April 28, 2005

New Guys In Orange Hats

I'm realizing that the fact I haven't been compelled to weigh in on the Browns draft is itself good news. No fifth round long-snappers to be incredulous about. No players from 0-11 Division II teams. Grownups in charge.

I like the four picks I had heard of, and I'm intrigued by a couple of the others. I love Braylon Edwards even if he is from that school up north, and both he and Pool seem like bright, charismatic kids. Savage drafted players from major football programs who were productive in college. And he seems to have gone for intelligence along with athleticism.

By the way, slap me if I ever again predict major trade activity in the first round. It's just not often done, and you can understand why not. As much as Savage, as just one example, might have benefitted by trading down, the lure of a talent like Edwards is tough to resist. There's lots of potential P.R. downside if he passes on Edwards and he goes on to be a perennial Pro-Bowler elsewhere. That, and it sounds like Savage's phone wasn't exactly ringing off the hook.

After the two good Oklahoma defensive backs, he grabbed a couple players for Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense that Crennel hopes can become his Mike Vrabel-type players. It looks like David McMillan and Nick Speegle will be looked at for the DE/OLB positions. I was knocked out by Speegle's "measurables", a reported 4.5 40 time and 38 1/2 in. vertical leap at 6'6" 245 lbs.? He has my attention at outside linebacker immediately.

Of course Charlie Frye could make this draft special, if he turns out to be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL. I remember seeing him give the Buckeyes all they wanted as a true freshman playing in his 3rd game for Akron U. The Zips lost 28-14, but Frye had them in the game till the fourth quarter, a game in which they had no business being that close. Maybe we'll get lucky.

Good news too that they signed Buckeye Simon Fraser. He's another big, rangy DE that plays the run well, and I would think has a real chance to make the team. The number of free agents that end up making this team will be a good indication if Savage's still has that much-touted nose for talent. I hope he has a "sleeper" offensive tackle or two in mind.

I was surprised that they didn't address the offensive line earlier, but I understand that after Frye and Edwards, they had to fill some of the many holes on defense. We're still only one-deep on the offensive line, and so the four of five guys that stick with the team as backups HAVE to be upgrades over last year's bench. They're carrying guys like Sterling Harris and Javiar Collins on the roster, huge guys with some NFL experience, but they're not Savage's guys, so we'll see if they are moved out.

Here's what some of the pundits and draft observers had to say about Savage's first Browns draft.

UPDATE 4/28: Fox Sports has put out their early ranking of players for the 2006 Draft. They are smart enough to have A.J. Hawk in the Top 5, and Bobby Carpenter also in the first round. But what are they thinking putting Teddy Ginn Jr. on that list? I realize that after he wins the Heisman, there will be a lot of talk about his pro career, but he's a true sophomore this season, and thus ineligible for the draft until 2007.

UPDATE 4/28: D'oh. I just went back and noticed that the Fox headline says "...for 2006 (and Beyond)". But I was only slightly kidding about that Heisman for Ginn.

Posted by dan at April 28, 2005 12:46 AM