Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Draft

I have had a chance to think over what happened last weekend. Here are my thoughts

I don't like trading up. You give up multiple picks to get a guy who the brain trust expects to be worth it. But we Clevelanders are only too aware that no GM or scout is omniscient. Guys who we expect to be good often end up as dogs. Since the GM or scout can't pick a guaranteed winner, the only way to improve your chances of getting lucky with a pick is by having alot of picks, so that even if half of them turn out to be duds, you are still left with some good players.

Savage's trades have the chance of paying off very well. If both Quinn and Wright end up as good as expected, the trades will prove to be worth it. Trading up for them was a risk, though, and if either do end up as failures, it will hurt alot because they both represent multiple picks. I am pretty risk-averse so I don't love the trades. But hopefully the "fortune favors the bold" mantra will hold up in this case.

The Picks
The first three picks were great examples of picking guys who are best available players who ALSO match a particular area of need (although our 2nd rounder Wright needs an asterisk*).

There isn't much more to say about Quinn and Thomas as picks. They are great picks that fill holes without reaching for talent.

The same can be said about cornerback Eric Wright, but not without going into more details. This is the kid who was listed by many as the top cornerback in the draft, which fits well with our huge need at CB. However, he fell through the second round because of character issues. I've searched through news stories, and I can't find anything to suggest that Wright was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But alot of people are vouching for his character, saying he's a choir boy who made one very bad choice that was out of character. I hope they are right, for the sake of the Browns and for the sake of Wright's future.

The last 4 picks were definite need picks, unless Savage got UNBELIEVABLY lucky the entire way down the draft board with best available player also being at our areas of need (cornerback, defensive line, and punt returner). Drafting based on need is particularly risky in the later rounds, since the talent is pretty marginal anyways. In 2006 Savage had gotten away from the lower round need picks, taking a running back, a full back, a safety, a linebacker, and a cornerback as the best available guys on his board, and not necessarily the most important position.

If we are lucky, Melila Purcell and Chase Pittman might end up being solid defensive linemen. But odds are, they are going to be warm bodies filling obvious holes until those holes can be addressed more convincingly with future draft picks and free agent signings. Similarly, Syndric Steptoe and Brandon McDonald might replace Northcutt at punt returner, and McDonald could be a cornerback project who would be nice to see on the field if the secondary is ravaged by injuries again. But it seems like all four were drafted just to add names to a hurting roster, and not because they were the best available players.

As many have pointed out, this draft COULD be a franchise defining moment. But it could also be a serious drain on our ability fill future holes, since we have put all our eggs in the Quinn and Wright baskets.

We are still a few months off from any of these guys getting signed, but I am starting to hope that the Brady Quinn contract does lead to a bit of a hold out. I want Quinn to sit for a while behind Frye. If he holds out, it would provide a great excuse for Crennel to avoid calls to throw him in before he is ready. And it can also help us save a few bucks since we won't be paying more than we should just to avoid the PR issue.

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