The Real March Madness Comes Closer

The clock ticks down, and the OBR has the answers to the questions you want asked the most. Lane Adkins has been dropping knowledge in the ATI forum, and we summarize some of the recent hits.

NickFantana: Fellas,

With free agency five days away, do you all have any better sense of how active the Browns plan to be in free agency this year?  Should we expect a marquee signing, such as Peppers, Dunta Robinson, Rolle, Thomas Jones etc?

Some of Heckert's comments made it sound like they were taking the longer view, specifically as regards the WRs.  What's the latest?

Lane: The organization is evaluating the potential FA QB's, RB's OL and DB's.

The Browns are being coy on the WR's and we have been told they have discussed WR Terrell Owens.

There has been discussion in recent days regarding contracts for LB D'Qwell Jackson, RB Jerome Harrison and FB Lawrence Vickers.

Couple this interest along with the progress (not as significant as the PD leads you to believe) on Josh Cribbs' contract (spoke with him at length) and there are some potentially positive developments on the horizon.

The team has had a couple discussions regarding restructuring and moving QB Derek Anderson, but talks have stalled.

The team has also discussed a trade, but I have not been able to nail down the specifics (not Anderson).

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milanbo: 1.) considering how Rubin played last year filling in for rodgers, and given rodgers' cap number, age, coming off an injury, and the premium on 3-4 NT as seen by the recent contract extensions given out to NT's what are the chances Rodgers is traded come draft day?  I know he is much more dynamic than Rubin, but given we are rebuilding, just seems to make sense.   Considering a certain jolly D-coordinator in Kansas City has a relationship with big baby, could you see rodgers being dangled to them if there's somebody at 5 they want to trade up for?

2.)  Heckert stated they want to add speed to the WR position and most likely wont address it via free agency, given Jacoby Ford's blistering 40 and his good workout, you think he's an option top of round 2?

Lane: Rogers is quietly available, but the Browns are not putting it out there.

I can tell you due to discussions with a true scouting and evaluating professional which recently departed an NFL team front office -- the Browns had their eye on WR's Ford and Benn at the combine.

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RDosu80: Insiders, do you think Rolle could be an option for the Browns with the news that he will test the free agent market?

Lane: Unlikely, Rolle cannot play corner effectively and his play at safety does not equate to the salary he is going to demand.

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fletch416: It seems as if the NFL draft is becoming eerily similar to the NBA draft.

There is a ton of good and raw talent on the board.  Problem is that so many of them need a couple of years to develop. 

I don't know if it is the underclassmen, the spread offense, today's entitled ahltete, or the fact that with the scholarship changes college football is watered down.  Something seems to have changed. 

It seems like more guys can play at the next level.  But, more guys need more time to find their stride. 

Or has it always been that way and the Browns have been so poor for so long, we expect all of the draft  picks to bear fruit in year one?

SOBO: To me, it all goes back to one thing...fans' expectations are generally out of whack and not on the same wavelength as the teams they so lovingly support.

- This year, yes, there is a heavy influx of underclassmen.   That plays a part.
- The NFL's star treatment of these prospects before ever playing a down doesn't help.
- The draft itself has become it's own spectacle pushing these guys every further.
- Large amounts of money are being thrown around haphazardly.
- Other teams' rookies burst on the scene quickly, while hundreds do not.

All these things contribute.

That does not mean polished players do not come out.  Actually that's far from the truth in regards to how well trained some of these top stars are over the years.   Names like Chris Long, Aaron Curry, and even Ndamukong Suh immediately pop to mind.

There are so many different factors that play into a prospect becoming successful at the next level, it's ridiculous.  And rarely has anything to do with pure talent.

That's why I always say there is two ways to cover the draft:

1) Project what will happen on that weekend.
2) Project who will be the best players in the NFL.

It's hard to do both simultaneously, and most who do cover the draft thoroughly usually concentrate on the first choice.   So theoretically, two people who are arguing completely different viewpoints, can both be right on each pick each year.

What fans have to realize is that these are still 21,22,23 year old kids.   They still have a lot of work to do in numerous different areas.   To continually expect every pick to pan out, or a magical 4th rounder to come out of nowhere and contribute immediately every single year, is simply too much.

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DawgEDue: Tony Pike apparently looked really bad at the combine. Weak arm and bad accuracy, and he came in still pretty scrawny. How much did this hurt him if at all? Did this impact any potential Browns' interest in him?

SOBO: Pike is someone who I had solidly slammed in there as the no.3 QB.

He had some positives from his performance and some disappointments.  

- The QB actually came in much heavier than at the Senior Bowl, which was a concern previously.
- He was the only top name that stepped up and competed during drills in Indy.

But some parts of his game are still worrisome

- He doesn't rotate the ball particularly well and had trouble driving the deep ball as a result.
- His release is still a little slower than optimal.

Just didn't have a great day, so teams will take different things from it.  

What all of this does show is that this QB class is even weaker than initially anticipated.  If Tony Pike is not your no.3 guy, then someone like Jarrett Brown probably is.  And while he looked extremely good, he still has a LOT of work to do as a one year starter.    Colt McCoy came in even smaller than expected.   And don't get me started on Tebow.   Not to mention the top two aren't necessarily seen as "franchise" guys.

There were some mid to late tier guys who did impress and could present values in the latter rounds like a Mike Kafka of Northwestern, Zach Robinson of Oklahoma St. (much better than at the Senior Bowl),  and some scouts loved the blank slate to work with in a very physically talented John Skelton of Fordham.


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