Tag:Cleveland Browns
Posted on: April 28, 2011 7:30 pm
 

Falcons moving up for a WR?

Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com (and working today for The NFL Network) is reporting that the Atlanta Falcons are talking trade with the Cleveland Browns in an attempt to get Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones.

The deal would make a great deal of sense for the Falcons. They have one of the league's best wideouts in Roddy White, of course, but, didn't get enough production from their secondary targets. Other than future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (arguably the best 35 year-old player in history), the Falcons' next most productive "receiver" was running back Jason Snelling -- who caught 44 passes for 303 yards.

Jones is the big, physical and fast wideout the Falcons were hoping to get when the previous regime invested a late first round pick in Michael Jenkins. Jones, of course, was viewed as a clear second option behind Georgia's A.J. Green -- until he beat Jones in virtually every measurable category at the Combine.

On tape, however, Green is a significantly more reliable route-runner and pass-catcher than Jones -- which is why I have the Georgia receiver as one of the four elite players of this year's draft and Jones as a very (but not elite) prospect as the ninth best prospect. There is no doubt, however, that Jones would be perfectly suited as the "secondary target" for the Falcons, rather than expected to come in and be an immediate No. 1 target as Green will no doubt be. 

The potential to move down also makes a great deal of sense for the Browns. Cleveland's biggest need is in transitioning from a 3-4 defense to the 4-3. With few defensive linemen currently on the roster that fit the scheme -- and run on such linemen expected to occur in the late first round -- the move makes sense. It also, of course, would give a young Browns' team more picks with which to grow.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:34 pm
 

DE Bowers reportedly aces Combine re-check

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers' knee surgery and subsequent rehabilitation have been the subject of great NFL consternation and plenty of publicity.

After a disappointing Pro Day workout , speculation increased that Bowers' rehabilitation wasn't going as planned. NFL teams were quietly using the terms "career-threatening" and "microfracture" to describe the nation's sack leader.

According to at least one team, however, Bowers' recovery is coming along well.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer cites an anonymous league source who notes that Bowers "didn't even have to undergo another X-ray or MRI because the physical exam went so well, the source said. Stability was good and there was no swelling in the knee."

Cabot also notes that the Cleveland Browns, owners of the No. 6 overall pick, will be hosting Bowers today and tomorrow at their team facility.

The Browns, switching to a 4-3 defense, are thought to strongly considering Bowers and other highly rated defensive linemen with their first round pick. The Browns finished with only 27 sacks last season, tied for the 4th lowest total by any team in the NFL.

Bowers, who measured in at 6-3 (3/8") and 280 pounds at the Combine, is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated prospect for the 2011 draft and our No. 2 rated defensive end (behind North Carolina's Robert Quinn).


Posted on: December 20, 2010 11:19 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 11:21 am
 

Young NFL QBs Tebow, Flynn, etc impress

As you've no doubt heard or read before, the NFL is a results business. For all of the hype that Tim Tebow received coming out of college (and the little that Matt Flynn had), they were among a group of young passers forced to prove themselves Sunday.

Tim Tebow's starting debut, of course, was the player most focused on. Tebow was unable to lead the Broncos to a victory in Oakland, but played better than his statistics might lead you to believe. The Broncos protected their rookie quarterback with a run-heavy attack. Tebow completed 8 of 16 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. He would have thrown for another TD had RB Lance Ball not dropped a short pass in the endzone. Tebow also led the team with 78 rushing yards, including a 40 yard touchdown run that showcased the Heisman form that helped him overtake Herschel Walker as the SEC's career leader in touchdowns. Tebow wasn't spectacular, but considering that Denver had lost 59-14 at home to the Raiders in October and were tied at 20-20 in the 3rd quarter before Oakland was able to pull away late to win 39-20), Tebow showed plenty of upside.

Perhaps the most surprising performance of the day -- at least to some -- came from Green Bay Packers' backup Matt Flynn . Flynn, a three year veteran making his first career start, out-shined MVP candidate Tom Brady for much of the night, completing 24 of 37 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw an interception. Flynn played poorly a week earlier after Packers' starter Aaron Rodgers went down with a concussion against Detroit. Flynn's improvement in this game wasn't a surprise to Packers' brass. They are very high on Flynn, as evidenced by the fact that they kept him over 2008 second round choice Brian Brohm. In fact, as I noted in this space in September of 2009, some of the reason why Packers' GM Ted Thompson forced Brett Favre to either retire or accept a trade to a team other than the Vikings was the belief in the former LSU standout, Flynn.
Flynn's performance will hardly unseat Aaron Rodgers, but it does provide the Packers with the assurance that they have a reliable backup and trade commodity.

Tebow and Flynn's efforts in losses weren't the only highlights from young quarterbacks, however.

The Carolina Panthers got their first win under rookie Jimmy Clausen . Clausen was far from spectacular in the Panthers' 19-12 victory over Arizona, but he was more efficient than fellow rookie John Skelton, completing 13 of 19 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. He did not commit a turnover - only the second time in eight starts this season that's he thrown for a TD and not had a turnover. Clausen wasn't so good that the Panthers should consider anyone other than Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, should the Stanford redshirt sophomore come out early and Carolina end the season with the worst record. He was good enough, however, to allow the team to look at another position (rather than reach for another developmental QB) should Luck remain at Stanford. 

In terms of efficiency, Cleveland's Colt McCoy (19-25 for 243 yards and two TDs) was actually the most impressive rookie quarterback of the day. The Browns struggled to maintain drives against the Bengals, however, and lost to Cincinnati, breaking Marvin Lewis' squad's 10-game losing streak. McCoy's two touchdowns came on a trick play in the first quarter and a defensive breakdown in the 4th.

The Broncos, Packers, Panthers and Browns have plenty of decisions to make before the April draft. Some of those decisions, however, may have been made easier with the performances of their young QBs yesterday.

Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.


Posted on: November 24, 2010 5:03 pm
 

Ivory, Ward again winners for Rookie of the Week

Reviewing film from each NFL game, as well as talking to pro personnel scouts, I'm usually able to compile a fairly strong list of rookies to highlight in this space. It has led to my acknowledging the strong play of various players in this extraordinary rookie class.

A few players are making it difficult to highlight other rookie performances, however, as they week in and week out are proving that their respective teams can rely on them.

Entering this week's games only two players had earned Prospect of the Week more than once -- the Detroit Lion's defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Cleveland Browns' safety T.J. Ward .

With another strong performance in Cleveland's 24-20 loss to Jacksonville, Ward now has earned the Defensive Rookie of the Week three times, including twice in a row. He was featured last week in this space after expanding upon his rookie tackle lead with eight stops, including two passes broken up. That gave him 75 tackles, a full third more than any other rookie in the league regardless of position.

Against the Jags, Ward was even better recording five tackles and the first two interceptions of his pro career. Ward's two picks -- both of which came off of deflections -- gave the Browns six turnovers on the day.

The Saints' rookie running back Chris Ivory , not to be out-done, earned the Offensive Rookie of the Week award for his 99 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. Ivory, who played three seasons at Washington State before transferring to Tiffin University, ran like a man who wanted the residents of Washington state to remember what might have been. Ivory was arguably the difference in a surprisingly competitive game between the Saints and Seahawks that featured some beautiful passing by Drew Brees and Matt Hasselbeck. Ivory expoded to and through the hole on various interior power plays for the Saints, dragging or stiff-arming his way through the Seattle defense.

Ivory had previously been recognized for his performance a month ago after a breakout performance Week Six against the Bucs. Ivory led all NFL backs with 158 rushing yards that week. 
Posted on: November 18, 2010 12:03 am
 

Pats TE Gronkowski, Browns SS Ward Top Rookies

New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski and Cleveland Browns' strong safety T.J. Ward earned my Rookies of the Week for their big time performances in high profile matchups Sunday.

Gronkowski, whom the Patriots selected with the 42nd overall pick last April, caught five passes for 73 yards and three touchdowns to help New England beat Pittsburgh. Whereas some teams elect to use their tight ends only on short yardage plays near the end zone, the former Arizona star's first and third scores of the game came from 19 and 25 yards, respectively. His first touchdown reception of the game came from a pass from Tom Brady zipped down the seam. Gronkowski had to dive to make what was his most difficult reception of the game. In the third quarter, Gronkowski got his easiest catch, as the Steelers, guessing run, left him wide open on a quick drag to the outside. Finally, Gronkowski caught his third score of the game in the fourth quarter with Brady lofting a beautiful corner fade towards the left pylon.

Gronkowski's hat-trick made selecting the Offensive Rookie of the Week relatively easy. While there were solid performances from other rookies, including Dallas wideout Dez Bryant, Tampa running back LeGarrette Blount and Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy (among others), Gronkowski's plays stood out.

As has been the case recently, choosing a defensive rookie of the week was tougher. Among those considered were another Patriot -- cornerback Devin McCourty -- and Dallas' cornerback Bryan McCann. However, with yet another strong performance, the Browns' Ward earned my pick.

Ward, the 38th overall pick of the 2010 draft and previously honored with this recognition after an 11 tackle and forced fumble premiere in the season opener.

Against the Jets Sunday, Ward posted eight tackles and two passes defensed. His tackle total now gives him 75 on the year -- 25 more than any other rookie at any other position thus far this season and only four behind Buffalo's Donte Whitner as the leading tackler among AFC defensive backs.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 9:07 am
 

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi Prospect of the Week

When a team puts forth a 83-20 shellacking of a conference foe there is plenty of credit to go around. Wisconsin, without potential All-American running back John Clay, received a dominant performance from their offensive line and simply pounded Indiana into submission on Saturday. It was an offensive display that Wisconsin hadn't matched in nearly a century.

After reviewing dozens of prospects across the country over the weekend, the indelible impression made by the Badgers' offensive line in this game was simply too much for me to ignore.

Though he was held out of the second half of this game with a minor leg injury, left tackle Gabe Carimi was the driving force behind Wisconsin's most impressive quarter -- the second -- against the Hoosiers. It was in this quarter that the Badgers pulled away from Indiana. While the final scoreboard is certainly proof to the contrary, the Hoosiers were competitive early in this contest, tying the score at 10 points each in the early minutes of the second quarter.

However, an injury to Indiana's starting quarterback Ben Chappell and with the Badgers often operating on a short field, the rout was on.

Wisconsin offensive lineman are often typecast as simply drive-blockers. In this contest there were certainly examples of Carimi doing just that. He played with good leverage and leg drive when doing so. It was the mobility and balance with which he blocked downfield and protected the edge in pass protection, however that is why he'll be a first round draft pick this April. 

Wisconsin rarely asks their All-Big Ten left tackle to pull, but an example of Carimi doing exactly that came with 5:05 in second quarter. Carimi, showing very good initial quickness, balance and surprising agility, latched on to Indiana weakside linebacker Leon Beckum and cleared the way for James White's 30-yard touchdown that extended Wisconsin's second quarter lead to 24-10 over a Hoosier team that had battled the Badgers step for step early.

Carimi was just as impressive in the passing game.

Carimi eases back into his pass set, demonstrating quick feet and balance. Despite his height, he plays with good knee bend, giving him the leverage to handle the bull rush. This had been an area he'd received low grades from scouts earlier in the year. The four year starter who took over for 2008 No. 3 overall pick Joe Thomas, plays with similar awareness as the Cleveland Browns' star. Carimi is a patient blocker who allows the defender to come to him whereas inexperienced pass blockers often lunge at defenders and find themselves unbalanced.

His awareness was demonstrated in Wisconsin's 4-yard touchdown pass with only 21 seconds left in the second quarter. Carimi made an initial block of a Hoosier defensive lineman, stoning him with a strong initial pop, before switching over to a blitzing linebacker to give Badger quarterback Scott Tolzien plenty of time to fire the touchdown to Nick Toon. 

Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:44 pm
 

Colt McCoy, Eric Berry Rookies of the Week

With all due respect to Oakland Raiders' receiver and kick returner Jacoby Ford (who was spectacular in the Raiders' 23-20 overtime win over the Chiefs) and San Diego rookie Seyi Ajirotutu (two touchdown receptions against the Texans), it is time to recognize the play of Colt McCoy with Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.

I've acknowledged the gutty play of Cleveland Browns' rookie quarterback Colt McCoy the past two weeks, but his performance against the New England Patriots demands attention.

In a surprisingly close loss to the Steelers and the Browns' stunning road win against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, McCoy's Browns played well -- but almost in spite of their rookie signal-caller, not because of him.

The stellar running of Peyton Hillis and the inspired play of the Cleveland defense certainly played critical roles in beating the Patriots, but McCoy was deadly efficient as a passer (completing 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards) and his mobility kept the Patriots' pass rushers frustrated. McCoy's biggest play was his 16-yard scramble for a touchdown on the Browns' first drive of the third quarter. That score gave the Browns a 24-7 lead that proved too much for the Patriots to recover from.

While there were several standout rookie performances on the offensive side of the ball, the pickings were slim among defensive prospects.

New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes had his moments in the loss to McCoy and the Browns, collecting eight tackles in the loss.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry , however, continues to prove he's a young star in the making for the Chiefs. After recording a career-high 10 tackles and his second interception of the season two weeks ago in the home win over Buffalo, Berry showed off his versatility, collecting two sacks on the afternoon.

Berry, the No. 5 overall pick, now has 45 tackles, four passes broken up, two sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery on the season.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:04 am
 

Super Bowl teams boast Rookies of the Week

Considering that the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts are the reigning NFL and AFC champions, it might come as a surprise that they had enough holes for rookies to make big splashes already this season.

That said, anyone who watched their victories this past Sunday over the Tampa Bucs and Washington Redskins, respectively know the impacts that running back Chris Ivory and middle linebacker Pat Angerer had on their games.

As a way of keeping up with the collegiate prospects I scouted last year, I recognize an offensive and defensive NFL rookie of the week after each weekend's games. There was significant competition this week, but Ivory and Angerer's performances were just too productive to really look anywhere else.

Ivory, an undrafted free agent out of Tiffin University, exploded for 158 rushing yards against the Bucs. He did his damage on only 15 carries, meaning he averaged 10.5 yards per attempt. He was even more effective as a receiver, catching one pass for 17 yards. Ivory led all NFL running backs in rushing yardage in Week Six.

Angerer, a second round pick out of Iowa, continued the Colts' trend of drafting undersized, instinctive linebackers and simply plugging them in. Leading the Colts with 11 tackles against Washington, Angerer also posted a sack and broke up two passes.

Among the offensive rookies I also considered were Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy (who showed surprising poise in a loss to the Steelers), Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung (who limited Julius Peppers to only one tackle in the Seahawks' surprising win over the Bears) and a couple of wideouts -- St. Louis' Danario Alexander and Dallas' Dez Bryant -- who each caught their first NFL touchdowns this week.

On the defensive side of the ball, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was a strong candidate, considering his three tackles and 1.5 sacks against the Giants. Suh leads all rookies in sacks with 4.5, as well as all interior defensive linemen in the NFL. The Patriots' Jermaine Cunningham was also a consideration, as his six tackles, one sack and one forced fumble helped the Patriots come back to beat the Ravens in one of the week's best games.

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com