Another NFL draft has come and gone. Years from now when we look back and evaluate the Browns picks, we'll declare "hits" and "misses" like when we were kids trying to sink our friends battleship. There will be arguments, we'll say some guys careers were not as good or as bad as their perceived "value" regarding the round they were picked.
The Browns wasted no time Thursday night and ramped up the action early with a trade to swap picks with the Minnesota Vikings to nab the third selection in the draft. With the exception of Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer who stuck by here sources telling her that Justin Blackmon was going to be the pick, nearly up to the minute it was announced, everyone knew that the Browns were getting their man, Alabama running back and all around ass kicker Trent Richardson. If you're a reader of this here blog, you know that I was more than elated that T-Rich is going north to join our beloved. My feelings have been pretty clear: he's the best fit, best value and the one guy in this draft that is going to instantly make a difference for the offense of the team that selects him. We've all heard the knocks on running backs: the tread on the tires, the shortened careers, the "multi-back" way of the future. I don't care. Richardson is special and the Browns need special players on offense. Now.
I was also elated with the trade. Seeing Heckert show the initiative to make the move and get his guy shows me confidence from him we have yet to witness. Only a guy confident in his evaluation, confident in his scouts and confident in his desire for a particular player makes a move to go up one spot to get him. Tampa Bay could have jumped Cleveland and made a deal with Minnesota to essentially steal Richardson from them. Tom Heckert wasn't taking any chances. He knew what he wanted and wasn't going to let anyone get in the way of getting it. I like that! Show me some conviction and make your move! As a fan, make me believe in what you're doing!
It didn't take long for Heckert to challenge everyone's thoughts that he was going to make the shrewd moves and wheel and deal this year, when at number twenty two he picked Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. Yes, that Oklahoma State quarterback. Same one that's twenty eight years old. I won't sit here and say I wasn't a little shocked when the pick came out. I can't say I wasn't a little angry. Everything we all read or heard on television told us that if the Browns truly wanted Weeden, he'd be there at pick thirty seven in the second round. A wide receiver was the true position of need, now that Richardson was in the fold. The only problem was, and I realized this later on, what wide receiver was there that warranted the twenty second pick in the draft? Looking back now, it seems nobody.
My hypotheses, and I've put a lot of thought in to this, is that Heckert and Mike Holmgren targeted Weeden and knew what they would be willing to give up in trade to get him. One way or another, he was coming to Cleveland. We heard the ESPN doofas on site in Berea state that he was told by Heckert he had a "running back - wide receiver" plan and a "wide receiver - running back" plan for the first round. If Heckert was willing to move up for Richardson, it means Blackmon was never in the plan. So the "wide receiver then running back" theory back that was floated about can quickly be shot down. In my theory, the plan was "running back - wide receiver/Weeden". After the Richardson pick, all eyes went to Kendall Wright and if he'd make it to twenty two. When he came off the board (at pick twenty to Tennessee) the decision was made to get Weeden right then.
But why, you may ask? Going back to what I said earlier, what wide receiver was there that was worth pick twenty two once Wright came off the board? The next wide receiver picked was a huge reach when Jim Harbaugh took Illinois wideout AJ Jenkins at pick thirty. Jenkins is a guy most thought would go in round three or even later. Following him was Brian Quick of Appalachian State (the 1-AA school that beat Michigan in the Whore House, in case anyone forgot!) at thirty three, another reach for a guy expected to last into the late second early third round realm. Next wide receiver off the board was Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech at pick forty three to the New York Jets. While that's a good value pick and he s likely worth pick forty three, is he worth pick twenty two? Absolutely not. So if not Weeden at twenty two, then who?
You probably then wonder "well, what if Wright had made it to twenty two?" It's easy, pick him! Now! Before someone finds a way to change their mind and take him off the board! So then of course, What if Weeden didn't make it to thirty seven? I don't believe Heckert and Holmgren had any plans on waiting to find out. There's rumors for just about anything when it comes to the draft. And while they weren't very loud, one rumor I kept hearing Thursday from the "experts" being brought on to WFNZ in Charlotte was that Cleveland could be looking to move back into the first round to grab Weeden and that the Patriots or Giants could be trade partners. And then the expert went on and on about how shrewd Belichick is or how the Giants could stand to move down and grab some extra picks for depth, never really focusing on the only thing I heard while he was talking and that was "Browns possibly moving up for Brandon Weeden". I believe there's a lot of fire behind the smoke of that rumor. I believe if Wright fell to them at twenty two, we'd have seen a move late Thursday night or very early Friday to acquire a pick high enough to secure Weeden.
Of course, that's all hypothesis and speculation and me having way too much time on my hands late at night when I should sleeping and instead stare at the wall. But it makes me feel better about the Weeden pick, and, it gives me that feeling in the same manner as the trade to get Richardson. These guys are confident and know who they want and are willing to do what it takes to get them. Those are the kind of guys I want running the front office of my favorite football team.
Yes, it's kind of a dork comment. Forget kind of, it is a dork comment. But does anyone else think Brandon Weeden looks like a twenty eight year old version of Ron Wesley from the Harry Potter series? Don't act stupid, you've seen those movies! I'm willing to admit, reluctantly at first, I watched them. And by then end I was looking forward to the release of the series finale. But enough nerd-ness tonight... How about that new quarterback coming to Cleveland?
Admittedly, I knew very little about Weeden prior to reading draft magazines and watching all these programs about the draft. I knew he was big. I knew he played for Oklahoma State. I'd seen them wallop some cats, and seen them get upset by Iowa State. I also knew what everyone else knew: he's twenty eight years old.
I'm not even going to get into the age matter except to say this: The Browns drafted him, at pick twenty two and at twenty eight years old, they intend to play him. Don't believe a word of "quarterback battle" talk or sitting behind Seneca Wallace till he's "ready" or any of that jazz. This kid (man?) is here to play now. Time is not a luxury the front office has with Weeden. Should they sit him and have him learn for a few years, then try and see if he can play... when he's thirty one?! Of course not. So don't listen to your buddy who think he's knows everything, Weeden starts game one versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
One thing that has really impressed me about Weasley is his maturity and experiences. Watching him speak in press conferences or on the worldwide leader with John Gruden, it's clear this is no normal rookie. He has professional sports experience. And for those of you who don't fully understand that, let me spell it out for you. He's seen the world of agents and how slimy professional sports can be. He's been through the expectations of grandeur being a number one pick of the New York Yankees. He's seen guys fail, and at a much higher rate than in the NFL since most minor league baseball players never get to realize the dream of being called up to the show. He's no doubt seen guys with huge potential not work as hard as they should. Conversely, the underachiever grind as hard as he can daily to earn his meal stipend, all for the love of the game and chasing a dream. The washouts. The call ups. He himself has failed, otherwise we'd all hate his guts for being a starting pitcher for the Yankees. Nothing is going to take this guy by surprise and I'd bet he has a pretty good measure on what it will take to be successful.
When does training camp start?
* The Cavaliers season is over, time to wait for the ping pong balls to fall. I can't begin to imagine they will have the luck they had last year, landing the number one and number four picks. If they can get a top four or five slot though, they should be able to get a real difference maker to run with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Add in a healthy Anderson Verejao, someone or some-two in free agency and we may well be looking at a team that can get that eight or even seventh spot in next years playoffs. Then just keep building...
* Amare' Stoudemire (admittedly one of my favorite players in the association) busted his hand punching a glass fire extinguisher case after the Knicks were spanked in Miami during game two of their playoff series with the Heat on Monday night. Now, he's out for the series. Idiot.
* Ill have more on this in later weeks, but Cam Newton is not "reinventing the quarterback position" as the Charlotte media like to proclaim. Newton had a super rookie season and took teams by surprise with his combination of speed and arm. But, this is the NFL, it won't last. I'm not saying Cam's success won't last, just the way he goes about it. If this kid wants to live to see Brandon Weeden's age, the scramble and "spread" attack is going to be cut down upon in reliance for two reasons: 1. He'll get killed, I don't care how big he is, and 2. This is the NFL, they'll adjust and find ways to stop him. Remember when the wildcat was going to reinvent NFL offenses, or the run n' shoot? The list of "NFL changing"gimmicks is long and distinguished, and Cam Newton is not the exception. Start watching Ben Pig up in Pittsburgh, Panther fans. That's your future at quarterback: big, strong arm, impossible for one guy to bring down, leader. But in Newton's case you can add more athletic to his mobility. That is unless he gets injured a few times from running a gimmick offense that NFL defense's will have figured out. The only constant in the NFL is that defenses will eventually figure you out. Ask the 17-1 New England Patriots.
* Rip Hamilton is starting for the injured Derrick Rose... cause that's an even trade! The Bulls are screwed.
* Wouldn't it have been funny if the official that Rajon Rondo bumped into would have turned around and uppercut him off his feet? I can dream...
* Pittsburgh lost in the NHL playoffs. Nothing else on that topic. Just glad they're out.
Wrap it up!
Pretty excited that my sister, Danielle @DanielleLyn is coming down to visit this weekend and accompany me to Carolina Rebellion at the Rockingham Speedway. Should be an epic all day event! While there are lots of bands worth seeing (Evenescence, POD, Slash with Myles Kennedy, Chevelle, Korn, even Shinedown) I'm pumped to see one band, the mighty Danes of VOLBEAT! Maybe more on that topic next week.
Unil next time... SEE YA!
METALLICA track of the week
The Thing That Should Not Be
Fat. Heavy. Maybe the heaviest ever. When they crush this live, you feel it in the pit of your stomach as though it all being smashed and forced up. Gross, I know, but it's an amazing feeling! Check this link, the video is a little bouncy but the sound is incredible, it gives you a feel of the Anniversary shows from this past December at the Fillmore and what it was like being in there. Here's Thingy (as it's affectionately shortened by 'Tallica and 'Tallica fans) LIVE from at Fillmore on December 9th 2011! And yes, I was AT this one too!!!!
Did I figure out how to make links work?