Who won the draft? The usual suspects.

happy

Clockwise from top left: Giants fans, Steelers fans, Packers fans, Ravens fans.

Kanick didn’t like the Browns draft.  Offered up some reasons why… but it turns out I, as an expert, am not persuasive.

Instead of flogging that dead horse, I thought it’d be interesting to compare the Banner draft with some other GMs.  Other, proven, really good*, GMs:

  • Jerry Reese (Giants GM, 2007)
  • Ted Thompson (Packers GM, 2005)
  • Kevin Colbert (Steelers GM, 2000)
  • Tom Dimitroff (Falcons GM, 2008)
  • Ozzie Newsome (Ravens GM, 2002)

How did they approach their draft?  Did they look for holes in their roster and fix em?  Did they go for luxury picks (a.k.a, BPA)?  If so, in what rounds did they ‘splurge?’

And as an academic matter, I’ll add in the needs assessment for the teams that I derived by looking at their depth chart on April 5.  It’s not comprehensive..  but if I can identify a need, it’s probably a need.

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I’ll just cut to the chase.  All of these GMs who are smarter than me, you, and -if we’re looking at the records- Joe Banner,

They share these commonalities in their drafts.

  • They addressed team needs in their first two rounds.
  • None of their top picks will un-seat a young productive player.
  • Their first rounders are projected as immediate three down starters.

The Browns’ draft can’t tick the box on any of these goals.

[Note:  I did NOT cherry pick these five.  These were the first five GMs that came to mind as the best.]

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Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 4.30.01 PM

Always good to draft your iconic logo.

Jerry Reese (Giants GM, 2007).  
LB, O-line, S

1 19 Justin Pugh T
2 49 Johnathan Hankins DT
3 81 Damontre Moore DE
4 110 Ryan Nassib QB
5 152 Cooper Taylor S
7 225 Eric Herman G
7 253 Michael Cox RB

No one had Pugh rated that highly but Reese is the guy who ‘reached’ for Jason Pierre-Paul.  And it addresses a need with Diehl’s age (and DUI).  Protect the franchise QB.  Smart.

Marvin Austin has been disappointing and Hankins looks like a shot fired across the bow.  Getting a top five player on game film in the 3rd is good; getting a possible franchise QB in the fourth is good.

And the need-addressing safety is 6’4″.

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Franklin better than Lacy? Could be.

Ted Thompson (Packers GM, 2005) 
D-line; CB.

1 26 Datone Jones DE
2 61 Eddie Lacy RB
4 109 David Bakhtiari T
4 122 J.C. Tretter T
4 125 Johnathan Franklin RB
5 159 Micah Hyde CB
5 167 Josh Boyd DE
6 193 Nate Palmer LB
7 216 Charles Johnson WR
7 224 Kevin Dorsey WR
7 232 Sam Barrington LB

Went straight to need with Datone Jones.  I missed RB as a need for the Packers but it was one, and Lacy satisfied that.  Then.. with five picks in rounds 4 and 5, Thompson actually used them on players.  What a maroon, right Joe?

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Kevin Colbert (Steelers GM, 2000)
DE, RB, S, LB.

If you want to feel better about the Steelers safety pick.

1 17 Jarvis Jones OLB
2 48 LeVeon Bell RB
3 79 Markus Wheaton WR
4 111 Shamarko Thomas SS
4 115 Landry Jones QB
5 150 Terry Hawthorne CB
6 186 Justin Brown WR
6 206 Vince Williams LB
7 223 Nick Williams DT

Lots of holes to patch on the aging and salary cap bound Steelers who are coming off a losing season.  Did they punt their draft with luxury picks and trading for next year?

They. Did. Not.

Needs addressed in first four picks.  Possible/probably Roethlisberger successor selected.

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5’10” CB? Dimitroff, what are you thinking?? Oh.. 40.5″ vertical, 4.39 40? Very well, carry on.

Tom Dimitroff (Falcons GM, 2008)
LB, CB, S, OT

1 22 Desmond Trufant CB
2 60 Robert Alford CB
4 127 Malliciah Goodman DE
4 133 Levine Toilolo TE
5 153 Stansly Maponga DE
7 243 Kemal Ishmael DB
7 244 Zeke Motta SS
7 249 Sean Renfree QB

Need a CB much Tom?  Dimitroff seems to be Heckert like where he gets a goal and achieves it.  The goal here was to address the Falcons’ CB issue.

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Ozzie Newsome (Ravens GM, 2002)
ILB.

The luckiest GM in football strikes again.

1 32 Matt Elam FS
2 56 Arthur Brown ILB
3 94 Brandon Williams DT
4 129 John Simon DE
4 130 Kyle Juszczyk FB
5 168 Ricky Wagner T
6 200 Kapron Lewis-Moore DE
6 203 Ryan Jensen T
7 238 Aaron Mellette WR
7 247 Marc Anthony CB

Reed, Lewis, Ellerbe –> Elam, Brown, Simon.  Need, need, need.
Adding Kanick sleeper Wagner is, of course, smart too.

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Putting a bow on it:

Where did this ‘always take Best Player Available‘ garbage originate and who actually believes it?

Of course, of course, obviously, of course you players select based on your needs with your top picks.  Looking at this first round draft every player taken fills an immediate need and are clear starters.  The only exceptions to this rule:

  • Browns – Mingo.
  • Bills – Manuel. (But they got an added second round pick to make this luxury pick more palatable.  And I guess they think he’s a franchise QB.)

The draft is specifically designed as your annual ‘free money’ team replenishment where you look at your personnel and, ideally, take the player who offers the greatest improvement to your team.  Logic tells us that the greatest improvements are made by upgrading weak positions.

You can argue with me on this,,, but you’re really arguing against Reese, Colbert, Thompson, etc.

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Here’s great take by Kolonich worth your time:  7 Draft Myths.
And Passan has lowered his grade to ‘D.’

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* Grudgingly putting Newsome on this list because being lucky is a good attribute for a GM.

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  • Bill Willis

    The Ravens got the next Mike Vrabel in the 4th. O, Brownies, will you never adore the boy next door?

    • not just simon.

      ravens got their vonta leach (UFA end of this year) replacement out of Medina FRICKING Cloverleaf High School.

  • zarathustra

    I really enjoy your work but surely you understand I was making any evaluation on ted thompson early years, but rather on the premature criticism of them. Again, re: the 4th and 5th rounders. Of course, they are important! Banner/Lombardi concur–see 2014 draft. Moreover, the primary point I made–which you failed to address–the the sad fact is that the browns and the above teams are in VERY different positions presently

    • but see.. not all criticism is equal. was the criticism skip bayless carping about a perceived affront to brett favre by this rookie GM through his drafting of a QB in the 1st? if youve got bob mcginn from the journal-sentinel coming after early thompson, then maybe you have something. but i dont understand the point: thompson was perceived by media-types who know the packers through brett favre as blowing his early drafts so we should be cool with the deferred gratification of next years extra 3rd/4th picks while accepting the immediate gratification of luxury pick mingo?

      i’m going cross-eyed just writing it.

      your argument would be better served by pointing out that aaron rodgers was a luxury pick in the first round by one of my fab-five GMs and it worked out ok.

  • supermadelf

    Can’t really argue with that logic. BUT, they will.

  • Let’s not ever compare Lombardi/Banner to Ted Thompson. At least not until you look at Thompson’s first Green Bay drafts.

    I’ll take Rodgers, Collins, Poppinga and Montgomery over Mingo and a slot corner any day – and so would you.

    More importantly, Kanicki makes the most valid point here. If the 4th and 5th rounds were so bad, why did perennial winners Green Bay and Pittsburgh stick around (and/or trade up) to grab so many players? Are they suddenly the “dumb” teams now?

    Regarding the draft, I am either way off in left field (not unusual) – but more so than usual OR everyone else is mindlessly lapping up the PR spin about “a plan.”

    • Bronx Cheer

      Specifically regarding the 4th and 5th rounders, I think you guys are way off. I get the panning of the pick of Mingo as a luxury pick (I would’ve gladly traded back and taken the best DB and ILB instead of Mingo), but doing the AT&T rollover plan for the 4th and 5th rounders makes way too much sense to complain about.

      Those perennial winners you guys are trying to compare us to had spots on their rosters for young developmental types – exactly what you get in those rounds. They also need them to fill out their rosters behind the high ticket cap hit guys that frontline any good team’s roster. The only spots at which the Browns had clear openings for a developmental type (as opposed to needing a new starter) were at QB, FB and swing OT, no? Maybe an OG/C type like the Alabama kid, but they are three deep at OG. Everywhere else, the larder is full of young guys with something to prove who are entirely equivalent to the type of player you’d expect to get in the 4th and 5th rounds of this draft. Gipson, Skrine, Bademosi, McFadden and Wade in the secondary. JMJ, Foote and Robertson at ILB. Hughes, Winn, and Kitchen at DL. Mingo at OLB. WR is stacked – no room at all. RB is full. TE has Cameron and Barnridge as developmental types. Add another DB and we get the CLE equivalent of the Jets’ upcoming (and ridiculous) QB 2013 derby – six guys supposedly in open competition for a starting role.

      A FB we can get off the street. Why waste a pick on one?

      And QB, I get the logic of not drafting Jones or somebody similar just to give Weeden some breathing room for this season.

      I also get the feeling that Gipson is highly regarded at FS, and Bademosi as a backup S. Gipson in particular looked very good last season, and the amount of radio silence from Berea regarding the S position all offseason has been in my mind telling. CB there has been plenty of smoke. Saftey, nearly nothing.

      Face it. 4th and 5th rounders are throw at the wall and see what sticks type of picks, and we have too many of those already on this roster. In all honestly, would any 2013 4th or 5th rounder options really done anything other than add to the pile of throw-it-at-the-wall types?

      Next year, however, we’ll have some more room for developmental types as those guys I’ve listed above either progress or stagnate. Which ones of the DBs are keepers and which are not? Are any of the ILBs worth keeping? I agree fully about not drafting yet another interchangeable DB or ILB into this mix with a 4th or 5th. As I said above, I would’ve considered adding one OL guy, but perhaps Lombardi thought the very low rounds and UDFA pool would contain equivalent talent considering the historic run in rounds 1-3 on OL (I think this quite possible given the number of OL in the incoming UDFAs).

      For now, the smart move was (and is) to see what you have at end and keep your powder dry for next year.

      One final note – Lombardi on his Rizzo interview stressed that you have a need to stagger outgoing FA classes. You want only so many guys coming up for free agency or extension at the same time. Last years’ class of incoming rookies is huge and they all, so I think he is trying to balance that out. Given Banner’s purported expertise in all cap matters, I cannot help but think this approach is partially due to his capology input.

      • >>>Maybe an OG/C type like the Alabama kid, but they are three deep at OG.>>>

        just to pick one nit. they’re 3 deep OG in this way.. average (greco), below average (lauvao), blood-clot-in-heart (pinkston). you may as well say they’re four deep and add ryan miller to the mix. let’s not forget mack is a UFA. let’s not forget mack has no backup.

        meanwhile, a 2x 1st all-SEC guard, rimington and outland winner, natl champion leader plops into your lap in the 4th rd.

        you just cant not take him.

        • Bronx Cheer

          I said, I would have taken him. Primarily because of his backup C capability – I see him as probably about average projection at G. Still, no sense in taking him if there is no room at the Inn.

      • re stagger FAs.. heckert left the kitchen spotless for the new proprietors in regard to the cap. you’ve got mack and ward this year. you’ve got haden and rubin and taylor the following year. it’s in fine shape and that’s weak sauce from lombardi to speak to us all like there are concerns about the cap space preventing him from being active this year. dont take my word, here’s the link. you wont find in better shape.

        but it’s not an advantage unless you use it. i’d like to know how lombardi intends to consume 20M in rollover space next year (because it MUST be spent on new players next year or it is gone).

        and besides… if you’re in horrible cap shape like the steelers, you just go out and have a great draft; or if you’re in horrible cap shape like the ravens you have your lombardi trophy AND you just get lucky with dumervils and arthur brown.

        • Bronx Cheer

          I understood it as a long term thing. Do you want Richardson, Weeden, (what about Joe T? can’t remember when his deal is up), and every 2013 draftee (except Mingo) all coming up at the same time? Basically, planning ahead lets you avoid the situation the Ravens found themselves in this year. They are a 3rd and 22 magic fairy dust conversion away from losing half of their team with no playoff appearance (let alone a title) to show for it because Ozzie had a ton of contracts all coming up at the same time. He basically would’ve resigned Flacco, Ellerbe, and maybe Reed for one last hurrah and been done with the Ravens as a contender. From a cap planning perspective, it makes some sense intuitively to me, I guess. I would think there is also a “team building” aspect to it as well, where you want to leverage experience with youth (and the Browns were sorely lacking on the experience side of the ledger, too). Philosophically, Lombardi wants to average X new rookies a year and last year greatly exceeded that amount. Coincidentally, this draft class sucks and we had no second rounder. So, we scale back and build trade up assets for next year while giving last years very large rookie class a chance to shake out fully.

          The bigger thing behind this move, though, is the whole no room at the inn thing. I think it is pretty clear that we’ve got our fill of young developmental types. That is why the Bess thing made crazy sense. Getting competition/replacements for Norwood and Cooper made sense instead of adding a rookie. Getting rookie competition for Gipson/Skrine/Owens/JMJ/Robertson in the fourth? Not so much. I am all for Kerry Rhodes or some other vet help in the secondary, but I can’t see how adding a 4th or 5th round rookie would have provided any level of certain upgrade at positions of need outside of OL.

          A developmental OG/C or swing OT would have been nice, but that is all. Otherwise, we needed high impact guys (add to the top of the pile, not the bottom). If Lombardi et al came to the conclusion that the OTs and OGs were not of sufficient caliber to be a worthwhile long term improvement/project versus going the UDFA/vet-scrapheap/roster-holdovers route for 2013, then their move trading away the mid round picks makes sense. Thus, I can see their moving out of the mid rounds as defensible.

      • BilliardsBum

        I do not understand why the Browns blogosphere is so butthurt about this off-season. For starters, I wholeheartedly agree with what Bronx Cheer is saying about deferring and improving our 4th and 5th round picks here. However, I disagree about drafting Mingo being a luxury pick. Honestly, I find it comical that people are calling a speedy linebacker/pass rusher a luxury for the Browns since we have been so lacking in those departments for so long. Between next year’s free agency and the 6 picks in the first 4 rounds of the draft, the Browns will be in a position to address most if not all voids that they feel the team has. What caused people to come under the assumption that the new management would make sweeping moves to address every possible and potential weak spot in the roster in one off-season?

        • can’t speak to the rest of the blog-o-sphere but i’m not butt hurt. i’m more than a little surprised that the way people are defending this draft though i shouldnt be. i also want to point out that i have yet to read anyone anywhere assume the new management would ‘address every possible and potential weak spot?’ talk about a straw man.

          • Bronx Cheer

            Agreed. It is more like we want them to have addressed AT LEAST ONE need with the #6 pick. Instead, they added to our front 7, which was not a need. That is why we think it was a luxury pick.

          • i’ll drink to that.

  • zarathustra

    No problem with cherry-picking from me. These certainly may be the top five out there. But to say this is comparing apples and oranges would be understatement. This is like comparing apples to, I don’t know, chairs. . .or telephones, anything but another round fruit. These five teams are contenders sith franchise quarterbacks with at minimum five years of good drafts to rely on. Heck yes they approached the draft differntly than the browns. And maybe the browns approach to the draft would have been different had they possessed a second round pick to address needs as well.

    • zarathustra

      I would also add that your assessment of banner/lombardi is glowing compared to what was written about ted thompson his first few years. Maybe some his detractors now wish they hadn’t been so quick to dismiss him without giving him ample time on the job to more properly evaluate him.

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