Now that the 2008 National Football League college draft is history, it's time to dust off the crystal ball and peer into the Browns' future.
Be honest. This year was tough on the draftniks. No first-round pick. No second-round pick. Cripes, no third-round pick.
Sure, Phil Savage helped strengthen the team, but at the same time, he took a lot of the fun out of draft weekend. This is one of the great weekends of the season and all Browns fans did was stare blankly at their television screens the first day while everyone else had fun guessing who their favorite team was going to tab. Getting back into the first round can't come soon enough.
With apologies to Dionne Warwick's Psychic Friends Network, we now take a look at what Savage and his buddies will look at when draft time rolls around again next April.
In a most unscientific manner, we will soothsay our way into 2009 and try to sort out just who will be available for the Browns and attempt to determine the areas of need.
Using tea leaves, darts, tarot cards, Ouija boards and just about everything short of palm reading and witchcraft, here is what the field from which the Browns can conceivably choose will look like when they return to the first day of the lottery. No divine intervention. Just good old fashioned myopic guessing.
So where do we begin? Hard to tell considering the 2008 season hasn't been played out. Strengths and weaknesses haven't been determined. This is where the guessing part comes in. From here on out, everything will be determined by what is seen on paper, starting with the offense.
Moving the ball does not figure to be a problem. But a significant part of the offense will become problematic if developments unfold as they are rumored. One way or the other, the Browns' quarterback controversy will disappear. Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn will have a new address in 2009.
That leaves the cupboard semi-bare with only Ken Dorsey backing up the winner of the Anderson-Quinn duel. The guess here is Savage will go the free-agent route and bring in a veteran since the Anderson-Quinn winner will still be young enough to negate the drafting and development of a rookie.
Running the ball will be an entirely different matter. Jamal Lewis' career nears its conclusion and drafting running back moves into the major-need category. There will be some interesting names on the board, especially if certain underclassmen declare.
Names such as
Draft King has the Browns selecting Hill in its first 2009 mock draft. He's a 5-11, 230-pounder who was the workhorse in the Badgers' backfield last season. He ran for 1,212 yards in 11 games, breaking the 100-yard barrier on six occasions while scoring 14 touchdowns.
The need isn't as great along the offensive line since Savage has assembled a
terrific group. But if he's looking for depth, a second-round choice like
Rivals.com picked Johnson, a 6-7, 350-pound behemoth from LSU, for the Browns in the first round of its initial mock draft. But offensive linemen sometimes have a tendency to fall and Johnson could be there in round two. Boone would make a nice story since he's a Lakewood St. Edward product.
Another second-round possibility for the Browns at a position of need, if he
On defense, Savage will have a rich field to ponder as he seeks to improve a unit that ostensibly will be better this season.
If he's looking for an outside linebacker who specializes in edge rushing,
George Selvie of
If he wants production from an outside backer, Savage could tap someone like
If Savage is looking inside, Rey Maualaga of USC and
And since he didn't address the secondary via the recent draft, and assuming the problem won't be totally solved in the coming season, Savage very well could target that area with his first pick or two next April.
Top cornerback candidates include
Should either Sean Jones or Brodney Pool stumble at safety, possible
candidates are Nic Harris of
Somewhere among these names will be the Browns' top two draft picks in a year, proving the notion that if you throw enough [stuff] against a wall, some of it will adhere.