis, who was a very productive and versatile performer in college. He’ll help right away on Special Teams, but should also find some roles in sub-packages. His 4.61/40 time gets your attention right away. And he plays at that pace. His 2017 stats give you a picture of his versatility; 80 T, 22 TFL, 8.5 Sacks, 2 PBU,7 QBH, 2 FF. He is a tad short at 6’1, but not undersized at 255 lbs. For Pick 150 this is a really good get.
Other than perhaps some Special Teams roles, at minimum wage, I don’t see how either RATLEY or THOMAS helps them much. I’d bet right now that both are either on the practice squad or gone come September.
It’s still a quality effort overall, just a head scratcher at times. But combine these guys with some trades and signings that Dorsey crafted before the Draft and the roster has been remolded, with more talent than last year. Heck, even a couple of their URFA signings look like they might grab roster spots. Oh if only JOE THOMAS had lasted long enough to be a part of this new roster! Such is life.