The draft is less than 4 hours away, & the Carolina Panthers will be on the clock before you know it. If CAR is smart, it will trade down to add depth or draft that Alabama DT Marcell Dareus. Most people think Auburn QB Cam Newton will go there, but I think that would be a disaster!
Newton will be a bust almost anywhere he goes, but in CAR he’ll have limited weapons, new coach (Ron Rivera…yikes!), & he doesn’t have much familiarity with being under center (like so many of these draft prospects who all come out of the gun…thanks a lot college football).
I watched that coaches camp show with Jon Gruden & thought Newton seemed cocky when he spoke to Chucky. Newton knew some things about Xs & Os but wow does he think he has it all figured out! Newton seemed a little unfocused at times too.
I also watched most of the other Gruden shows, including his interview with TCU QB Andy Dalton. Dalton looked like a bust charisma-wise & physically unimpressive. WAS QB Jake Locker looked like a bust due to his apparent offensive comprehension & quick decision-making on the field, laid-back attitude & injury-prone style of play. Auburn DT Nick Fairley could be great but appeared lazy & out of shape. Worse, we only have 1 good year of tape to look back on with him.
ARK QB Ryan Mallett is a hard worker & coach’s son, so he could be a quality NFL backup. His ceiling in the league seems like Drew Bledsoe 2.0 – a fiery, hulking, immobile QB who sometimes throws bad picks in big games.
The only one who impressed me in the Gruden interviews was Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert seemed charismatic, bright & poised – with a high football IQ. Unfortunately he spent most of his time in the shotgun formation too, so who knows if he’ll be very good in the NFL, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a poor man’s Matt Ryan or better.
As for the Browns, I’m really only interested in LSU CB Peterson or NEB CB Amukamara at #6. Both seem like relatively clean players on & off the field, and have legit physical tools to succeed at the next level. I would take TX A&M OLB Miller if he were available, but I presume he’ll be gone by #6. If Big Show (Browns President Mike Holmgren) can’t get any of those players, CLE should just trade down & grab 1-2 of the quality DEs or NTs in this draft. Quinn, Bowers, Watt, Smith, Wilkerson should be had in the 12-25 range, & maybe even lower if the Browns are lucky/patient.
I would even be willing to roll the dice on Fairley if CLE could get him at #12 or later. The Browns D-line is awfully thin at this point (Brian Schaefering & Kenyon Coleman are the bookend DEs right now), so why not get value in a draft filled with those types of players?
Most of the “draft experts” want the Browns to draft A.J. Green, & if he’s gone, then go after Julio Jones! Research suggests that taking a WR high in the 1st round is very risky: http://thefloorseats.com/2011/04/28/nfl-draft-2011-preview-why-your-team-should-avoid-drafting-a-wide-receiver/
I just read an article by Mel Kiper was arguing that CAR should blow the 1st pick in the entire draft on Green! It’s especially funny considering the worst teams (Lions, Bengals, Cardinals) always seem to be drafting WRs high, while Super Bowl teams like GB (Greg Jennings) & PIT (Mike Wallace) got their stud WRs in the 2nd round of past drafts or later.
The Browns could easily trade a 2nd or 3rd pick for a decent veteran WR & that position would be tolerable for another year. RB & TE are set & the left side of the O-line is fine, so QB Colt McCoy should have enough to work with if we give him 1-2 decent WRs (trade for a Anquan Boldin-type player & then draft a WR in the 2nd or 3rd round).
Experts keep talking about the explosive capability of Green or Jones, & they both seem like big-play WRs from the highlight stuff on ESPN. McCoy doesn’t have a gigantic arm, & the Browns run the west coast offense (short passes), so a deep threat WR (Braylon Edwards-type guy) is not a huge help to CLE anyway. As a result, the impact of Green or Jones would have a diminishing return in CLE.
Now, to the big question: Who is going to go Al Davis this year & draft a guy in the 2nd round that he could’ve drafted in the 5th round or later? I’m referencing the Raiders atrocious ’09 draft, where they inexplicably spent their 2nd round pick (47th overall) on Michael Mitchell, a safety from Ohio U. who many had as a 5th round pick or lower.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock had Mitchell projected as a 7th round pick! Mitchell was the 1st OU Bobcat to be drafted in the 5th round or higher since 1948!
Let’s not forget the Raiders also blew the 7th overall pick in that ’09 draft on Darius Heyward-Bey, who was regarded by many as the 3rd or 4th best WR in that draft & an eventual bust. Can’t wait to see who the Raiders draft this year!