EDITORS NOTE: Views and opinions expressed in Fan Commentaries do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the OBR and its staff. In addition, the OBR may not agree with the factual basis of statements made in Fan Commentaries.
Recent news accounts inform us the pre-draft blending appliances are plugged in and busily swirling on the counters in the Berea complex. Which makes for lots of excitement and lots of things to look at.
Sports science tells us the more things that are swirling, the less likely anything in the swirl will happen. And that something ridiculously unlikely will get spit out in the end. This explains how Ray Farmer, faced with Teddy Bridgewater and David Carr atop his QB draft board a year ago, kicked away both players and weeks of preparation after receiving a draft day text from Jimmy Haslam on the topic of Johnny Football.
Farmer is a good judge of talent but a bad decision-maker when he overthinks and gets caught up in reacting. This explains why Farmer sent endless texts to Shanahan on play calling and disparaging Brian Hoyer while wholly oblivious to the notion Shanahan was just not that into it. Shanahan fled for the turnstiles along with Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron as the league shined light on the topic. Hoyer found a raft and fled the wreckage and joined his former New England coordinator in Houston. Alex Mack is in the outer lobby intently reading the clause in his contract that allows him to exit the blender after this season. All this amidst the big picture view of a front office unable to keep things glued together when things get challenging.
Ironically, Coach Pettine described the signing of Josh McCown and those who disparaged his 1–10 record last season as not quite catching the big picture of an offense in disarray. Somewhere along course of events, the wide angle lens will get tossed in the linen closet and the microscope will come out. It always does.
All of which signals a front office move in the direction of Mariota on draft day led by new Browns QB coach and Mariota draft-helper Kevin O’Connell. Folks leading the offensive parade like their guys to be in the parade and sing loudly for just that. It’s just the way it works.
Trading both first round picks for a shot at a spread quarterback and devoting three first round picks in the past two years aimed at a starting franchise quarterback would be icing on the cake for Browns fans in dismay. It would be RGIII epic, because three first round picks is the difference between a franchise skimming bottom and staying afloat.
Somewhere in the blenders vibrating on the Berea countertops is Coach Pettine’s desire to build a championship defense amidst all the off-season moves that brought in leaders like Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner, and Randy Starks. Except those guys are here for the present, not the future. All of which aims those two first round picks the Browns are holding somewhere in the direction of a defense that was last in the league against the run and 27th in sacks and an injury to Paul Kruger away from bottom-feeding in both departments.
A trade up for the mythical opportunity to draft a Dante Fowler that doesn’t rob the Browns of the opportunity to grab defensive tackle Malcolm Brown later in the first round gets the Browns there in a hurry if “there” is a championship caliber defense. Fowler brings relentless effort, that “play like a Brown” ethic Pettine has instilled, and is a chess piece Pettine can line up all over the field. No one is talking about this, but if you’re scheming to get Mariota (and somehow not give up the farm and hang on to that second pick in round one), why not scheme for a player who helps get you nearer the oft-stated goal of a championship defense?
Pettine also recently stated the Patriots won with defense and a running game until Tom Brady arrived, which infers you can wait on chasing a QB, where next year’s draft looks like a more promising chase. This is a perspective that should be allowed to remain swirling somewhere in the blenders in Berea.
Plan B and sitting at #12 and #19 is also promising. The consensus pick at #12 and Danny Shelton at NT lays out a draft that makes senses for all sorts of reasons in play across the basket of mock drafts already gathered.
A wide receiver corps which led the league in fewest touchdowns - and whose leading receiver was the fourth receiver for the Bengals the year before - speaks to a crying need. Browns fans who watched the team pass on Julio Jones and Sammy Watkins and emerge with only Phil Taylor and Justin Gilbert to show for all the over-thinking are in obvious dismay. DeVante Parker developed under Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, who figures as Ray Farmer’s and Coach Pettine’s twin separated at birth. Strong epitomizes the belief in a tough-nosed defense. Parker figures to bring mental toughness and the play-like-a-Brown attitude for a team in search of just that in the passing game.
Todd Gurley could also be the answer amidst a possible trade down from #12 should the holy grail opportunity to trade up and grab an A rated difference maker fail to materialize. Gurley is a top talent that also gives the Browns DeFilipo that chess piece he can move around in space and which worked well for him in Oakland.
There is no shortage of ideas which would make for an interesting draft. Should blenders not get switched off sometime between now and Thursday something off-the-wall may happen. Maybe it’s a good thing, and the Browns trade up and do something completely off the radar. Maybe Ray Farmer goes Butch Davis and ignores the draft board that has been carefully assembled. Again. Maybe the Browns sell the farm and grab Mariota (to the dismay of all within view of the big picture). Maybe a QB falls from a tree somewhere like Philadelphia who is otherwise hoarding quarterbacks like the Browns are stockpiling corners. Maybe the Browns resist temptation and hold out hope McCown and Manziel will be just good enough to get through the season — and not force the issue.
Stay tuned. The variety show kicks off Thursday.
Follow TheOBR on twitter: @TheOBR