OBR Daily Blog: 4/07/2010

The clock ticks down towards the NFL draft. We'll use every free minute to yammer about it in a blog.

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RT @RalphCindrich Clausen in 1st round? He had the best college QB coach, best HS with Steve Clarkson. He must get better but can he? RISK.

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He's today's guest OBR Speedblogger. We go thru a lot of them. RT @caplannfl Who is Bolt Vanderhuge? RT OBR Daily Blog: OTA Dates Announced

Posted by: Barry McBride
on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 8:45:00 PM

OTA Dates Announced

Dates for "Organized Team Activities" have been announced for all NFL clubs. These are different than the rookie and tryout mini-camps, which are usually held a week or two after the draft.

From the NFL's press release:

Following is the NFL Organized Team Activity (OTA) schedule for 2010. Teams are permitted to conduct up to 14 OTA sessions as part of their offseason workout programs. In addition, clubs may conduct one mandatory veteran minicamp. Teams that hired a new head coach may hold two additional voluntary minicamps. The schedule of minicamps will be announced later this month.

(Dates are subject to change.)

CLEVELAND
May 17-19, May 24-25, May 27, June 1-3, June 7-8


Posted by: John Taylor
on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 4:31:00 PM

Browns Have Their Eyes on Spikes

On the list of positions that need to be upgraded by the Browns this offseason, linebackers would seem to fall in line behind areas such as the secondary, wide receiver, quarterback and the interior of the offensive line.

That doesn't mean, however, that the club isn't still taking a serious look-see at the LBs available in the April draft.

According to the agent for Brandon Spikes by way of the Gainesville Sun, the Browns are one of several teams who have expressed – and I quote the writer of the piece -- "a great deal of interest" in the former Florida ‘backer.

Along with Cleveland, agent Terry Watson told the Sun that the Eagles, Redskins, Patriots, Steelers, Dolphins, Buccaneers and Bills fall into the "great deal of interest" category.

Spikes' draft stock dipped after a sub-par 40 at UF's first Pro Day last month, but his instincts, toughness and playmaking ability should be enough to keep the LB from a total freefall in a couple of weeks.


Posted by: OBR Newswire
on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 4:00:00 PM

OBR Newswire updates for April 6th through April 7th

These are links from the OBR Newswire for April 6th through April 7th:

  • News-Herald - Browns host Florida's Tebow, Haden in Berea - According to sources quarterback Tim Tebow and cornerback Joe Haden, both from the University of Florida, and cornerback Devin McCourty from Rutgers all visited the complex in Berea at the invitation of the Browns.
  • Official Site - Browns complete trade for Brown, Gocong - The Cleveland Browns today completed a trade in which they acquired defensive back Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong (pronounced: GO-kong) from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for linebacker Alex Hall, a fourth round draft choice (105th overall) and a fifth round draft choice (137th overall) in 2010.
  • Official Site - Mack recalls predraft anticipation - As this year's NFL prospects conclude their visits with teams, the Browns' first round draft choice in 2009, offensive lineman Alex Mack, is back in Berea for the offseason strength and conditioning program after a brief rest following his rookie season.
  • Official Site - Top Browns Draft Classes-No. 16 - But for whatever reason, the name of Ray Renfro doesn't often roll off the tongue, and that's a real shame, for he is clearly one of the best-- the very best-- wideouts ever to don a Browns inform. His statistics prove that overwhelmingly.
  • Plain Dealer - Kiper: Cleveland Browns should take WR Dez Bryant - ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper says the Browns should take Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant with the seventh overall pick in the April 22-24 draft.
  • Chronicle-Telegram - Browns Trade for Gocong, Brown Official - The Browns waited until the physicals were passed Tuesday to announce last week's trade with Philadelphia for cornerback Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong.
  • Yahoo - Mock draft: "Musical Chairs" edition, Pt. 1 - Believe it or not! This is an extreme scenario for McCoy, but every draft has a player who drops down a bit as a result of a run on a certain position.
  • ABJ - Trade with Eagles completed - The Browns announced the completion of Friday's trade with the Philadelphia Eagles after cornerback Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong passed their physicals.
  • Canton Rep - Dilfer rocks the boat; Berry growing on Browns? - TRENT DILFER says he watched every snap Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy took in 2009. He is convinced McCoy ill be the best pro.
  • NFL.com - The skinny on Clausen's pro day workout « - Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen will finally work out for teams this Friday (April 9) at 11:30 a.m. on campus in South Bend, Ind. Clausen has been recovering from toe surgery, and his personal pro day will be the first time talent evaluators will get to see him pass.
  • Fox Sports - NFL Mock Draft: Version 5.0 - Things would certainly get interesting in the Cleveland War Room if both QB Jimmy Clausen and Tennessee safety Eric Berry slipped to No.7. I've wavered on this in recent mocks, but now think Berry's the guy.
  • ABJ - Browns consider using seventh pick in draft on safety Eric Berry - Getting Berry at No. 7 is not a certainty for the Browns. The Redskins are considering him at No. 4 and the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 5. Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel, now the Chiefs' defensive coordinator, ran Berry's pro-day workout, cut short when Berry sprained his left big toe.
  • News-Press - NFL hopeful Allen shows Browns his skills - On Monday morning, Allen worked out with Cleveland Browns defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, himself a former NFL player with the Patriots, Bills, Eagles and Jets, from 1990-1998.


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Posted by: Barry McBride
on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 1:57:00 PM

Jeff M. Makes the Case for Earl Thomas

Before I started up this little blog, the only real avenues I had to impose my nattering on info-seeking victims on this site was via the introductory paragraphs to articles by people who know what they are talking about. That, and the forums. Oh, yes, the forums.

So, finding another way to yammer at people has been a big win. But another thing I love about this lil' blog is the link near the top of the page where people can utilize email to slap me around with their opinions (fun for the whole family!) or help me out with something useful they've found.

One OBR reader, Jeff from Austin, is has used this connection to make his case for Longhorn S Earl Thomas as a guy who is far from just the Eric Berry Consolation Prize. He's almost got me convinced. You?

I live in Austin, Tx which means I get a healthy dose of all things Longhorns. I watch the games and not just the highlight reels.

I haven't watched Berry play much to be honest. I think I caught some Tennessee games late in the season just to catch a glimpse of the guy and otherwise didn't see superman out there with a cape.

After watching Earl Thomas play for an entire season, it's hard for me to imagine picking another safety over the guy.

For one, the guy is a freakin' redshirt sophomore. Compare Berry after his sophomore season to Earl Thomas at the same place in his development. Earl Thomas is a Richard Seymour guy who otherwise came out at age 21.

Secondly, the guy is amazingly fast. No one should have to hold a stopwatch to him to figure that out. There are plays where both he and Aaron Williams (UT's top corner who otherwise shut down receivers and received little nat'l press play just because the nat'l press doesn't always zero in on the guys who deserve it), and the difference in football speed between the two just jumps out at you.

Thirdly, I watched Berry on highlight reels make plays on balls that were thrown right to him and otherwise off target.

I've see Earl Thomas simply go get the ball. His athleticism and ability to make plays on the ball is unsurpassed.

Defense coordinator Wil Muschamp indicated Duane Akina is the best secondary coach in the country. Earl Thomas is the best player I've seen play in UT's secondary since I've been in Austin (and that's a long time).

The guy is intelligent. He knows how to bait on plays, etc. I mean, he is really smart and to do the things I saw him do on the football field as a redshirt sophomore speaks to a development that just burst on the scene.

For a team that was otherwise #1 rushing defense--- Earl Thomas doesn't show up as a weak link. He brings players down. Not with his shoulder but his athleticism--- he dives at players feet and makes sure plays.

He played big in big games.

Overall he was rated the most productive player in 3 of UT's games. I'll say this again. This is the number 1 rushing defense in the country. And Earl Thomas is there to take top honors in three of those game. And did I mention in the last five seconds how he is a redshirt sophomore.

2 of those three games earned him Big 12 defensive player of the week. This is a conference with plenty of defensive players. Guys like Ndamakung Suh. Or some guy named McCoy out of Oklahoma. Or a few other guys on UT's squad--- oh, did I mention that this was the number one rushing defense in the country last year--- and Earl Thomas just made plays. And the big plays in big games.

Oh, and the guy can play nickel back and gives Mangini lots of options to keep an offense guessing on coverage.

Earl Thomas is the cerebral defensive coordinators dream. Both because he is very, very intelligent. And his athletic skills allow you to do so much with the guy. And his ball skills make for him to make the big play.

When he emerged at #18 on Chris Steuber's draft board after he declared for the draft I said immediately he'll rise, there. I've watched this kid play. He's a keeper. And would look very good in Orange and Brown, imho.


Posted by: Barry McBride
on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 11:45:00 AM

Final Results of the IMD Mock Draft

The quite-epic Scout.com Intersite Mock Draft has concluded, and the final results are in.

Like a lot of mock drafts, this one was impacted by current events. Most obvious in this case is the trade of McNabb to the Redskins (in the IMD, the Skins traded with the Browns and took Clausen). Of course, the Browns acquiring CB Sheldon Brown has an impact on their draft strategy as well.

Nonetheless, here's what the Browns wound up with, and I wouldn't be too darn unhappy if this is how it actually turned out. Actually, I'd be veeeery happy.

Mike, Tom, Eric: Take note. This is how it's done.

1: Nadamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska (trade-up with Washington to 4)
2: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
3: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
3: Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
5. Kevin Thomas, CB, USC
5: Kam Chancellor, S, Va Tech
6: Shawn Lauvao, OT/OG, Arizona State
6: Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA
6: Clay Harbor, TE, Missouri St.
7: Vince Oghobaase, DT Duke
7: Levi Brown, QB Troy


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Posted by: Barry McBride
on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 at 8:13:00 PM

Browns Issue Gocong, Brown Press Release

It looks like Chris Gocong and Sheldon Brown both were in Berea and both came through their physicals, because the team issued a press release announcing the trade this evening.

Here we go:

For Immediate Release
April 6, 2010

BROWNS COMPLETE TRADE FOR BROWN AND GOCONG

The Cleveland Browns today completed a trade in which they acquired defensive back Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong (pronounced: GO-kong) from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for linebacker Alex Hall, a fourth round draft choice (105th overall) and a fifth round draft choice (137th overall) in 2010. The Browns currently own 10 selections in the 2010 NFL Draft, including five of the first 92 picks.

"In Sheldon and Chris we were able to acquire two players, not just whom I am very familiar with, but who also will be great additions to our team," said Browns General Manager Tom Heckert. "They both bring a tremendous amount of leadership from a winning organization, and will make us better and deeper on defense."

"Sheldon has been a very good player for a long time and had one of the best seasons of his career last year with five interceptions. He stepped into the starting lineup by his third year and there were times when I felt he should have gone to the Pro Bowl. He is an extremely intelligent and physical player and his addition gives us a lot of flexibility in our secondary.

"Chris is a player who has started a lot of games over the last three years. I really feel as though he fits better into our 3-4 scheme than what he did into a 4-3. I believe that this move will give him a chance to show off a lot of the skills that allowed him to record more than 40 sacks in college. He is smart and fast, and like Sheldon and all of the players we've acquired this offseason, possesses the qualities that the Browns are looking for."

Originally drafted by Philadelphia in the second round (59th overall) of the 2002 draft, Brown has registered 478 tackles, 19 interceptions, seven sacks, 98 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in his eight-year NFL career. In 2009, he started all 16 contests, posting 68 tackles, a career-high five interceptions, 17 passes defensed and one forced fumble.

A three-year starter at the University of South Carolina (1999-2001), Brown recorded 204 tackles and 10 interceptions during his collegiate career. As a senior, he earned All-Southeastern Conference honors and was a semi-finalist for the 2001 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's premier defensive back. Born on March 19, 1979, the 5-10, 200-pound Brown is a native of Fort Lawn, S.C.

The 26-year old Gocong was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the third round (71st overall) of the 2006 draft. He has appeared in 47 games with 35 starts after spending his entire rookie season on injured reserve. He has registered 183 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and recovered one fumble, while adding 39 tackles on special teams during his four-year NFL career.

The 6-2, 263-pound Gocong finished his career at Cal Poly SLO (2003-05) with 42 sacks in 41 games, while adding 206 tackles, one interception, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He led the nation in sacks during both his junior and senior seasons, recording 17.5 in 2004 and 23.5 in 2005. As a senior, he earned the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the top defensive player in Division I-AA. Born on November 16, 1983, Gocong attended Carpinteria High School in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Hall joined the Browns as a seventh round selection (231st overall) in the 2008 draft. He appeared in 30 games with two starts totaling three sacks, while adding 18 special teams tackles.


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