I am in football heaven.
Admittedly, it is quite overwhelming. Seeing all the big-name owners, coaches, and players in person can make one a bit awestruck. You're more than likely a hard-core football fan ready this, so I imagine you can relate to the feeling I've had.
But, as tough as it is, I still have a job to do, so it is time to stop my jaw from dropping and get Browns fans as much info as I can.
A lot of what I'm doing here is working alongside TFY Draft's Tony Pauline and contributing to the reports being pumped out for Scout. You can check them out right here. Tony's been doing this for years, so I'm learning a lot by working with him.
There are several of us here for Scout, so we split up watching practice. Oddly, I have the responsibility of scouting the offensive and defensive lines. Who would have thought?
So here goes nothing…..
Today, I started off with the intention of mixing with some of the people I saw here from Cleveland and elsewhere, starting with Tuesday morning's North squad practice.
As always, I found an opening along the fence right in front of the offensive line at the beginning of practice. To my surprise, newly appointed Browns GM Phil Savage makes his first appearance and parks himself right next to me.
I couldn't resist, so I introduced myself and quickly explained my plight. To my surprise, Savage was quite friendly. After a couple minutes of chitchat I decide to move, to prove I was at the practice with a job to do, not just spy on him ;-).
I have to admit I was quite relieved to see Savage pull up a spot right next to me to watch the offensive line; very encouraging for those of us who want to see the team focus on improving the line.
Once the afternoon session ended [reserved for the South squad], I was wandering about the field looking out for who was talking to whom. Possibly talking with anyone that would listen.
The highlight of my day came as I introduced myself to Mike Mayock of the NFL Network. As a younger guy trying to understand what it might take to make it as a scout, I was honest and open with him. Mayock was quite friendly and frank with me, and gave me some terrific advice. We talked for about twenty minutes, and I came to the realization that these guys who had the fan part of me awestruck earlier in the week are a lot more approachable than I expected.
Let me hit upon a few quick thoughts on players I've been watching while still early in the week. We'll come back and visit these impressions once the week has ended.
Most Impressive - A lot of buzz has surrounded the play of Mark Clayton, wide receiver from Oklahoma and this week's North squad. While size seems to be an issue, no player has been more precise or mistake free the first few days in practice. The term "uncover able" has arisen, though still only whispered. Im my opinion, though, size is an issue and Clayton will not be a number one receiver in the NFL. Just missed the cut: Darren Spores, Matt Roth, Charlie Frye
Least Impressive – This distinction goes to a player who really has not been the least impressive on the field but overall the biggest disappointment: Elton Brown, top guard prospect from Virginia. Brown came to Mobile expecting to see his stock rise. Come the first day of practice, however, he pulled his name out and decided not to participate because of injury. Add to the fact that "Big Easy" resembled a big marshmallow... he clearly had the softest body during weigh-ins. So far, what we've seen is very disappointing and less than impressive. Just missed the cut: David Greene, Jason Brown, Vincent Jackson
Offensive Lineman to keep an eye on: Wesley Britt, OT Alabama. He has come to Mobile with a vengeance. Even during walk-throughs, Britt looks like he wants to pop and maul whoever is in his way. He's not afraid to mix it up: on the first play of the first practice he was in a scuffle with Ray Willis of Florida State. Britt has some prototype measurables as well. Now he just needs to work on his hand placement.... His stock has definitely risen from my perspective. Just missed the cut: Marcus Johnson, Khalif Barnes, Evan Mathis