Butch and Pete: Take 2

Swerb takes an in-depth look at the Browns 2002 draft, as well as the second draft pairing of Butch Davis and Pete Garcia in his Commentate-Off 2K2 entry! (Note, the formatting came out a little goofy on this one. Blame that on Word XP and me, not Swerb. Darn that Bill Gates!)

Butch and Pete:  Take Two


Now in their 4th season back from NFL extinction and the 2nd year of the Butch Davis era, the Browns headed into the 2002 college draft looking to add the final pieces to a team that expects to be a serious playoff contender this season after surprising many with seven wins a season ago.  The draft also signaled the official changing of the guard in the Browns personnel department, with Dwight Clark citing his diminishing role as the main reason behind his recent resignation as Browns director of player personnel shortly after the draft.  Although it was common knowledge here in Cleveland who the men calling the shots were for the past year, the move "officially" thrust Pete Garcia, longtime right-hand man of coach Butch, into that role and their stamp was further imprinted into the orange and brown via this latest draft. 


1st Round


#16 (#16 overall)-William Green, RB/Boston College

6'0, 221 lbs. / 4.60 40 yd. dash / 345 lb. bench press / Wonderlic score of 16


We could have selected:            CB Phillip Buchanon, Miami Florida

                                                RB T.J. Duckett, Michigan St.

                                                WR Ashley Lelie, Hawaii


Recent 1st round picks:               QB Tim Couch, Kentucky

 DE Courtney Brown, Penn St.

 DT Gerard Warren, Florida


            The Browns knew all along who it was they wanted at #16, yet played it very close to the vest, and had everyone thinking it would be T.J. Duckett after bringing him in for repeated workouts in the weeks leading up to draft day.  Green is an exceptional athlete that not only has size and speed, but also great vision and the ability to gain yards after initial contact.  The Browns have desperately lacked a back that can finish his runs like Green, who also has the big play ability to score from anywhere on the field.  He's a very aggressive runner that can make life miserable for awaiting LB's after breaking through the line with his shifty, yet powerful running style.  Green also is adept at catching the ball out of the backfield, showing great hands at Boston College, where he was 1st team All-Big East his final two seasons there.


                While very talented, Green is still a little rough around the edges and needs to seriously improve his blocking skills before he can become an every down back.  He also has very small hands, a trait that scared some away from Ricky Williams, who has since shown a penchant for coughing up the pigskin.  Also, Green's off field problems are well documented, as he was suspended for Boston College's biggest game this past season against Miami Florida for breaking a team rule.  Green grew up in a rough part of Atlantic City, NJ, and he lost his father to the AIDS virus. 


                Despite the constant praise Butch gives James Jackson, there is no doubt that the Browns fully expect Green to be able to give them 20 carries a game this season and be the centerpiece of the power running game that they want to employ.  After ranking either last or next to last in rushing in each of their first three seasons back, the Browns must be able to move the chains on the ground this season to stand any chance of being able to accomplish what many in this city think they can this season.  After passing on Ricky Williams and LaDanian Tomlinson in past years, and T.J. Duckett this season, the pressure will be immense on Green to produce.


2nd Round


#15 (#47 overall)-Andre Davis, WR/Virginia Tech

6'1, 194 lbs. / 4.42 40 yd. dash / 320 lb. bench press / Wonderlic score of 24


We could have selected:                        WR Reche Caldwell, Florida

                                                OT Langston Walker, California

                                                WR Antonio Bryant, Pittsburgh


Recent 2nd round picks:              WR Kevin Johnson, Syracuse

                                                LB Rahim Abdullah, Clemson

                                                WR Dennis Northcutt, Arizona

                                                WR Quincy Morgan, Kansas St.


            While the team was not looking to select a wideout in the 2nd round for the 4th season in a row, after Ohio St. C/G LeCharles Bentley was taken off the board three picks before us by New Orleans, Davis was simply too good to pass on.  Another guy capable of scoring from anywhere on the field, Andre is an accomplished return man and won the Atlantic-10 Conference championships in the 100 and 200 meters dash as part of the track and field team.  Unlike most sprinters though, Davis has a muscular upper body and is far from an "easy tackle". He excels at running after the catch, changes directions well, and if he gets behind you….forget about it.  Davis is also adept at positioning his body on both curl routes over the middle and lob passes down the sidelines.  He's a character guy that excelled in the classroom, make the Academic All-Big East team three consecutive times.


                Andre is a very gifted athlete, but still needs to work on catching the ball with his hands as opposed to his body.  He grew up playing soccer, and didn't even play his first football game until late in high school.  His field awareness could use some improvement and despite his sprinter speed, it seems to take him a second to kick it into his second gear.  His route running needs to become a bit more precise, and at this level he will need to get a bit more physical in both his blocking and route running.  Davis was also plagued by injuries throughout his career at Virginia Tech.


                While Kevin Johnson has turned into one of the league's most dependable wideouts, the team has been unable to find a reliable running mate for him.  Also lacking a deep threat, the Browns think they may have answered both problems here, though initially, Davis will likely only see the field in four WR sets. Davis will also likely return punts for the team this season, and it would be hard for him not to be an upgrade at that spot. 


3rd Round


#11 (#76 overall)-Melvin Fowler Jr., C/Maryland

6'2, 300 lbs. / 5.46 40 yd. dash / 365 lb. bench press / Wonderlic score of 22


We could have selected:            LB Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma

                                                OG Terrence Metcalf, Mississippi

                                                DT Dorsett Davis, Mississippi St.


Recent 3rd round picks:              CB Daylon McCutcheon, USC

                                                S/LB Marquis Smith, California

                                                RB Travis Prentice, Miami Ohio

                                                WR JuJuan Dawson, Tulane

                                                RB James Jackson, Miami Florida


                Butch Davis was elated to get Fowler here, and claimed that he was a guy they were seriously considering taking in the previous round with the pick that ended up netting Andre Davis.  While many fans expected an offensive lineman to be taken earlier, the Browns feel they got great value here with Fowler, who did not allow a sack in his last three years at Maryland, where he never missed a game and started every one.  In addition, he registered the highest blocking grade (87.4%) of any offensive lineman in Division I last season.    A hard worker and a good athlete for his size, Fowler has also made great strides in the weight room.  He sustains his blocks, has great feet, good mobility, and he plays faster than his 40 time would indicate.


                Fowler did have surgery on his left shoulder in both '98 and '99, which limited his time in the weight room.  His limited size and strength are why he slipped this far, and he could struggle against some of the immense DT's he will face in the NFL. 


                After not selecting a lineman in the 1st two rounds, you can be assured the Browns were holding their breath and banking on the fact that Fowler would slip to them here.  While he played center at Maryland, the Browns will work him at guard and envision him being a backup at the three interior line positions this season.


4th Round


#3 (#101 overall)-Kevin Bentley, LB/Northwestern

6'1, 243 lbs. / 4.68 40 yd. dash / 410 lb. bench press / Wonderlic score of 21


We could have selected:                        DE Alex Brown, Florida

                                                FB Omar Easy, Penn St.

                                                CB Mike Echols, Wisconsin


Recent 4th round picks:              LB Wali Ranier, Virginia

                                                CB Lewis Sanders, Maryland

                                                TE Aaron Shea, Michigan

                                                CB Anthony Henry, South Florida


                This was the pick we received from Detroit in exchange for Ty Detmer, and with it the Browns selected Bentley, the first of what would eventually be three linebackers selected in this draft.  A solid tackler and instinctive run stopper, Bentley was a three-year starter and the emotional leader for the Northwestern defense, where he played across from Oakland 1st round pick and fellow OLB, Napolean Harris.  Kevin has great feet, good hands, and he moves well laterally.  He excelled in the Blue-Gray College All-Star game at year's end.


                Bentley is an overachiever, but a little small for a NFL LB.  He struggles in pass coverage, and was often handled by bigger offensive linemen.  Will need to live in the weight room to contribute as an every down player in this league, though many smallish LB's have done exactly that. 


                The Browns expect Bentley to be a very solid special teams player and improve the teams' depth at LB, as the likely backup to Dwayne Rudd.  While many were stunned that the Browns didn't jump on Alex Brown from Florida here, the team smartly made a strong commitment to improving the specials teams in this draft.


#13 (#111 overall)-Ben Taylor, LB/Virginia Tech

6'1, 236 lbs. / 4.83 40 yd. dash / 300 lb. bench press / Wonderlic score of 23


We could have taken:                OG Martin Bibla, Miami Fla.

                                                QB Rohan Davey, Louisiana St.

                                                RB Travis Stephens, Tennessee


                Butch and Pete came right back with another high energy/overachieving OLB just 10 picks after the Bentley selection.  Taylor was a two-time Butkus award finalist, and the fiery leader for one of the best defenses in the nation the last couple seasons at Virginia Tech.  Relentless is the best word to describe this guy.  Taylor is simply a playmaker, and is the complete package from the shoulders up.  Excellent feet, above average lateral movement, and fully competent at covering tight ends and backs out of the backfield.


                Like many players that compete with the reckless abandon that Taylor does, he has run into some injury problems.  He's built with a very narrow frame, and his upper body strength is definitely lacking, which causes him to get pushed around from time to time.  Taylor wasn't too successful blitzing at Virginia Tech, which he will be asked to do here.


                Like Bentley, Taylor will be primarily a specials teams guy barring an injury to Jamir Miller (or a trade).  His high motor and success on special teams in college indicate he will provide a big upgrade covering kicks. 


#24 (#122 overall)-Darnell Sanders, TE/Ohio St.

6'6, 265 lbs. / 4.93 40 yard dash / 270 lb. bench press


We could have taken:            WR Ron Johnson, Minnesota

                                                CB Keyou Craver, Nebraska

                                                FB Jamar Martin, Ohio St.


            The Browns were so impressed by Darnell's individual workout that they dealt up in the draft to select him, making the Buckeye TE their 3rd pick in the 4th round.  A physically gifted specimen that was a big key to the Buckeye run game as a blocker, Sanders is a huge target that catches the ball well in traffic.  Sanders has great upside, and the ability to break tackles after the catch.


                While he usually made the difficult catch, Sanders often had trouble with the easy ones in his college career.  He was also bothered by speedy edge rushers, and struggled to get his long and angular frame in the right position to get in front of them.  He's definitely a better run blocker than a pass blocker.


                An intriguing pick in a position where many thought they were dealing up to select his teammate at Ohio St., FB Jamar Martin.  If Sanders, Dudley, and Shea can stay healthy it really gives Couch a trio of interesting pass receiving options coming off the edge of the line.


5th Round


#6 (#141 overall)-Andra Davis, LB/Florida

6'0, 245 lbs. / 4.77 40 yd. dash / 405 lb. bench press / Wonderlic score of 21


We could have taken:                QB Kurt Kittner, Illinois

                                                DE Kenyon Coleman, UCLA

                                                LB Courtland Bullard, Ohio St.


Recent 5th round picks:              WR Darren Chiaverini, Colorado

                                                CB Anthony Malbrough, Texas Tech

                                                CB Lamar Chapman, Kansas St.

                                                LB Jeremiah Pharms, Washington


                With the pick we acquired from Minnesota in exchange for Spergeon Wynn and Travis Prentice, the Browns picked yet another high profile LB from a big school.  Also a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award (and a second team All-American) last season as the standout MLB for the Florida Gators, Davis is a very aggressive and competitive player that lives in the weight room.  He hits like a ton of bricks, and is relatively quick off the snap.  Like the other Davis we selected (WR Andre in the 2nd), this was simply a situation where the player slipped and was too talented to pass on.  He's a gamer that had some injuries earlier in his career but is not afraid to play with pain.


                The injuries are an issue here, as is the lack of size for a MLB.  Originally projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round, some teams were concerned about his speed and agility after tearing his medial collaterate ligament in the Gators '00 opener.  Missed some tackles a season ago, but he did play with a cast on his hand.


                Davis will be the backup to Earl Holmes in the middle, and despite his size, should be a quality player in this league.  Like many of the guys selected by the Browns in this draft, he may not have the greatest size, speed or strength, but simply is a big play football player that played against quality competition in school.  He also should make his presence felt on special teams for the Browns in '02.


6th Round


Selection traded to move up to select Darnell Sanders in the 4th round.


Recent 6th round picks:              DT Marcus Spriggs, Troy St.

                                                LB Kendall Ogle, Maryland

                                                TE James Dearth, Tarleton St.

                                                QB Spergeon Wynn, Southwest Texas St.

                                                OG Brad Bedell, Colorado

                                                S Michael Jameson, Texas A&M


7th Round


#16 (#227 overall)-Joaquin Gonzalez, OT/Miami Florida

6'3, 300 lbs. / 5.15 40 yard dash / 335 lb. bench press / Wonderlic score of 28


We could have taken:                QB Ronald Curry, North Carolina

                                                OT Eric Heitmann, Stanford

                                                RB Antoine Womack, Virginia


Recent 7th round picks:              RB Madre Hill, Arkansas

                                                OT Manuia Savea, Arizona

                                                DT Eric Chandler, Jackson St.

                                                S Rashidi Barnes, Colorado

                                                OT Paul Zukauskas, Boston College

                                                WR Andre King, Miami Florida


            A no-brainer here, as this 1st team All-American was supposed to go much earlier.  Outshone by Bryant McKinnie at Miami Florida, but he started 49 games, giving up only two sacks in his entire four year career playing right tackle for the ‘Canes.  Joaquin was a phenomenal student athlete, and the recipient of numerous academic awards.  He's a very aggressive blocker with incredible awareness and above average feet.  He plays the game intelligently and will play through pain.  An absolute steal this late in the game.


                How could a player with the above credentials possibly slip this low?  Limited size, speed, and strength.  Many feel he would be better suited to play guard in the NFL, but this guy has been proving the experts wrong for years.  He definitely needs to find the weight room early and often in his Browns career, and he's a half second slow coming off the snap.  Sometimes he plays a little too tall, and needs to get accustomed to "blocking lower" against the bigger, quicker, and more powerful NFL defensive ends.


                The Browns brass fully expects this 7th round pick to not only make the team, but also be the primary backup to Ross Verba and Ryan Tucker at the tackle position.  Hopefully the aforementioned pair can stay healthy, giving Joaquin a season or two to watch and learn, which he excels at.   




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