Fan View: Time to Build in the Trenches

Jeff Biletnikoff thinks it's time for the Browns to focus on the foundation...

I can't argue with the Browns selecting JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn or Adrian Peterson with pick #3.

I would scratch my head but see the logic of grabbing Calvin Johnson with that selection.  I wouldn't agree with it, but I know he is perceived as a rare talent.

I don't, however, believe that those four members of Phil Savage's "Fab Five" should be the Browns top priority in 2007

If the Browns were a construction company in a major metro area, you would see beautiful structures built all over town to many "oohs" and "ahhs" only to see them blow down in the most mild of summer rainstorms.

They keep attempting to construct a team without paying attention to the men up front on both sides of the line.  There's no foundation.

Sure, Cleveland has had some bad luck.  Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, Jeff Faine....all first round OL or DL that didn't work out.

But, those type of picks have been few and far between.  What do the Browns keep trying to build with on the first day of the draft? 

Glamour positions such as WR, QB, RB and CB.

If you look back to 1999 an OL or DL has been taken in the first three rounds, 4 times. 

4 times!

And since Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel took over?


That's right, heading into the 2007 draft, the 3rd one for our latest front office "saviors," you have no OL or DL selected with a Cleveland draft pick on Day One.

You may argue that Kevin Shaffer, LeCharles Bentley, Eric Steinbach, Robaire Smith, Ted Washington and all the other free agent moves are adequate attempts to fix this inequity.

It's not enough. 

While I applaud Phil Savage's efforts in at least paying attention to the lines, logic suggests that the Browns are either getting players on the downside of their careers or overpaying for decent players that would be cheaper if they were homegrown.

Football is won and lost in the trenches.  Despite the innovations and flash of 2007's NFL, it still remains the same basic game that we've always known.  Beat the man in front of you consistently and you have a chance to win.

This year I would like to see OT Joe Thomas as the first pick of the Browns, followed by more DL and OL help in rounds 2 and 3.  Identify the best of the G's, DT's and DE's in both those rounds and get the best guy you can. 

I would love to see the Browns go OT, OG and DT on the first day (or some combination thereof).

Do the Browns have other needs?


They badly need QB, RB and CB help.  They probably can't address those needs on day 1 if they follow my lead.  Those will be glaring holes heading into next year.

I'm willing to make those sacrifices for the long term future of the organization.

By committing to winning up front on both lines, the Browns make it easier for the skill players on both sides of the ball to do their jobs.

We all agree that the Browns are in rebuilding mode so I hope they stop constructing structures that have no foundation.

It's about time to build the trenches so the franchise has a legitimate chance to join the elite teams of the NFL.

The OBR Top Stories