Posted on: April 19, 2010 7:15 pm
Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert publicly announced that his team had held conversations with the St. Louis Rams about obtaining the No. 1 overall pick.
It will be interesting to see if the Denver Broncos are as forthcoming with their internal conversations.
I am told that some of the reason that Denver has been asking for picks rather than veteran players in return for Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler is that the club is considering making a significant proposal to the Rams for the first overall pick.
The Broncos feature Kyle Orton as their starting quarterback and recently acquired Brady Quinn, but head coach Josh McDaniels is thought to be very high on Sam Bradford and could see Orton as a stopgap starter until Bradford is ready to take over.
The Broncos own four picks within the draft's top 80 selections, including the 11th overall. Josh McDaniiels has shown a willingness to trade future picks in the past. He traded Denver's 2010 first round pick to Seattle last year for the right to move up in the second round and select Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith.
Posted on: March 23, 2010 5:53 pm
I've gone on the record on multiple occasions with my feelings on Jimmy Clausen. I feel that he's a potential first round quarterback more due to the value of the position than his ability. I do believe he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but, like Brady Quinn before him, I believe his good talent has been greatly enhanced by extraordinary coaching, giving him limited upside for the NFL.
Besides my occasional rants about him, Clausen has taken the brunt of negative comments from a host of others lately, not the least of which was Cleveland Browns' president Mike Holmgren, who seemed to throw a wet blanket on the idea that the Browns might take the former Irish star with the comment, "I wish I liked him more."
For all of the negativity that has been coming down on Clausen recently, I believe the guy deserves some credit for attending Notre Dame's Pro Day today.
Scouts knew he wasn't working out. He'd long ago scheduled his own personal Pro Day April 9 after undergoing surgery on his toe. As he surprisingly admitted to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, he only began running in preparation for his April 9 workout yesterday .
Whether Clausen will be in proper shape for his upcoming workout is fodder for another blog post.
Deserved or not, among the concerns scouts have expressed to me about Clausen is his leadership ability, or rather his perceived lack thereof. Some in the league believe that Clausen wasn't the greatest of teammates while at Notre Dame.
Perhaps offering some proof that this was not the case, Clausen showed up to root on his former Irish teammates Tuesday. Considering that he feels his toe is "not as strong as I want it" it would have been easy to understand why he'd have remained in training room rather than the cheering section Tuesday.
Sometimes leadership is all about the actions rather than the words. In this case, Clausen's actions showed some of the leadership scouts want to see from a first round quarterback.
Posted on: March 21, 2010 8:15 pm
Cleveland president Mike Holmgren, the man who coached and is at least partially credited with developing Joe Montana, Steve Young, Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck, among others, is apparently not interested in working with Jimmy Clausen.
Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer quotes Holmgren as saying "I wish I liked him more. You know that you have a type of player that you like? It's not scientific. People like him a lot. He'll go high. But it would be hard for me [to take him]."
This isn't because Holmgren isn't interested in adding a rookie quarterback. Holmgren freely admits that the Browns will use a pick on a quarterback in the draft, but it appears it won't be Clausen, or, as Grossi points out later in the article, one in the second round either.
Said Holmgren, "I'd have to have another second-round pick [to take a quarterback in the second round].
The Browns have to add a young quarterback because Holmgren has hitched his wagon to veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Holmgren signed Delhomme to a free agent contract after he was released by Carolina. The Browns traded for Wallace, who was drafted by Holmgren and played under him in Seattle.
Holmgren's history indicates that he'll draft a quarterback in the mid to later rounds. As I mentioned in a previous blog post , Holmgren, in 23 years of NFL work, has never been apart of a team that has invested anything higher than a third round pick on a rookie quarterback.
Holmgren had previously announced that he liked Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford "a lot," but isn't likely to be willing to part with enough of his ten picks in the 2010 draft to be able to pry away the first pick from the St. Louis Rams. Should the Rams pass on Bradford, Detroit and Tampa, who, of course, took their own first round quarterbacks last year with Matt Stafford and Josh Freeman, respectively, would likely be very interested to hear what the Browns might offer.
Holmgren's honesty is not surprising to those who have worked with him in the past. Holmgren's candor was appreciated by local beat writers and national media, as well. Few head coaches were as willing to explain the what's and how's of the game with the kindness Holmgren did -- which is why his comments on Clausen are likely heart-felt.
It would be a surprise to those who know him if by saying these things Holmgren was attempting to create smoke screen.
"That's just not his style," texted a scout who used to work under Holmgren.
Posted on: March 15, 2010 9:13 am
Edited on: March 15, 2010 1:00 pm
Some will characterize Mike Holmgren's house cleaning with the Cleveland Browns' roster as a necessary purge. The Browns, after all, were one of the league's worst teams last year, needing to go 4-1 down the stretch to finish the year 5-11 -- one more victory than they had in 2008.
I see the moves as a significant risk.
Quarterback Brady Quinn was essentially given away to the Broncos for fullback Peyton Hillis and a pair of late round picks in the 2011 draft.
Sure, the argument could be made that if Quinn was not viewed as a fit in Cleveland's future by Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert, that they might as well let him go. Receiving so little in return for a young quarterback, who has completed 52% of his passes and a has a 10-9 TD to INT ratio, however, appears to be a miscalculation in value.
It is difficult to gauge exactly what Quinn's value was. Certainly Cleveland would have entertained other, better offers if they'd had them.
However, in signing Jake Delhomme only a day earlier, the Browns gave away all of their leverage to negotiate with other teams.
The Browns received better, but arguably still not enough value for pass rusher Kamerion Wimbley in their second trade Sunday.
The Raiders won't be giving up their own 3rd round pick, but the one they picked up last year from the Patriots in exchange for pass rusher Derrick Burgess. This pick is projected to be the 83rd, 84th or 85th pick of the 2010 draft.
Essentially, the Raiders traded away the 32 year-old Burgess for the 26 year-old Wimbley, who is expected to fill a similar role in Oakland as a weakside defensive end and strongside linebacker as Burgess had.
Wimbley, who was scheduled to make a base salary of only 1.065 million was a relatively cheap expense and had either led or finished second in sacks for the Browns in each of his four seasons since being their first round pick in 2006.
Mike Holmgren has established himself as one of the great coaches of all-time. He is, in my opinion at least, a Hall of Famer. However, his questionable decisions while serving as general manager of the Seahawks from 1999-2002 led to his being replaced in this capacity.
When the Seahawks were looking for a new general manager and head coach following the 2009 season there was a public cry for Holmgren to come back to Seattle.
Considering his unproven track record to gauge personnel, however, there was great hesitancy inside the franchise to bring him back.
Sunday's two trades will be seen by some as evidence why.
Posted on: February 13, 2010 5:31 pm
Cleveland Browns fans may want the team to consider Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen or one of the other top quarterbacks in the 2010 draft, but if history is an indication, Mike Holmgren will instead either stand pat or make a trade for a veteran.
Should Holmgren elect to go with his current quarterbacks, Brady Quinn is the clear favorite to win the job. His mobility and short to intermediate accuracy makes him a much better fit in the West Coast Offense than the slow-footed, long passing prowess exhibited by Derek Anderson. Ratliff has flashed potential and was traded for at the request of Eric Mangini, but has yet to appear in a regular season NFL game despite Cleveland's struggles at the quarterback position last year.
According to league sources, the expectation, however, is that the Browns won't be relying on Quinn, Anderson and Ratliff.
Holmgren's success in Green Bay and Seattle, of course, came with Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck - neither of whom his team drafted. Over Holmgren's 23 years in the NFL, he has never been apart of a team that has invested anything higher than a 3rd round pick in a rookie quarterback.
Holmgren and his handpicked general manager, Tom Heckert, will look over the Seattle and Philadelphia rosters closely. With the Seahawks expected to undergo significant roster turnover, Matt Hasselbeck might be available. The Eagles have vehemently denied that Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb are on the block, but the reality is, both are for the right price. Holmgren, despite being team president, has publicly stated that Heckert will have final say on personnel matters.
That makes a deal for one of the two Eagle passers all the more likely.
Posted on: December 10, 2009 8:11 pm
If Brian Kelly -- or anyone else for that matter -- is to be successful at Notre Dame, he'll have to accomplish a feat that Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis were never able to accomplish.
Win, of course, but also to rebuild a defense that has been sorely lacking in talent since the end of the Lou Holtz era.
Considering Notre Dame's natural recruiting advantages, many will be surprised to learn that the Irish haven't had a defensive player drafted in the first round in well over a decade. In fact, it was 1997 -- Davie's first year leading the Irish -- that the Jacksonville Jaguars selected defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn with the 21st pick of the draft. Since, there has been only one Notre Dame defender even drafted within the first 50 picks of any draft, and that was defensive tackle Trevor Laws to the Eagles two years ago... who went 47th overall.
During Lou Holtz's reign (1986-1996), on the other hand, there were 12 Fighting Irish defenders drafted within the first 50 picks...
I can understand why Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis. He simply didn't win enough games. However, the man was brought in due to his brilliance as an offensive coach. He helped turn Brady Quinn into a first round pick, recruited and will have successfully made Jimmy Clausen into a first round pick and has produced some talented skill position players around them in tight ends John Carlson (2008 2nd round pick to Seattle) and Anthony Fasano (2006 2nd round pick to Dallas) and wide receivers Maurice Stovall (2006 3rd round pick to Tampa Bay) and Golden Tate.
If Notre Dame is to return to its former glory -- a monumental task considering their high academic standards and tough annual schedule -- they can't just rely on the flashy offensive stars to get it done.
Congratulations to Brian Kelly on the new job. I wish you the best... (and by that I mean a pass rusher or shutdown cornerback or two...)
Posted on: April 12, 2009 7:50 pm
Sources within the league tell me that several more veteran trades could be on the horizon with talk between clubs "heating up" over the past few days.
Among the names being tossed about are Cleveland wide receiver Braylon Edwards and quarterback Brady Quinn, Buffalo offensive tackle Jason Peters, Kansas City running back Larry Johnson and Houston cornerback Dunta Robinson.
The Giants, according to the source, are strongly considering making an offer for Edwards as a replacement for Plaxico Burress. Speculation has it that the Browns expect a first and third round pick for the former #3 overall pick.The Giants own 10 picks in the 2009 draft, including two picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th rounds.
Speculation has been rampant that the Denver Broncos would be a possible destination for Brady Quinn, should the Browns elect to trade him, but I'm told that the New York Jets are another possible destination for Quinn. The Browns are thought to be enamored with USC junior quarterback Mark Sanchez and could be in position to nab him with the 5th pick of the draft.
With Terrell Owens already creating a distraction in Buffalo, the rumor in scouting circles is that the Bills are getting increasingly fed up with the antics of disgruntled offensive tackle Jason Peters and may be on the verge of shipping the young star elsewhere should they receive a suitable offer. Among those potentially interested are the Rams, Jaguars, Bengals and Eagles. The Eagles, owners of the 21st and 28th picks of this year's draft, are reportedly working the phones already in an effort to move up for one of the top young tackles, but may find the trade for the veteran more palatable.
The talk around Larry Johnson has been quieter than others, but call this one a hunch... Scott Pioli will not end the first day of the draft with only one player. The Chiefs currently own only one pick on the first day -- the 3rd overall -- due to the trade for quarterback Matt Cassel.
Finally, don't rule out a trade of franchised cornerback Dunta Robinson out of Houston, either. The discussions between Robinson and the team have been increasingly frosty, I'm told, and the Texans are in prime position, with the 15th pick of the draft, to take their pick of the top cornerbacks. Many, including I, have projected Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins with this pick, but there is increasing talk that Connecticut's Darius Butler is also a consideration should Houston elect to take a cornerback to either pair with or replace Robinson.