Browns: Clowney. #KRM

clowney1

You could have Deacon Jones and Carl Eller as your edge-rushers and still make room for Jadeveon Clowney.

Long time Frowns and Kanick and Cheddar participant Zarathustra drew the Browns’ fourth pick in the Kanick Reader Mock.  Sounds fun right?  You get to be Ray Farmer and stake out a direction on offense or defense, line play or playmakers, or pick the quarterback who will end that horrific QB-names-since-Tim-Couch meme.

browns-qb-jersey

Hyuk hyuk hyuk.

Welp.  

Turns out, notsomuch.  With the easy picks (IMO) off the board, Zara had lots of good choices but no clear one.  Here’s his piece.

The Candidates

Mike Evans WR

There is rumor that the Browns have Evans rated over Watkins so we have to consider this a possibility.  But even if they prefer Sammy it makes sense to at least consider a big target that could make teams pay for focusing too much on Gordon.  The problem though is that while receiver is a need you do already have Gordon and does it make sense to take a receiver here when it is probably the deepest position group in the draft?  Is Evans really that much better–or even better at all–than what might be there at #26?

Justin Gilbert CB
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Our first Justin Gilbert mention.

From what I can tell the experts aren’t projecting Gilbert this high, but I have to believe the Browns are considering him more than is widely believed.  Pettine’s defense is predicated on corners able to play press/man coverage.  You have Haden, but a wide gaping hole on the other side.  They obviously recognize this need as well as they went hard after Revis.  Could Gilbert step in right away and excel?  Probably not. But 4.371 helps in overcoming a lot of growing pains.

Teddy Bridgewater QB

As a cheddar alum, degenerate gambler, and masochist I’ve spent a lot of time watching Big East football (maybe next year I will accept the ACAACA or whatever god forsaken name they call it now.).  I have watched Teddy from the beginning and I love him.  He is a leader.  He is tough.  He is smart.  And he will work as hard as any QB in the league.  But he is awfully small for a guy who lacks elusiveness.  And I don’t know how great he will be getting the ball downfield on a consistent basis.  The pros may outweigh the cons–and I hope they do–but I’m not sure.

Jadeveon Clowney

Was he overhyped coming into this year?  Of course.  Could he have handled the  constant media scrutiny better?  Absolutely.  But even though his stat line didn’t overwhelm this year he is still a once in a generation talent.

JFF
images

Speaking of borderline memes…

I have always loved John Football, college quarterback.  John Football, NFL quarterback, I have had serious doubts about.  If you would have asked me in October I would have said he is a second or third round pick.  I know the completion percentage looks good but I think some of those blind throws that Mike Evans pulls down are intercepted on Sundays.  I watched him look hopelessly lost against Mizzou to end the regular season–and the week before at LSU, forgetaboutit.  I know he put on quite a show on the sidelines when the national cameras were watching against Duke and while I frickin loved the Blue Devils this year they were nothing more than a decent ACC team with an average at best defense.

But…he is special.  And maybe it translates.  It did for Russell Wilson.  There are some guys who just have that magic.  You watch and it and you can’t understand it so oftentimes you just dismiss it as luck, but maybe it’s not.

Khalil Mack

Big, fast, and versatile, but….

Everybody talks about the Ohio State game where he was a monster, but that was the first game of the season for a Buckeye offense that was off-balance due to the absence of Carlos Hyde.  Moreover the Buckeyes have a history of underwhelming openers.  He still nonetheless went to Columbus with an upstart MAC team and was the best player on the field that day.  The following week he had four tackles and one sack as his team got pasted vs Baylor.  I would not even begin to know how to evaluate a linebacker on an under matched squad against that offense so let’s give him a pass there.  The only other decent teams the Bulls played were Toledo, Bowling Green, and San Diego St.  The other teams were Stony Brook, EMU, WMU, UMASS, Kent St (decent, but barely so, at times), Ohio (in free fall by the time they played), and Miami.  Pardon me if I discount games against this line-up of mostly horrendous teams.

6_1060587

Great game in September but check the film from the MAC Championship and Famous Potato Bowl.

  • Against Toledo:  15 tackles 0 sacks in a 51-41 loss
  • Against Bowling Green:  12 tackles 0 sacks in a 24-7 home loss
  • Against San Diego St:  6 tackles 0 sacks in a 49-24 loss

This type of production in concert with a solid but in no way spectacular combine should at least give the Browns pause in using the fourth overall pick here.

The Pick

Ray Farmer obviously has final say but there is no reason to think this pick won’t be a collaboration between GM and Head Coach.

We are flying blind for the most part in examining Farmer as his history is in pro personnel so we don’t know how much involvement–if any–he has had in past drafts.  Let us assume that while he has never been a decision maker on draft picks that he was at least present in the war rooms and was a respected voice.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

Oft-maligned Tyson Jackson had a pretty good 2013.

Starting with the Chiefs in 2006 when he became Director of Pro Personnel their first round picks were as follows:

  • Tamba Hali DE (20)
  • Dwayne Bowe WR (23)
  • Glenn Dorsey DT (5)
  • Tyson Jackson DE (3)
  • Eric Berry  S (5)
  • Jonathan Baldwin WR (26)
  • Dontari Poe DT (11)

And as we know last year the Browns took Mingo when he was the Asst. GM and one of the few even allowed in the war room.  So what we see overall is a strong bias to the defensive side of the ball and the higher the pick the likelier it was used on the front seven.

As a linebackers coach in Baltimore and then coordinator in New York and Buffalo let’s just assume Mike Pettine always wanted that first pick on his side of the ball.  We know that last year in Buffalo at the very least Jim O’Neil wanted Mingo.  As a head coach now Pettine has to take a more global view and he knows that ultimately his fate rests on having the right quarterback, but  we all know how defensive coaches can start thinking with the wrong head when the blood rushes through their loins at the prospect of a difference maker they can play with.

Jadeveon Clowney

The Browns do have more pressing needs, but you don’t pass on the clear-cut best player available with the number four pick.  You just don’t.  Personally, I would be tempted by Bridgewater and Gilbert here, but I cannot envisage them passing on Clowney.

His floor is probably Mario Williams, which may not stir much excitement, but he finally did have some nice years in Houston before moving to Buffalo, where he sucked his first year.  Last year he rebounded with an incredible season.  You know what changed between his first and second years in Buffalo?  Mike Pettine.

His ceiling is probably being a perennial all-pro/Hall of Fame candidate.  The only other player who I feel has close to as high of a probability of sustained elite success in the league is Robinson and the Rams already wisely took him off the board.

Clowney_combine_APConroy_982w-1

Mind-bending athletic ability.

Yes, there are questions about an inconsistent motor and conditioning, but the conditioning of a freak athlete should not be too tall a task for the training staff of a professional football team and an inconsistent motor can be explained at least partially by the number of snaps he was on the field.

But never mind me, here is what Mike Pettine says:

“Freakish athlete,” said Pettine. “I think he could take over a game. I think he could change a game. He’s proven that. I had good interaction with him in Indianapolis. As a defensive head coach, I don’t know if I’d be all that upset to turn the card in on Clowney with the fourth pick.”

Pettine isn’t fazed by the Clowney’s lack of sacks last season or concerns over his work ethic.

 “He’s shown (the pass-rush ability),” Pettine said. “I think there were a lot of circumstances. People talked to maybe a maturity thing. …I think if you’re strong and assertive as a coach that you can get that guy to be more focused and get him to be much more consistent. So if you can take a Clowney and get him to play, to get him to get that motor humming and go hard every play, then you’ve got a guy that can absolutely dominate a game.”

Clowney has the all of the talent in the world. He just needs the right coach to properly develop that talent and put him in a place to succeed. The Cleveland Browns have the perfect coach to do just that.

Hard to argue with any of this.

On the clock:  Pete Franklin and the Raiders.
Pick #TeamSelection
(linked to KRM post)
Reader
1TexansBlake Bortlesjpftribe
2RamsGreg RobinsonDave Kolonich
3JaguarsSammy WatkinsClevTA
4BrownsJadeveon ClowneyZarathustra
5RaidersKhalil MackPete Franklin
6FalconsJake MatthewsOXR
7BucsJohnny ManzielPeterM
8VikingsTeddy Bridgewatertrashycamaro
9BillsTaylor Lewanclay
10LionsHa’Sean Clinton-Dixbluedog93
11TitansAnthony Barrkanick
12GiantsEric EbronRod of Disaster
13RamsMike EvansMatt Borcas
14BearsAaron DonaldJRich
15SteelersDarqueze Dennard tmoore94
16CowboysLouis NixGrandRapidsRustlers
17RavensJustin GilbertMGBode
18JetsBrandin CooksZarathustra
19DolphinsZack Martintrashycamaro
20CardinalsCalvin PryorJRich
21PackersJace AmaroClevTA
22EaglesMarqise LeeGrandRapidsRustlers
23ChiefsRa'Shede Hagemanclay
24BengalsBradley RobyOXR
25ChargersKyle Fullertexinottawa
26BrownsDerek CarrChuckKoz
27SaintsOdell Beckham tmoore94
28PanthersXavier Su'a-Filojpftribe
29PatriotsTimmy Jerniganbluedog93
30NinersJason VerrettRod of Disaster
31BroncosCJ MosleyPete Franklin
32SeahawksCameron FlemingDave Kolonich
33 (2nd rd)TexansTroy NiklasMatt Borcas
34RedskinsStephon Tuittkanick
35BrownsRyan ShazierMGBode
36Raiders
  1. Ed. note:  And the 33.13″ arms.  Don’t forget the arm length! [back]

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  • Not sure I would advocate the Browns selecting Clowney, but if that turns out to be the pick I would not be at all upset. The thought of him and Mingo coming at the offense from the same side of the field, or pinching in from opposite sides is intriguing to say the least.

  • bupalos

    In other news, Evan Mathis is being shopped…but unfortunately it’s apparently because he doesn’t want to play for his mostly unguaranteed 5MM/yr contract that runs through ’16. Which makes it complicated. But maybe the Browns bump it to 6 and guarantee most of it….Well worth the 2nd 3rd if you ask me.

    • would work like hell to make it a fourth rounder but yes: do want.

  • and right on cue, here’s grossi not liking clowney…

    • RGB

      I have one…Hey Tony, why are you such a twatwaffle?

      • bupalos

        Don’t bother tony, son, why he can remember back to when Cleveland was a bustling boon-town.

        • Petefranklin

          He’s just mad because he never got accosted over the air like Hal “Low Blow” Lebowitz and Bob “Dog” Dolgan did by the real Pete Franklin on 3WE.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            As far as I am concerned, you are the real Pete Franklin. Please do not disillusion me.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Sorry Bupa, I did not read down and realize that you beat me to it.

    • bupalos

      What an asshat. Is there any player in the entire draft less likely to “bust?”

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Three of them Bupa!
        Jake Matthews
        Jake Matthews
        Jake Matthews

    • Petefranklin

      That now makes Clowney the player I want most in a Browns uniform. Grossi is just like a tout with a shitty record, you know you can bet against him comfortably.

      • zarathustra

        This is as perfect as any analogy I have ever encountered.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      “boon or bust”? I thought this guys writes for a living. It is boom or bust. Oddly enough many historians attribute this term to the early 1800’s land rush in Ohio, while others (the wrong ones) say it is derived from the Gold Rush days a few decades later.

      • Petefranklin

        Ohio land rush? I always thought land in Ohio was given to whomever soldiered on against the redcoats. Or was that just a cover story put out in our public schools because the soldiers were actually sent there to “help the Chippewas” find a better place to settle?
        Boon, good catch there, for a minute I thought my handle boomerbust on gambling sites, didn’t make much sense.
        Boon comes from boondocks I think. Today boondocking is a derogatory term towards our camping facilities when we hit the sand dunes,self contained with no hook ups. It is a term that them thar people who like to pay for a campspace refer to us party people as. I guess they have no appreciation of bonfires, gas bombs, and fireworks at one in the morning

  • GRRustlers

    Really good stuff here.

    If the first 3 picks play out this way then Ray Farmer is going to have about 10 minutes to see how much he can extract from Atlanta.

    Flipping 1st round picks and picking up another 2nd this year?

    There is really no way they can lose if this scenario plays out short of reaching for the QB.

    The extra 3rd round pick should be used on Aaron Murray this year and simply stash him this year.

    Great stuff so far…

    Now I’m off to think like Jerry Jones again…and I gotta tell you guys it’s terrifying.

    • zarathustra

      I think you are correct here. Also, keep in mind that Scott pioli is now in Atlanta and even if Clowney didn’t fill a need for them–which he of course does–they may still target him. (See those chiefs picks, most of which were pioli.)
      Good luck in Jerry’s head! Let us know if you find that creepy Staten island clown that was all over the internet the other day when you are in there.

  • bupalos

    Clowny and Robinson are both like stuffing cash in your pocket. They are very solid picks with very high floors, and the rest of the options are speculative enough that you’d have to leave Map Room smiling if one of them comes off to us.

    I think the best case scenario is one of those two with the #4, then hope TB slides past the Vikes (seriously doubt it) and maybe you can come up from the 26 and get him or JFF in the teens for the cost of one of the 3’s and one of the 4’s. Then you’ve drafted that guy in a position where you don’t have so much pressure to play him. And if that’s not a possibility, at least by passing on one of these high QB prospects and leaving them in the pool you increase the odds of landing Garopolo, who would fit that bill in just the same way and almost surely could be had with the 26. I’m definitely beginning to favor being conservative with the #4 and aggressive with the 26.

    • nj0

      I’m not very knowledgeable about CFB so I usually refrain from opining about the draft, but… I do have a few general principles that I think teams should follow. One of them is just what you said – conservative on early first round picks, just get someone who will start and contribute; aggressive on later first round picks, take a chance on the would-be superstar with question marks.

    • zarathustra

      I think you are right about all of this. I don’t see Bridgewater tumbling that far, but can definitely see Manziel dropping. And though I think you obviously do that, yikes, you might not be getting the corner you desperately need, or WR2, or an o-lineman. And that is where taking Clowney at four bites you in the ass. It is still worth it in my eyes, but there is indeed a price to be paid later.

      • bupalos

        Yeah I actually agree with GRR that you’d probably want to trade back out of 4 if this actually came down AND you had a team that really wanted to come up bad so you could get a haul. But I’m more acclimated now to the idea that it’s really fine to overbuild a strength–especially if that’s what opportunity dictates. Sometimes I think teams get too focused on covering weaknesses and not enough on building strengths. Just sack them every single play and who needs an interception?

  • mgbode

    As one of the rotating drivers of the Gilbert bus, I absolutely love that you have him listed as an option. I also agree that Evans/Watkins will be in consideration, but that the smaller dropoff may preclude us from taking a WR at #4. Robinson being gone kills most ideas of OT here as Mathews and Lewan are truly LT and not the monster type guy that would make drafting an OT at #4 fun for a team with Joe Thomas.

    So, it comes down to Clowney v. Bridgewater on your board and I think that is a fair assessment for how it might come down in the Browns war room.

    I understand your concerns on Teddy. They are valid ones and it may be the measurables that end up having us take Jadaveon. Honestly, it would be unfortunate to have so much invested into OLB (Kruger, Sheard, Mingo, Clowney) and none of those guys can really play other positions as much as kanick wants to push Mingo at safety. We could try Kruger at ILB, but I don’t think he’d work well there (we need a speed guy to pair with Dansby – Mingo actually would be the better choice if we had to move one, but I think that would get ugly at times too).

    So, while I would take Teddy with a big old smile if the board fell this way, I can see why you think the Browns would take Clowney.

    Also, we could take him and potentially see how far Gilbert drops. Let’s say he lasts until pick9 or 10 (QB run coming now?). Well, if that happens, we might get a bounty to give a team Clowney and still get Gilbert who we may have considered at #4 anyway. Hmmmm…

    • zarathustra

      If both Robinson and Clowney are off the board I would probably just take Teddy but I would give serious consideration to Gilbert. If Robinson, Clowney, and Bridgewater are gone–a possibility–it comes down to Gilbert or Watkins for me. Tough decisions.

  • RGB

    Put him in with an already stout D-line, with an established defensive coach, I can’t help but think he’ll excel.
    He won’t be expected to shoulder the load, like at SC. Go get em kid.
    I approve.

    • it’s hard to rationalize clowney from a “needs” point of view,,, but i’ll try.

      with clowney, the front seven would look like (OLB-DE-ILB-NT-ILB-DE-OLB sequence): clowney-bryant-?(groves)?-taylor-dansby-sheard-kruger.

      from that, i take away:
      1. assume rubin is gone after next year; drafting clowney would make it easier to move it and clear cap pick up a mid-round pick.
      2. between sheard-mingo, i think sheard is most build to be able to move an ILB slot. (but i really like the idea of groves/dansby up the middle.)
      3. i think mingo… i think you really have to get creative with his skill set and having an super athletic and fast 6-5 guy at safety just isn’t crazy imo.

      but if you draft clowney, the law of conventional maxing of resources indicates that rubin-mingo-sheard all becomes different levels of expendable.

      • RGB

        The “needs” theory is always a little dicey.
        Do you fill a need, or do you take the best player on the board?
        Sometimes you can do both. (ie. Andrew Luck)
        But, I’m a Trust Your Board acolyte.
        Take the best player, and adjust the roster later. (ie. Draft Clowney, if Watkins is not available, and use Rubin to improve a pick, or acquire another pick.)
        And I’m with you on Mingo. I think he’d make a devastating SS. (Sorry, mg…)

      • zarathustra

        Personally I don’t want to see Rubin go, but it looks the writing is on the wall there. From a needs standpoint the Browns already telegraphed that are open to adding another lineman with their pursuit of Carrington. It is also possible that Pettine really believes in rotating guys in and out to keep them fresh. Re: Mingo. I am counting on him being used creatively and I would expect the same creatively–albeit in a different way–with Clowney. If you will be playing multiple fronts as the Browns surely will it would be devastating to have two “queens on the chess board” on the field at the same time. Especially so considering some of the surrounding talent.
        I didn’t come into this mock draft giving much thought to Clowney, but I’ve become pretty excited about the possibility.

  • zarathustra

    Many thanks to Kanick for the opportunity to participate in this.
    While I think that Clowney would indeed be the Browns pick if they are presented with this scenario, I have to believe that there would be opportunities to trade back. I normally am always in favor of trading back, but I think you would have to think long and hard about passing on Clowney.

    • zarathustra

      One other thing: while I don’t think you spend a top five pick just to make other players on the roster better, I would think Clowney’s presence would elevate the production of both Kruger and Mingo. Again, not the primary reason you pick Clowney, but it doesn’t hurt if you can add a talented player that will help improve the performance of other talented players around him.

    • hey my pleasure, thank YOU.

      there are several money quotes in the piece but the observation/quote re pettine/assertive/get-motor-humming really hit home. the ol-ball-coach doesnt strike me as the hard-working-est coach, nor one that is overly worried about helping young men become masters at their craft. (could be wrong but that’s the view from here.) pettine seems first to be a coach with a lower-case c.

      this raises another question: if we think pettine can get the best of clowney, is there anyone in the first three (bortles-robinson-watkins) you take in front of him? robinson is the only other player who looks like hall-of-fame right now and even his ceiling isn’t as high as clowney.

      i tried to paste this into the piece (it didnt want to load for me)… but geeeeezzzz… just look at him run.

      • mgbode

        I prefer to look at football plays. How about some feats of strength like driving a triple team backwards 5 yds into the RB:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reROq81-Vm8

        • mgbode

          the one reason that you get Clowney is that he could be our modern-day Bo Jackson. he does crazy things noone else can because he is more of an athlete than the best athletes in the world, which is crazy. and this hit will NEVER get old:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMbdPMdmQ58

          • maxfnmloans

            ok, yes I know it looks spectacular, but if you watch the line play, the TE missed a blocking assignment and Clowney is untouched. And Vince didnt have his chinstrap buckled. It was impressive, but he was unblocked.

            That being said, I think Clowney is going to be the pick, if the draft plays out as described in this series to this point. I just can’t see them passing on him. Unless they fall in love with a QB between now and then and are afraid he might not be there at 26 (Carr?)

          • mgbode

            I don’t care. I like seeing Michigan players fly backwards so breaking down the play logically is not going to decrease my utility of enjoyment from it 🙂

          • maxfnmloans

            no time for being a Homer, we’re studying game film here! (says the guy being a homer)

          • nj0

            One of my favorite parts of the draft are the highlight packages that include clips of completely blown assignments that lead to “big plays”.

            “If nobody ever blocks this guy, he’s going to be good.”

          • agreed that highlight packages are pretty bogus like that.
            but i must admit that i was looking to go on a minor rant disparaging teddy bridgewater because of a lot of YAC-plays in his highlight youtubes. but then there were like three balls in a row dropped into buckets on 20 yd flag routes. in short, i still lean anti-bridgewater but i readily admit to being confused and unresolved on the subject.

          • mgbode
          • actovegin1armstrong

            Modern day Bo Jackson, but hopefully without the massive amounts of rHGH regenerating his epiphysial disc in his femur and ending his career.
            All PED’s in moderation please.

          • mgbode

            A.P. stands for Adrian Peterson and All PEDs. I like it.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          I am a big fan if Feats of Strength too!
          It is my favorite part of Festivus, well, that and The Airing of the Grievances.

      • bupalos

        Jebus. Can he catch? Time to put in some 6 receiver sets?

        • Clowney in a six receiver set!! That’s the shit I’m talking about!!
          (If Belichick did this, Barnwell would give him the 5000 word DVOA-Genius treatment.)

          • mgbode

            Clowney, Mingo, Gordon, Cameron, and leave Greg Little in to block. There is some size at WR for you.

      • zarathustra

        You’re probably right about Spurrier, but even if not there is every reason to believe Pettine will excel in the development of young defensive players.
        To be honest, I didn’t give much thought to Clowney at the outset of this and I was thinking I was going have to write about how I personally wanted Robinson, but in real life the browns would go another way. But, I can absolutely see the first three picks shaking out like this. I believe the Texans will indeed take Bortles–though maybe BOB thinks he can take a lesser prospect and develop him, see Matt mcgloin. Either way if I am the Browns I take Clowney over Bortles. TA summed it up nicely in his post–3rd down completion percentage. It is no small thing and it is enough for me to stay away. The only way I see the Rams not taking Robinson is if the trade back and if they do it will likely be with a team that covers Clowney. I cannot forsee a scenario where both Robinson and Clowney are both available to the Browns. It seems to me they are the two can’t miss prospects this year so you can’t go wrong either way. Robinson would obviously play RT at first and when his rookie deal expires would replace thomas. LT is very much worthspespending a top pick on and RT is not. But, a dominating RT and future LT…Yes, but I’m not sure you do that over having a game-changer on the defensive front. Jacksonville is a wild card in all this, but I can see them going for the playmaker in Watkins as TA explained. I would have problem with the Browns taking Watkins at four. Gordon, Watkins, Hawkins, and Benjamin looks pretty fricking awesome to me and fast, very fast. I still think I would prefer giving mike Pettine a Clowney to play with.

      • Nick