Tag:Cleveland Browns
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:43 pm
 

Impressive rookie Lions: Best, Suh tops this week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week One. On offense, Denver wideout Demaryius Thomas had a strong first game to his NFL career against the Seahawks with 98 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dallas' Dez Bryant, who I recognized last week in this space as a "honorable mention" Rookie of the Week, enjoyed a strong second game as well, with 52 receiving yards and a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. I try to look beyond just the "skill" position players for these awards and I was mightily impressed with the drive blocking of San Francisco left guard Mike Iupati last night against the Saints, as well as that of Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey in the Steelers' win over the Titans.

In the end, however, this week's Offensive Rookie of the Week was a no-brainer.  

Though his Detroit Lions lost to the Eagles Sunday, Jahvid Best was absolutely electric. He had 232 total yards from scrimmage (17 attempts for 78 rushing yards and nine receptions for 154 yards) and scored three more touchdowns. His five touchdowns over the first two weeks of the season lead the NFL. Some anticipated that an athletic and aggressive Philadelphia defense would tee off on Best considering the marginal downfield passing of Detroit backup quarterback Shaun Hill. With the Eagles crowding the line of scrimmage against the run, Hill simply found Best as an outlet receiver. Once in the open field, Best's agility and straight-line speed make him a matchup nightmare. Best is the first rookie to score five touchdowns in his first two NFL games since another Lion, Billy Simms, accomplished the feat 30 years ago.

On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates, though in my opinion this week's award was just as much a no-brainer. Sean Weatherspoon (Falcons), Koa Misi (Dolphins) and last week's honoree T.J. Ward (Browns) were impressive again. I was also impressed with the coverage supplied by Denver cornerback Perrish Cox. His coverage helped shut down the Seahawks reclamation project, Mike Williams, and his interception of Matt Hasselbeck ended any chance of a Seahawk comeback.

However, Ndamukong Suh proved to be every bit the dominant player against the Eagles we projected he'd be in the NFL. Suh posted eight tackles -- second most in the league by an interior defensive lineman -- and recorded his second sack in as many games. The Lions featured Suh and Best on the same play twice Sunday, with Suh lining up as Best's fullback.

Posted on: September 14, 2010 1:17 pm
 

KC's McCluster, Browns' Ward Rookies of the Week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week One. On offense, the skill position players like St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford, Detroit running back Jahvid Best, and a host of receivers -- Cincinnati's Jordan Shipley, Dallas' Dez Bryant and Tampa Bay' Mike Williams certainly deserved consideration. So too did some of the lesser acknowledged players -- such as Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki and Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams. 

In the end, however, my choice for Offensive Rookie of the Week was Moeaki's teammate, running back/receiver/returner Dexter McCluster.

McCluster was limited to only two receptions (for nine yards) and one rushing attempt (no gain), but his dazzling 94-yard punt return in the second quarter of the Chiefs upset victory over the Chargers was among the biggest plays of the opening weekend. His touchdown provided the Chiefs with the momentum (and, ultimately the deciding points) that helped them hold on to beat the AFC West favorites. 

On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates. Philadelphia safety Nate Allen had five tackles and an important interception of Aaron Rodgers. Pass rushers Koa Misi (Dolphins), Greg Hardy (Panthers), and Tyson Alualu (Jaguars) all made big plays for their teams.

The consistency of Cleveland safety T.J. Ward, in my opinion, was the most impressive of the week, however. Ward led all rookies with 11 tackles Sunday in the Browns 14-17 loss to Tampa Bay. He also forced a fumble and essentially an interception with a strong blitz that forced Bucs' quarterback Josh Freeman to throw earlier than he wanted, resulting in a pick by Browns' teammate Mike Adams.
Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:50 pm
 

AFC North First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the AFC North perspective:

Baltimore Ravens:
There will be players drafted in the middle rounds who surprise in the NFL and will one day be called “steals,” but the first theft of the 2010 draft came by the Baltimore Ravens who dropped out of the first round to allow Denver to pick Tim Tebow and in doing so, added second, third and fourth picks in a spectacularly deep draft. 

Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals invested a third round pick last April in tight end Chase Coffman but were disappointed with his inability to make any kind of impact as a rookie. Jermaine Gresham gives the club a big play threat down the seam that Carson Palmer can exploit when defenses attempt to load up in the box to stop the Bengals’ powerful running game.


Cleveland Browns:
The Browns got the top overall cornerback in the draft in Joe Haden, giving the team a talented secondary to compete against the underrated passing games of the AFC North division. Haden’s selection could push veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown to free safety or give the team one of the more athletic “starting” three corners in the AFC.


Pittsburgh Steelers:
To compete against the ultra physical defenses of the AFC North the Steelers had to get stouter in the middle of their offensive line and they did so, taking Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey. The reigning Rimington Award winner as the nation’s best center, Pouncey can step in as an immediate upgrade over Justin Hartwig or could be slid outside to guard.

Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:33 pm
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Posted on: April 22, 2010 7:39 pm
 

Some talk Rams could trade Bradford post-pick

I've been told that the St. Louis Rams have been on the phone discussing trades for much of the day.

I'm being told that despite taking Sam Bradford, as expected, with the first overall pick, the Rams will continue to hold negotiations with teams following the pick.

This was last done in 2004 when the San Diego Chargers made Eli Manning the first overall pick but traded him moments later to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

The Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, according to sources, remain interested.

Watch closely to see who these clubs take with the fourth and seventh overall selections, respectively. Should they do something odd, a trade for Bradford might still be in the works.
Posted on: April 22, 2010 6:48 pm
 

Debunking McClain to Chiefs, Wilson to Cleveland

The hours before the NFL Draft is always full of hot rumors. With the draft moved to prime time, teams have had all day, rather than just the early hours Saturday morning to explore all of the options.

Some of the hottest rumors making their way around the league over the past few hours just don't make a great deal of sense.

I'm not buying inside linebacker Rolando McClain to the Chiefs at No. 5, for example.

Inside linebacker is clearly a significant need for Kansas City, but Scott Pioli believes as much in value as anyone. An inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense is rarely a value in the top ten and almost never in the top five -- especially in a draft as talented as this one.

I'm also not buying that the Cleveland Browns will take Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson with the seventh overall pick. Again, on the surface, the selection makes some sense. The team could move the recently acquired Sheldon Brown to safety, alleviating that concern and pair Wilson and Eric Wright together to form a very athletic cover corner duo. Wilson simply isn't such a dominant player as to warrant this pick, however. Furthermore, one of the better attributes he'll bring to a team is his return ability. The Browns don't need that with Josh Cribbs already starring in this role.

The smoke is getting thick...



Posted on: April 21, 2010 10:36 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2010 10:37 pm
 

First Round Stunners, Part Two

My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter and I wrote up five bold predictions each in articles here and here .

Like Chad, I elected to push the boundary with the definition of "bold," predicting a trade with the first pick among other things. I fully recognize that the Rams aren't likely to make this trade. I've spoken to enough people in the league, however, that caused me to feel there was a reasonable enough chance of it occurring that I listed it.

Last year , I went out on a limb and predicted that Tyson Jackson, not Aaron Curry, would be the first defensive player selected and that Andre Smith would be a top ten pick. Chad had the even better bold (and true) prediction, picking the Raiders to take Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7.

We were ridiculed at the time for our picks and some ended up not happening. A few, however, ended up being true. I don't anticipate either of us getting all five of our predictions correct this time either, but would be disappointed if we don't pull off at least a few of them.

Because these predictions are such conversation-starters, I thought I'd include a few more that I considered using in the original article.


  • In the "do as I say, not as I've done" department, watch out for Georgia Tech wideout Demaryius Thomas to jump way up in this draft. Some teams, in fact, have him rated higher than Dez Bryant -- and that isn't just due to Bryant's so-called character concerns. I mention the "do as I say" aspect as I don't have Bryant listed on my 4/19 mock draft. After conversations with a few more team sources over these past few days, however, I've been lectured enough to change my thinking on this kid and will certainly be moving him up for the final mock I'm finishing tonight (available Thursday morning). I've acknowledged his dazzling physical upside in the past, but what I hadn't realized is how impressive "Bay-Bay" has done in interviews. The perception might be that Thomas isn't pro-ready due to his time in such a run-heavy offense, but he has dazzled teams in interviews with his on and off-field intelligence. Considering he scored a 34 on the Wonderlic -- second best among all WRs (Eric Decker had a 43) -- perhaps this shouldn't have surprised me (34 on the Wonderlic; second best among WRs), but I admit, it did. I'd still be a bit surprised if he jumped ahead of Bryant, but I'd certainly no longer be stunned.  
  • With all due respect to Mr. Mel Kiper, Jr., Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen absolutely remains in play for the Seattle Seahawks. I don't feel strongly enough to have included it among my original bold predictions, but I would not be the least bit surprised if Pete Carroll took Clausen. He knows him well; much better than he knew Charlie Whitehurst before making the trade for him. He couldn't have. Whitehurst hasn't played. If Seattle was willing to gamble picks on a quarterback they couldn't possibly have known as well as Carroll knows Clausen just to solidify the position, they could do it again. Consider that if Seattle hadn't traded for Whitehurst and given him millions, many would be assuming at this point that Seattle would be strongly considering the former USC recruit. Because of that deal, most aren't. I'm not sure that is a safe assumption.
  • I believe center Maurkice Pouncey is being heavily considered by the Denver Broncos. They own the 11th pick and I can't imagine them taking him there, but they can't afford to trade down too far if they want to get him, as there are several teams in the mid to late teens who love Pouncey. There is a bigger dropoff between Pouncey and the No. 2 rated center (either Baylor's J.D. Walton or Boston College's Matt Tennant, depending on the team) than between the top-rated and second-best prospect at any other position in this draft. To put it into perspective how rare taking a true center in the top half of the draft is, note that the last time it happened was 1993 when the Cleveland Browns selected Steve Everitt from Michigan with the 14th overall pick.



Posted on: April 20, 2010 8:52 am
 

Advice to Rams: If not 100% on Bradford, trade

As I reported a week ago and Cleveland Browns' general manager Tom Heckert publicly confirmed two days later, the St. Louis Rams are having internal discussions about trading out of the No. 1 pick.

With the several potential suitors (Cleveland, Washington, Seattle, Denver), it is possible that the Rams get the 3,000 "points" as required in the draft pick trade chart every team and media member refers to in these situations.

Far be it from me to offer the Rams, and specifically general manager Billy Devaney, advice on the situation, but I'm going to anyway:

Dear St. Louis Rams,

If you are not 100% sure that Bradford is the answer to your problems, trade the pick.

Even if it means getting less value than the talking heads think you should.

Sincerely,

Rob Rang

Trading out of the No. 1 pick for less than its perceived value will likely generate some negative reaction from other teams and the media.

The reality is, the Rams, winners of only 6/48 games over the past three regular seasons have holes throughout their roster. The 2010 draft is as deep and talented as any we've seen in over a decade. The money saved on not utilizing the first overall pick would cover the extra players.

And for all of the talk about how difficult it is to trade out of the top pick, the last two teams that did so, received more than fair value for their courage -- though they weren't necessarily viewed as the consensus "winners" when making the deal on draft day.

The San Diego Chargers did it the unconventional way in 2004, selecting Eli Manning with the first pick and then shipping he to the Giants for the 4th overall selection, Philip Rivers, and three picks that the Chargers ultimately turned into Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding and veteran offensive tackle Roman Oben.

San Diego was involved in the last trade involving the No. 1 pick, as well, trading out of the top spot in 2001 to Atlanta. The Falcons got Michael Vick and the Chargers got the fifth pick, which they used on LaDainian Tomlison, as well as Atlanta's 3rd round pick in 2001 (Chargers selected CB Tay Cody), second round pick in 2002 (WR Reche Caldwell) and veteran receiver/returner Tim Dwight. Having not filled their quarterback need in the first round, the Chargers used their first pick of the second round on some guy named Brees.

There will be those that argue the Rams should simply ignore Bradford and use the top pick on their highest rated player, almost surely Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy.

Unfortunately for St. Louis, having spent high first round selections on the defensive line in 2007 (Adam Carriker) and 2008 (Chris Long) likely precludes the team from doing so.

My admittedly two-cent advice? Capitalize on the best deal you can get and trade out. Let someone else gamble on Sam Bradford's shoulder. Fill other areas of concern with the first round pick(s). And take the quarterback you really want -- Texas' Colt McCoy -- 33rd overall.

Who knows, maybe the short, remarkably accurate, gutty leader is the second coming of Drew Brees, after all.










 
 
 
 
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