UDFA of Note:Jason Jiminez (Southern Mississippi, OG), Leigh Bodden (Duquesne, CB), Ricky Sharpe (San Diego State, CB), Chuck Klabo (North Dakota State, OT), C.J. Jones (Iowa, WR), Jeremy Loyd (Iowa State, OLB), Gus Felder (Penn State, OG), Enoch DeMar (Indiana, OG)
This year was no different. While most assumed the offensive line would be addressed in the first round, no one predicted Jeff Faine would be the guy. Faine is a solid player with good football intellect and a blocker mentality. He was not worth the 21st pick of the draft in our minds and is not nearly the athlete nor as dominant as another center (Damien Woody) who was selected in the same area several years ago. Faine was not even the best player on the board. With good offensive tackles still available choosing Faine this early, especially in a draft deep at center, is tough to figure out.
Upon our immediate return from the combine, we posted a story illustrating the Browns interest in Chaun Thompson, a small school linebacker with major talent. Thompson can be used in the middle or on the weak-side and with an overhaul taking place in the Cleveland linebacker unit, expect him to get plenty of opportunity as a rookie.
Back to the surreal in round three. They caught lightning in a bottle with Anthony Henry two years ago and that must be the thought behind the selection of Chris Cocker. Cocker was a mediocre college player for Marshall, a guy that never took his game to the next level nor seemed as if he had the talent too do so. While he was a tackling machine for the Herd and has the versatility to play corner or safety, Cocker's best shot may be as a special teams player.
Lee Suggs was good value in round four. Even if he misses all of the '03 campaign recovering from shoulder surgery, Suggs is an excellent change of pace runner for feature back William Green. His inside speed and nose for the end zone should eventually earn him many opportunities to carry the ball.
Back to the surreal in round five. Ryan Pontbriand is a long snapper that could have been had in free agency. With some of the defensive lineman still available to Cleveland (Matt Walters, James Lee) this was a shocking pick.
Their final two choices were solid late round selections. At the top of his game, Mike Lehan is a very good cover corner who shuts down the opposition. A leg injury hampered him in 2002, and he did not have the season many hoped for, but is a prospect with a large upside.
Similarly Antonio Garray had a career full of injuries; everything from season ending knee or ankle ailments to a neck disorder. Problem is Garray does not come down with nagging little injuries rather major, season ending setbacks. Still, he is a very good football player when healthy and round six was worth the risk for his potential.
Analysis: Even though Faine could be starting by opening day, we do not see a great upside in this draft. If one of the tackles the Browns passed on (Kwame Harris, Eric Steinbach) turns out to be a stud, there will be plenty of hindsight with this collection of players.
Looking at the Browns Draft...
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