Rich's Rant: 24 Days and Counting...

Rich Passan, like most of us on this site, can't wait for the draft to arrive. Here is what's going through the mind of the former Plain Dealer sportswriter while the clock ticks slooooowly towards draft day...

Random thoughts while waiting for time to inexorably transport all of us to the National Football League's college draft later this month . . .

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Can't wait for that lottery. One of my favorites times of the year. Maybe my favorite time of the year. No, definitely my favorite time of the year.

What will the Browns do? Is Phil Savage really playing mind games with his fellow general managers? Where does he plug in first? Will it be Brodrick Bunkley or Haloti Ngata? Will it be Kamerion Wimbley or Tamba Hali? Will it be Jimmy Williams or Michael Huff? Maybe LenDale White or DeAngelo Williams.

Where do the Browns need the most help? And can Savage finally pick someone who can step in and deliver right away? Maybe two or three immediate contributors. No more of this dart throwing on the second day.

Hopefully, Savage knows that the key to being successful in the draft is what you do the second day.

So many questions. So few answers.

Why can't the draft be this weekend?

Won't be long now before Savage and his men hunker down in the War Room Berea. Get all the right names in the right places. Make certain the entire scouting and coaching staff occupy the same page.

No arguments on draft day. Everyone in accordance.

Can't wait. Let's see now. How much time left? Twenty-four days, 21 hours, seven minutes and 32 seconds.

Faster, faster.

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Savage has kept a relatively low profile lately after busting out his free-agent raid a few weeks ago. What's he thinking? What's he got up his sleeve? He's been far too quiet.

Guess here is that the market has dwindled to just a precious few he's interested in and they're far too costly. Sure, Savage has spent around $100 million of Randy Lerner's money. So? What's another 30 or 40 mil?

Wouldn't it be nice to see LaVar Arrington playing on the opposite side of Willie McGinest with Chaun Thompson moving inside next to Andra Davis? Think of it: McGinest, Davis, Thompson and Arrington across the middle and only Davis would have to come out on passing downs.

That also would eliminate the need to draft an inside linebacker and concentrate on another vital area of the defense.

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One of the good arguments on the site the past couple of weeks centers (no pun intended) on Jeff Faine.

Some say keep him and move LeCharles Bentley to guard. Others say ship him outta here for a third- or fourth-rounder in the draft. And there are those who would like to see the Browns retain Faine as a Bentley backup.

First of all, Bentley is going to be the center on this team for the next decade. He's too good and too valuable to be moved to guard. If there is any moving to be made, it will be Faine . . . moving elsewhere.

And for those who think the Browns can get a third- or fourth-rounder for him, quit taking your dream pills. Not gonna happen. If Savage gets a fifth-rounder, he should say "thank you" and move on.

Who would be foolish enough to swap a high pick for a player who (a) isn't as strong as he needs to be and (b) hasn't played an entire season in his first three years as a professional?

If the Faine supporters want to see how the position should really be played, they should watch Bentley this season and learn. He will make a huge difference in the performance of the offensive line.

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For those of you who like to rip on draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., understand one thing: He's a guesser. An educated guesser, but a guesser nonetheless. And his guesses change every couple of weeks. More now that the draft is closer.

He is not an idiot, as some of you suggest. And he's not a moron. And he's definitely not a tool.

Kiper is well plugged in to what's going on with relation to the draft. He has assigned a number of different players to the Browns over the last several weeks. The draft landscape changes from time to time.

The latest is Wimbley, the lithe defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid from Florida State who made scouts' mouths water with his outstanding performance at February's combine in Indianapolis.

Who knows whom Kiper will assign to the Browns next week. Or the week after.

Maybe Wimbley remains a solid pick right up to the draft. And then Savage stuns everyone and takes Williams, the athletic and inconsistent cornerback from Virginia Tech. If he's there.

Does that make Kiper a moron? An idiot? An imbecile? A tool?

No. It makes him a bad guesser.

But it sure is a lot of fun reading his bad guesses.

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Twenty-four days, 20 hours, 10 minutes and 43 seconds.

Faster, faster.


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