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Cleveland Browns' 2012 NFL Draft Analysis

June 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 180

1st Round (#3) RB Trent Richardson, Alabama

1st Round (#22) QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State

2nd Round (#37) OT Mitchell Schwartz, Cal

3rd Round (#87) DT John Hughes, Cincinnati

4th Round (#100) WR Travis Benjamin, Miami

4th Round (#120) ILB James-Michael Johnson, Nevada

5th Round (#160) G Ryan Miller, Colorado

6th Round (#204) OLB Emmanuel Acho, Texas

6th Round (#205) DT Billy Winn, Boise State

7th Round (#245) CB Trevin Wade, Arizona

7th Round (#247) TE Brad Smelley, Alabama

Analysis of Notable Selections:

Trent Richardson: The Browns could not land either of the two impact players they really needed (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III) to jumpstart the franchise. Cleveland actually traded up one spot with Minnesota (surrendering a 4th, 5th and 7th round draft choices) to guarantee them the star running back. Richardson was the consolation prize and he does provide the Browns with a playmaker. The former Alabama star is built to carry a team's ground attack and he should be a terrific back. However, his physical running style stacks the odds against him from having a long NFL career. Richardson had minor knee surgery after the 2011 season and also had knee and a foot injury in high school. Walter Payton or Emmitt Smith-like durability is so rare.

There was no freakishly gifted Calvin Johnson-type of wide receiver in the 2012 NFL draft. In addition, the Browns play in bad weather late in the season. It made perfect sense to add a stud running back. The problem is the running back position is not as valuable as it used to be. The NFL today is a different game than it was in the 70's and 80's. The true impact positions for the Browns are quarterback, wide receiver, pass rusher and cornerback. Cleveland added a likely very good player, but Richardson does not play a position that can truly turn a franchise around.

Brandon Weeden: The Colt McCoy era was brief in Cleveland. McCoy's inability to get the ball downfield contributed to Cleveland's punchless offense. The Browns are going nowhere in the AFC North until they find a good quarterback. Is Brandon Weeden the answer? Weeden brings to the table a lot of question marks. He does not handle a pass rush as well as a quality quarterback should. His accuracy and effectiveness decline a lot when he is forced to move his feet and his timing is thrown off. He has an above average arm, but it is not so good that he can complete passes without properly stepping into his throws.

Weeden rarely faced pressure in Oklahoma State's spread offense. He had plenty of time to complete mostly easy passes. He also threw the ball primarily to Justin Blackmon who took many short passes by Weeden and turned them into sizeable gains with his running ability. Weeden could very well be a mediocre NFL starting quarterback. He also is an average athlete who is not going to be able to improvise much when plays break down. The fact that he will be 29-years-old in October also is a negative. The Browns reached for Weeden in the 1st round because they are desperate at the game's most important position. Cleveland may have been better off surrounding McCoy with as many playmakers as possible. They could then replace McCoy in 2013 with a young quarterback who at least has some weapons around him. The Mike Holmgren era in Cleveland will be considered a bitter disappointment if Brandon Weeden does not emerge as a quality starting quarterback.

Mitchell Schwartz: Cleveland needs an upgrade at right tackle. Schwartz had a solid career at Cal playing both left and right tackle. However, he makes up for average strength and athletic ability by being a sound technician. He has a chance to be a decent right tackle, but may never be more than an average run blocker. The Browns passed on Cordy Glenn who is a much more powerful player than Schwartz is. Glenn has the tools to be a powerful run blocker at right tackle and solid in pass protection. The Browns also passed on Alshon Jeffery and Rueben Randle. Cleveland needs a lot of help at wide receiver regardless of who is at quarterback. The team could have selected a wide receiver in the 2nd round and still addressed the right tackle position in the 3rd round. The Mitchell Schwartz selection was questionable near the top of the 2nd round.

John Hughes: The former Bearcat had a solid senior season (51 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks), but projects to be a backup defensive tackle in the NFL. Hughes lacks an outstanding attribute. He has an average motor and decent size, strength, quickness and instincts. Cleveland again passed on the wide receiver position. The Browns need to draft a good starter in the 3rd round of the draft and not a backup.

Travis Benjamin: The Browns scored an embarrassing 218 points last season. The team finally addressed the wide receiver position and selected a very fast, but tiny receiver. Travis Benjamin is a better track athlete than a wide receiver. He weighs 172 pounds and has a small frame. His production at Miami was modest. Cleveland passed on Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, Nick Toon and Juron Criner. All of these receivers had better collegiate careers than Benjamin did. The Browns did get faster at wide receiver with this decision, but probably not much better. This is a team that is crying for a playmaker at wide receiver and Benjamin is very much a project.

2012 NFL Draft Grade: C

Bottom Line: The Browns were loaded with draft choices and yet came away with only one likely very good player (Trent Richardson). If Brandon Weeden is an average NFL quarterback then Cleveland will have plenty of more opportunities to draft high. The team lacks quality wide receivers and yet waits until the 4th round and then select Travis Benjamin! Trent Richardson had better be Earl Campbell, Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson all rolled into one to defeat defenses stacked to stop the run. Teams score points in the NFL through the passing game. Yes, it helps to be balanced and a running game has a definite role. However, Cleveland was woeful on offense in 2011. The additions of Brandon Weeden and Travis Benjamin will not turn a weak-passing attack into an explosive one. In addition, the Browns had seven day three draft picks and all of them look like backups in the NFL without much upside. The Cleveland Browns failed to turn their franchise around with this draft class.

http://www.profootballdraftnetwork.com provides extensive pre and post NFL draft analysis. The site features scouting reports, rankings, top values, biggest risks, interviews with college coaches and players and mock drafts.

Source: EzineArticles
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