Monday, May 2, 2016

On The Clock: NFL Draft 2016: The Real Journey Begins #NFLDraft2016 #Browns

By Alex Hale, @DaSportsGenius7

At long last the NFL Draft is behind us and now NFL teams can get back to developing their teams.  For fans like myself and many other people, we love to analyze what happened throughout the NFL Draft.  One thing was for sure with the 2016 NFL Draft, it was completely unpredictable.  After Jared Goff/Carson Wentz went #1 and #2, the entire 2016 Draft was full of twists and turns that nobody saw coming.  So with that said for our Browns fans, we’re going to go over each of the picks by the Browns with a grade, plus a few stories of the draft that caught my attention.
The Browns and their new regime tied an NFL Draft record with 14 draft selections.  The Browns also set a modern day draft record of selecting 5 WRs.  Hue Jackson, Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta focused their energy on finding themselves playmakers and efficient defensive players.  What also stands out about the Browns draft class is their character and Football IQ.  It’s very clear that outside of the Analytics the Browns are using, Character and Football IQ will be very highly valued in future drafts.  As I grade the Browns picks, please be aware these are just initial feelings of the picks, I’m not going to just write off anyone as a failed pick like a lot of other Draft writers.  So let’s jump into what the Browns did in the NFL Draft.

1st Round (15th Overall)- WR Corey Coleman, Baylor- The Browns ideally wanted Oregon DE DeForest Buckner to be on the board at #8, but he went to San Francisco and the Browns almost immediately traded down.  At 15, the Browns had their choice of any WR in the draft and choice Coleman.  What Coleman lacks in size at 5'10", 195, he makes up for with his speed and ability to catch the ball.  What surprised me going back and watching him is his ability to attack the ball in the air even though he doesn’t have the size.  The kid is fearless and exactly the kind of playmaker the Browns need to send fear into defenses.  While I personally preferred TCU WR Josh Doctson or Ole Miss WR LaQuon Treadwell, after taking a few days to re-evaluate Coleman, I’d put Coleman right up there on the best WRs in this class.
My Grade: B+

2nd Round (32nd Overall)- DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St.- With Myles Jack on the board most people not only were surprised but criticized the pick.  My question to them is why?  While Ogbah doesn’t have the motor you look for that can be picked up over time.  Ogbah is perfect to play the OLB in the 3-4 and gives the Browns a big, explosive, and powerful pass rusher going forward.  This was rumored to be Dallas’ pick so the Browns weren’t alone with where they ranked him.  Ogbah to me was a 1st Round talent who slipped due to motor concerns, but in time I think will be an impact pass rusher for Cleveland.  More importantly this sends a message to Barkevious Mingo to either take the next step or he’s gone.
My Grade: B+

3rd Round (65th Overall)- DE Carl Nassib, Penn State- After selecting Ogbah, I sort of question the selection here, but the talent is worth taking here.  Nassib is quite the physical specimen at 6'7", 275 who I had as more of a 4-3 DE.  Nassib plays with a relentless motor and it helped him come from a walk on to a Nagurski Trophy finalist (Nation’s Top Defender).  Nassib is very raw as a player still and really needs to bulk up a bit more.  I think the Browns are viewing him as a 3-4 DE with some OLB ability, much like JJ Watt.  Extremely talented player with big upside, but I question the pick after taking Ogbah with other pressing needs.
My Grade: B-

3rd Round (76th Overall)- OT Shon Coleman, Auburn- Great value for the Browns in Round 3 as they snag their potential starting RT this year.  Coleman has a great story overcoming cancer and developing into a Day 2 NFL prospect.  He is on the older side (25 years old) but the talent is there.  One big thing to remember, he kept Texas A&M and Top 2017 NFL Draft prospect DE Myles Garrett in check when Auburn faced the Aggies.  He knows how to utilize his size and long arms, might need some refining on moving around on the line, but a very strong pick here.
Grade- A-

3rd Round (93rd Overall)- QB Cody Kessler, USC- Guys… let’s not panic.  For the record, I’m not a fan of the pick, but I get the pick.  It’s obvious that Hue Jackson sees a lot of Andy Dalton in Kessler.  First off Kessler gets the Browns and the fan base after going through the disarray at USC over the past few years.  He’s been through multiple coaching regimes and still finished at USC throwing 88 TDs to 31 INTs.  Remember there once was a time he was going to be a 1st Round pick.  While arm strength is a downside, he has everything else you look for in a QB.  Accurate, Poised, ran a Pro style offense in college.  And remember, Cody Kessler probably isn’t your QB of the future, if anything he’s your backup of the future.
My Grade: C+

4th Round (99th Overall)- LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin- Just a productive LB at Wisconsin that was a Pro Football Focus favorite.  That should tell you why the Browns liked him.  He’s very instinctive and fluid with his movement and ability to get to the ball.  Does have pass rushing ability, but his size will probably limit him in the 3-4 scheme to more of a ILB role.  Overall good pick, adds a solid player to the defense.
My Grade: B

4th Round (114th Overall)- WR Ricardo Louis, Auburn- This is the one pick that confused me the most even after thinking it over.  Louis is the one guy that does have the size/speed combo unlike the other WRs drafted, but his hands are inconsistent.  He did show improvement at Auburn but at Auburn, WRs are very limited in what they do there.  I’m confused by the selection, especially when Pharoh Cooper was right there.
My Grade: D

4th Round (129th Overall)- S Derrick Kindred, TCU- Tough competitive leader that the Browns will need in their secondary.  Broke his collarbone going into his final season at TCU and Doctors recommended surgery, but Kindred played through it.  What stands out on the film is he’s an aggressive player who loves to play the game.  Unfortunately, he lacks a bit in tackling and in coverage.  He could develop into a starter and maybe even a leader for the defense, but he’s going to need time.  Fortunately, Kindred is the kind of guy who will work his butt off to get to that point.
My Grade: B-

4th Round (138th Overall)- WR/TE Seth DeValve, Princeton- Played WR at Princeton, Browns look to be moving him to TE.  Quite an interesting pick as a lot didn’t even have DeValve getting drafted.  What he has going forward is he understands routes and how to run them, which could benefit him at TE.  He’ll need work on blocking and will need to get more consistent catching the ball.  What impresses me the most is he’s great after the catch.  Browns might’ve found themselves a poor man’s Gronk.
My Grade: C+

5th Round (154th Overall)- WR Jordan Payton, UCLA- The Bruins’ all-time receptions leader is a solid get at this point.  He’s got good size at 6'1", 207, and good but not great speed.  What concerns me is his release off the line and his acceleration as it leaves a lot to be desired.  At the very least the Browns are getting a productive WR who knows how to catch the ball which is something you can’t have too many of.
My Grade: B-

5th Round (168th Overall)- OT Spencer Drango, Baylor- The LT for Baylor, the Browns get a solid value pick here.  He’s athletic for the position, but lacks a lot of strength.  Some see him as a potential Guard, but he’ll need to add strength.  Browns have said he’s going to be a RT for now and that makes sense.  He has short arms and as long as he can add some strength he’s great depth to have for the Browns O-Line.
My Grade: B

5th Round (172nd Overall)- WR Rishard Higgins, Colorado St.- How did "Hollywood" slip this far?  Higgins was at least a 4th Round guy to me.  Coming from a Pro-style offense in Colorado St., Higgins thrived as their #1 WR.  While the loss of Garrett Grayson hurt his numbers, it was more of teams adjusting to him.  He doesn’t blow you away with speed but he’s got great ball skills and can easily come into Cleveland and make an impact right away.  Just a consistent player who will catch the ball and makes plays.
My Grade: B+

5th Round (173rd Overall)- CB Trey Caldwell, Louisiana Monroe- I didn’t even have this guy ranked at all.  A shrimpy CB who runs well, but not great.  The best you can hope for is he turns out to be another K’Wuan Williams.  He seems to always have a good eye on where the QB is looking to throw and tends to be right where he needs to be.  Take into effect he didn’t play against the best competition, but Caldwell seems to be a tough, gritty CB who will work to get better.
My Grade: C+

7th Round (250th Overall)- LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona- How did Scooby last here is beyond me.  I would’ve targeted Wright in the 5th Round, but the Browns luck out and get him with their final pick.  Yeah he was banged up last year, but in 2014 you saw an instinctive talent that was the anchor for the Arizona defense.  He comes into a situation where he won’t be thrusted into starting but in time there’s no doubt Wright will start one day for the Browns.  Absolute steal in Round 7.
My Grade: A

Biggest Draft Storylines

Jacksonville Jaguars- Only a few short years ago, you could say the Jaguars were one of the biggest jokes of the league, but the past few years, the Jags ain’t messing around anymore.  David Caldwell did an excellent job, staying patient at #5 and landing FSU CB Jalen Ramsey.  Then in the 2nd Round stealing UCLA LB Myles Jack.  Even on Day 3 landing Notre Dame DT Sheldon Day.  Their other selections were very solid and will continue to build the Jaguars into a big time threat in the AFC.

Reaching for QBs- We all knew the first 3 QBs off the board were going to be Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch.  The question was who was going next?  The Jets started the craziness by selecting Penn St QB Christian Hackenberg.  The Patriots and Browns followed up by shocking critics everywhere by selecting Jacoby Brissett and Cody Kessler.  That led to a surprising slide for Michigan St QB Connor Cook who would end up a 4th Round pick by the Raiders.  Cardale Jones would go in Round 4 to the Bills as well.  This brings up a future trend of drafting backup/developmental QBs early even if they are reaches to have on longer, cheaper contracts.

Did Mike Mayock get Moritz Boehringer drafted?- During the NFL Network’s Draft coverage, NFL Draft insider Mike Mayock along with Rich Eisen, Charles Davis, and Daniel Jeremiah interviewed the German sensation WR Moritz Boehringer.  During the interview, Boehringer mentioned his favorite team to watch was the Minnesota Vikings because of Adrian Peterson.  This led to Mike Mayock to look into the camera and call out Vikings HC Mike Zimmer to draft Boehringer.  Soon after, Mike Zimmer actually called Mayock himself and while the conversation wasn’t really revealed, soon after the Vikings selected Boehringer.  Coincidence?  I think not.

The Laremy Tunsil Saga- We got to end with the biggest story of them all.  Almost 30 minutes before the NFL Draft started, a video and photo was posted online of Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil wearing a gas mask with obviously fumes coming from it.  This led a whole saga of where the video came from, when was it and more importantly who posted it.  But because of it, Tunsil would slide all the way to the Dolphins at #13.  The Ravens would later admit if it wasn’t for the photo/video, he was their selection at #6.  But you would think it was over after Draft Day…well then Tunsil got to Miami for his introductory press conference and then suddenly come down with an, “allergic reaction”.  While Tunsil did do his press conference later, this whole saga should be its own 30 for 30 one day.

I know people will pick "Winners and Losers", but let’s be honest, unless you had a draft like the Jaguars were you draft 2 of the top 5 players on the board in the first 2 rounds, no Draft Class should be called anything.  We won’t have an idea on who did well in this draft for another 3-4 years.  So to fans for all teams, whatever anyone says about your team’s draft, don’t let it get to you.  You can grade picks off of initial reaction, but you can’t call anyone a winner or a loser.  The 2016 NFL Draft was one of the most exciting ones in recent memory with its unpredictability.  For NFL fans everywhere, we can only hope the 2016 NFL season will be as unpredictable as the draft has been.  It’s been fun to write about the NFL Draft and the next time you’ll see me chime in about the 2017 NFL Draft class will be in the College Preseason to give everyone my Top 10 prospects for next year. 

Hey…it’s never too early to look forward to next year's draft! 

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