They say it takes at least three years to evaluate the talent level of an NFL draft. Three years. Who wants to wait that long? Certainly not me. Since the return of the Cleveland Browns I have been an avid participant in the drafting process. I've done research on the players. Studied the stats. Watched all the college bowl games and compared each and every mock draft. The only problem, the Browns haven't actually asked me for my opinion. Not yet at least.
Well, now's my chance. The 2002 NFL Draft for the Cleveland Browns was quite different than the previous two. Okay, okay. I know they still drafted a wide receiver in the second round. Some things never change, but the main difference was this year the Browns didn't have the luxury of a top-three pick. This year they had to do their homework.
The Browns were not picking first or third overall this time. Instead they had the sixteenth pick of the first round and that was by virtue of winning a coin-flip with the Atlanta Falcons. More on that later. The pre-draft day hype was all about running backs. One running back in particular, T.J. Duckett was the pick "du jour" for the Browns. Everybody said so. Guess again.
Now I have a confession to make. With each year of the "new" Browns draft I have had an opinion on who should've been picked by the team. Almost every time I've been wrong. Instead of drafting QB Tim Couch I was in favor of QB Akili Smith. I'm not too proud to admit I was definitely wrong about that one. Thankfully. The next season again I favored LB LaVar Arrington over DE Courtney Brown. I felt you needed an impact type linebacker in the mold of Lawrence Taylor to dominate on defense. The jury is still out on that one. Arrington has become a starter for the Washington Redskins and Brown has had flashes of brilliance between injury-marred seasons. But, I have a good feeling about Courtney this year if he can stay healthy.
The point is this year I was all in favor of landing a big running back like Duckett out of
Now if history keeps repeating itself, at least in my own little world, the Browns more than likely made the right choice. Since I wanted Duckett and they wanted Green. But, we need more than "hunches" to evaluate this crop of talent. We need facts.
William Green is a big, strong runner in the mold of Emmitt Smith. At least that's what Butch Davis is hoping. "The knock on Emmitt was that he was a high 4.5, low 4.6 guy" in the 40 yard dash, says
The only true measure of a football player is what he does on the field. Plain and simple. You can talk all you want about 40 times and IQ tests. Green put up the numbers in college, on the field. He was the second leading rusher in the nation last season with 1,559 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played for a major college program at
Green's off the field troubles have been well documented by now. He lost both parents to AID's related deaths. He was suspended twice for alleged marijuana use. He even has a medical condition called ulcerative colitus, which may or may not be a concern. Apparently it wasn't at BC. Why should it by now?
In my humble opinion drafting William Green alone in this draft makes the Browns a much better football team. As excited as I am about Green I think the other picks were more hit than miss too.
Offensive weapons. That is what you get by drafting a wide receiver in the second round three years in a row. Too many perhaps. WR Andre Davis of Virginia Tech however is not another Dennis Northcutt clone. He's bigger at 6-1, 194. He's a burner. A speedy 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash proves it and he might just be the deep threat the Browns have been missing since their return to the league. What intrigues me the most about
When the Browns traded LB Wali Rainer to the Jacksonville Jaguars nobody was surprised, except maybe Wali. What did surprise is they also sent the 79th pick to
FOURTH, FIFTH & SEVENTH ROUNDS:
The Browns had three selections in the fourth round of the draft. Butch
Offensive Coordinator, Bruce Arians has been looking for a play making tight end to make his offense go. He may have found his man in TE Darnell Sanders,
The final selection by the Browns was nothing short of "classic" Butch Davis. He chose OT Joaquin Gonzalez from the
The Cleveland Browns are beginning to take shape under the guidance of Butch Davis. Given that three-year timetable I'd say coach