Derry: New Draft Expert for Hire

Frank Derry watched the Senior Bowl and has a Draft Guide. Step aside, Phil Savage. That, and more developments from an NFL-free weekend...

This can't be! It absolutely can't be!!

There was no NFL game on TV this weekend for the first time since late July. Heaven's to Betsy. I think I'm going into some type of withdrawal shock!!!

For those of us who glue themselves to the TV set to catch every pre and post-game show, not to mention at least three games on Sunday and another on Monday night, we suddenly had a lot of hours to kill this weekend.

Here's how one person made it through:

First, I went to visit my brand-new grandchild, a baby girl born on Jan. 25. Little Emily, daughter of Jim and Jen, is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen in my life and believe me I'm not biased one bit. But I am mighty proud!

Next, I watched and taped the Senior Bowl on Saturday afternoon. Since many of the participants will be in NFL camps this coming summer, plus the fact they were using NFL rules, it wasn't too difficult to stretch the imagination to actually convince myself I was watching an NFL game. The fact one of the punters shanked his first kick for 18 yards proved to me that I was watching the next Kyle Richardson.

The reason I like to tape the Senior Bowl is so that I can go back and dissect every player on every play. To some of you, this may sound ridiculous, but how else can I convince myself that come Draft Day, I will know everything there is to know about every player general manager Phil Savage and his staff have on their big board.

OK. Maybe I won't know everything about everybody. None of the early first-rounders were around to be graded and I'm sure there were a few late-round picks who didn't get an invite.

But draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. was able to fill me in on most of those guys, so as of right now, I truly believe I have done enough research to allow me to scrutinize every pick the Browns make this year.

What I don't understand is why teams waste millions of dollars scouting when all they need do is buy either Kiper's draft guide or one of the scores of other magazines that will tell you anything and everything there is to know about every draft-eligible player in the country.

In fact, the next time I see Randy Lerner, I am going to try and convince him to pay me a mere $1 million and I'll take complete charge of the draft for one year. If my players don't perform as well as Savage's did this past year, I'll return half the money and vow to never ever criticize another draft pick.

The next thing I did was turn on one of those shows that dissects every offensive and defensive play that both Pittsburgh and Seattle ran throughout the course of the season.

Now that I know what the Seahawks are going to do out of every formation they run, I'm convinced head coach Romeo Crennel and his staff are wasting a lot of their valuable time watching film of upcoming opponents.

If Mr. Lerner gives me $1 million to spend, I'll hire a couple of know-it-alls to do all of the dirty work. That'll give Crennel extra time to play some on-line poker, which just so happens to be the next thing I did to kill time this weekend.

When you think about it, Texas Hold `Em is very similar to football. In both activities, you can either be passive or aggressive.

Passive poker players are similar to NFL teams that play to keep the game close. They hope to still have a chance to win when half the tournament field has been eliminated. Or in the case of NFL teams, when the fourth quarter rolls around. The Browns fit into this category.

Aggressive poker players come out with "all-in" bets every time they get a good hand. This is equivalent to the "bombs" being thrown by NFL teams that like to jump on an opponent quickly and then continue the onslaught for the entire game. The Indianapolis Colts are a prime example.

There's another similarity between poker players and NFL teams.

Loose poker players will sometimes call the big blind even if they only have a 2-7 off-suit. They'll win occasionally, but for the most part if you go into a game with a "junk" hand, your chances of success are slim. We'll call these junk-hand players the Cleveland Browns.

On the contrary, other poker players always seem to have "big slick" or "pocket rockets" with which to play. They seem to have the upper hand all of the time. We'll call these players the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hopefully, if Lerner hires me to handle the draft this year, the Browns will at least have a couple of "10s" in hand come their next showdown with the Steelers.

At least then we might have a fighting chance, something that wasn't the case this past year.


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