Sunday, March 30, 2008

Once you get locked into a serious lineman collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can

The Browns have added Rex Hadnot and re-signed Seth McKinney.

Assuming the starting line that finished out last season -- Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Hank Fraley, Ryan Tucker, and Kevin Shaffer -- hold on to their starting jobs, that gives us a backup line of Nat Dorsey, Lennie Friedman, Rex Hadnot, Seth McKinney, Isaac Sowells, and LeCharles Bentley. That backup line is better than most of our pre-2007 starting lines. Of course, Pete Prisco at CBS thinks that O-line depth is one of our "needs".

So what's the deal? Is Phil Savage overly concerned about injuries? Its not a terrible thing, given the age of Tucker and Fraley and Bentley's situation over the past two years.

But I also wouldn't be surprised if we saw a Kevin Shaffer trade on draft day. I'm sure Savage would be comfortable shifting Ryan Tucker back to right tackle and letting McKinney or Hadnot start at guard. That wouldn't be an improvement, but if it could get us back into the third round I could see it happen.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Making Peace

It took me a while to come to terms with the flurry of trades that Savage has embarked on.

Gone are our 2nd and 3rd round picks, Leigh Bodden, and the potential for 1st and 3rd round picks for Derek Anderson. Instead we've picked up 700 pounds on the defensive line, a QB who won ten games for us, and a speedy receiver who should help stretch the field.

My initial thoughts were similar to sentiments I read on pft: Trading picks is a good way to trade away the future for immediate gains. The Dolphins' repeated use of trades is part of why they are in their current state. A one year bender such as this probably isn't enough to put a nail in the coffin, but it should not become a habit.

However, I think that I have come to understand the method to Phil's madness.

Some positions can be built through free agency, and some cannot. Running back, guard, receiver, safety, linebacker, while the superstars of these positions rarely become available through free agency, second tier replacements can be had most any season. However at key positions such as Left Offensive Tackle, Quarterback, and Defensive Tackle there is both a wide gulf between second tier and first tier, and a short supply of the first tier. As such, the first tier players at those positions almost never are allowed to become free agents. So to acquire a quality left tackle or defensive tackle, one must either draft them, or trade for them.

So our #1 pick this year, as well as the "potential" 1st and 3rd round picks for Anderson, have gone toward shoring up a quarterback position that has been a keystone cop routine up until now. And really, anyone who remembers the change in offense from the switch from Charlie Frye to Derek Anderson should be only too aware that the best offensive line, wide receiver, running back, and tight end cannot compensate for an incompetent quarterback.

Last year's number one pick shored up the left tackle position in a way that few of us hoped.

And our #2 and #3 picks this year (plus Leigh Bodden) have gone toward defensive linemen. Just think back to Rothlisberger's 30 yard run in our last meeting to understand the prudence of this move.

So our use of picks was at least worthwhile.