OBR Daily Blog: 4/08/2010

The skies are dark here in Cleveland with a sense of foreboding in the air. I sense evil. Wait, no, it's just veteran offensive lineman Eric Ghiacuic. Nevermind.

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Posted by: OBR Newswire
on Friday, April 09, 2010 at 4:22:00 AM

OBR Newswire updates for April 8th through April 9th

These are links from the OBR Newswire for April 8th through April 9th:

Posted on Twitter at: 7:58:00 PM
All Crystal Baller Offensive Team: At this point, we all know who the top prospects are in the 2010 NFL Draft. But... http://bit.ly/b952Bi

Posted on Twitter at: 7:44:00 PM
(Subscriber) Reality Bytes: The RFAs: Are things quiet regarding the Browns restricted free agents? A little too q... http://bit.ly/as4XUP

Posted by: Barry McBride
on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 6:28:00 PM

Brandt Seems Skeptical about Dez Bryant

One-time Cowboys architect and current NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt seems to throw some cold water on speculation by Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock that the Browns might go with Dez Bryant with the seventh pick.

In my opinion, that speculation got a lot more attention than it should have, serving as the basis for a number of stories in the local media. Even though Kiper and Mayock are big names, they are still just speculating. There's no hint that they have any inside knowledge that the Browns are actually targeting Bryant. They're just drawing lines between players and positions of need.

That being said, Gil Brandt doesn't appear to be in their corner. Here's what he had to say about the speculation during a conference call today:

Q. I was wondering your opinion on Dez Bryant, if you think -- there's been some talk about him to the Browns in seven, if you have any worries about him off the field and if you think seven is too high to take a receiver.

GIL BRANDT: Well, let me say about this Dez Bryant, and I think tomorrow we'll have my top 100 players up on NFL.com, and I do it a little bit different; I try to put them in plateaus, 1 to 10, 11 to 20. I have him in my 21 to 30 plateau. But I'll say this about him: He has top-ten talent. I think you throw out the workout that he had the other day. He hasn't worked out or played football since about the third week of the year, which is somewhere around the 1st of October. And I think that Dez didn't realize how hard it was to make your mark in the National Football League, and so I don't think he played as well or worked out as well at his hometown there last week as he will play.

I do think that he's a huge target. He can also be a really good punt returner. And when you talk about somebody that caught 87 passes as he did for 19 touchdowns in 2008, we're seeing something that had some speed and quickness about him that made him good is what it is.

Now, you know, you don't do this in the Big 12 Conference because there's some pretty good defensive teams. I know we don't realize it by scoring, but there are some teams that have pretty good defense, and there's some pretty good corners in this league.

Q. Do you have a feeling who the Browns might take at seven?

GIL BRANDT: No, I really don't. I know this, that whoever they take at seven is a guy that is going to be well scouted because they're everywhere, between Gil Haskell and the head coach and the general manager and whatever Mike's title is, they've got five and six people at every one of these workouts. So they're going to be well scouted, I know that.

So, here's an NFL writer writing about what other NFL writers are saying, as I tweeted the other day. But they started it.

Posted by: John Taylor
on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 3:28:00 PM

McCoy ‘Extremely Impressive' in Workout

Just updating something we noted earlier, Colt McCoy has completed his private workout for St. Louis Rams officials.  And the reviews, as expected, were quite favorable.

Rams general manager Billy Devaney told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the former Texas signal caller showed "all the stuff that you look for in a great quarterback."

That wasn't the end of the plaudits from the GM, though.

"He was extremely impressive," Devaney said. "He made all the throws and his arm strength was good enough."

In addition to Devaney, head coach Steve Spagnulo and quarterbacks coach Dick Curl*, among others, were also in attendance.

(*: to answer your question, yes, I included the QB coach attending simply so I could type the name "Dick Curl".  To answer your next question, no, I still have not stopped giggling like a ten-year-old since typing the name "Dick Curl".)

Posted on Twitter at: 3:17:00 PM
CLE: Center Officially Signs: Hot News for C Eric Ghiaciuc http://bit.ly/9l6Tqy

Posted by: Barry McBride
on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 1:54:00 PM

Browns Confirm Ghiaciuc Signing

Here's the press release:

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2010


The Cleveland Browns today signed free agent offensive lineman Eric Ghiaciuc (pronounced: GUY-check), the team announced.

Originally drafted by Cincinnati in the fourth round (119th overall) of the 2005 draft, Ghiaciuc has appeared in 48 games with 42 starts at center. He spent the first four years (2005-08) of his career with the Bengals and started at least 12 games in each of his final three seasons with Cincinnati, including all 16 in 2008. After going to training camp with Kansas City last year, Ghiaciuc had a brief stint on San Diego's 53-man roster later in the year.

A four-year letterman at Central Michigan (2001-04), Ghiaciuc started the final 35 games of his collegiate career. He blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his last three seasons. Born on May 28, 1981, the 6-4, 303-pound Ghiacius is a native of Oxford, Mich. and attended Oxford High School.

Posted by: OBR Newswire
on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 1:00:00 PM

OBR Newswire updates for April 7th through April 8th

These are links from the OBR Newswire for April 7th through April 8th:

Posted on Twitter at: 12:39:00 PM
RT @OHnewsroom "Like I was telling the bishop: We don't take a vow of poverty or chastity in journalism, it just works out that way."

Posted by: John Taylor
on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 12:35:00 PM

Rams Sniffing Around Colt McCoy

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the current QB apple of Mike Holmgren's eye – Colt McCoy – is holding a private workout in front of officials from the St. Louis Rams in Austin Thursday.

This obviously could have ramifications for the Browns, if, of course, this is something more than the Rams doing their due diligence.

Could the Rams be looking to bypass Oklahoma's Sam Bradford in favor of one of the big defensive tackles, then go after McCoy at the top of the second round?  If the Rams do eschew a QB at the top of the first round, Bradford would certainly drop past Detroit at No. 2 and Tampa Bay at No. 3 as both clubs currently possess young "franchise" quarterbacks.

That would then lead to Bradford slipping to Washington at No. 4, provided a team doesn't trade up to grab the Lions/Bucs pick.  Now, if Bradford gets to the Redskins at four, things could get very interesting as it pertains to the Browns.  Obviously, moving up three spots to No. 4 is a helluva lot less costly than trying to wrangle the overall number one.

We do know for a fact that Holmgren & Company really like Bradford, just not enough to move up six spots given the cost in both money and trade compensation.  At No. 4 though, if Bradford inexplicably fell?  Again, things will get very interesting in the Browns' war room if that scenario plays itself out in such a way.

Needless to say, this is all conjecture based on one simple workout by the Rams, but it does show that, as much as we'd all like to think there's a degree of certainty to the top of the 2010 draft, that couldn't be further from the truth two weeks ahead of the event.

Posted by: Barry McBride
on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 12:31:00 PM

How to Botch Up a Perfectly Good Info-Theft

Adam Caplan, who works for Scout.com and sites like the OBR, broke the news this morning that OL Eric Ghiaciuc has signed on with the Cleveland Browns to try to help provide some depth behind starting C Alex Mack. Keeping in mind that Ghiaciuc didn't make a bad Chiefs team out of training camp last year, he still has something to prove.

Nonetheless, the news is starting to get out there now. Our buddy Jeff Schudel has his take on it in the Morning-Journal, properly crediting Adam, and it has appeared on some NFL news portals as well, generally linked and credited to the guy who did the work.

Now, I'm constantly suggesting to fans that they be careful relying on fantasy or RotoWhatever.com sites for anything beyond fantasy football advice. The reason for this is that the people who grab the info out other places generally lack context, spin the information through whatever filter they have, or sometimes just get the facts dead wrong.

I know from watching click-throughs on links that very few fans actually click through to get the information directly once it's swiped and re-phrased - maybe 20% or 25% at most. Some sites don't even give visitors the option.

Anyhow, enough of my tiresome blather on that subject. As I watched the news spread this morning, I caught this on a supposed "Browns" site as they recapped our info, sans link. Here's the write-up:

The Browns announced that they have signed journeyman C Eric Ghiaciuc. The 28 year old Central Michigan product has played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals during his career. While he is not expected to unseat starter Alex Brown at the center position, he does have NFL starting experience and will provide the Browns depth at the position.

The word "NFL" was connected to one of those hover ads, so they could make a nickel from anyone unfortunate enough to let their mouse cross over the word. Whatever. Let's count the inaccuracies, shall we?

  • The Browns starting center is Alex Mack, not Alex Brown. Brown is the veteran DE from the Bears who recently signed with the Saints.
  • The Browns have not "announced" the transaction. There has been no press release. It was uncovered by Adam through his sources and published here. These folks just swiped the info from us or something who got it from us and then said the Browns had "announced" it. Who knows? Maybe they haven't announced it since he needs to pass a physical. That's an important distinction.
  • Ghiaciuc didn't actually play for the Chiefs, since he didn't appear in any games for them. He did, however, play for the Chargers. I know, being picky on that one.

Three sentences, three screw-ups, one perfect example of why fans owe it to themselves to click through to the original source, and avoid services that do not properly link their sources of news. Look, we're not perfect, either, and make mistakes, but at least we try to be ethical. At the very least, though, if you're going to swipe information, try to get it right. Sheesh.

Good night, and good luck.

Posted on Twitter at: 11:08:00 AM
RT @taxdebtguru @TheOBR who is @JoeFortenbaugh --> Writes for National Football Post.

Posted on Twitter at: 11:05:00 AM
RT @JoeFortenbaugh The Browns told Berry they don't think he'll fall to them at No. 7.

Posted on Twitter at: 11:03:00 AM
RT @Doug_Farrar Short of Suh, there isn't a better player in this draft . RT @TheOBR Equal Time: Eric Berry Highlights http://bit.ly/cb1i84

Posted by: Barry McBride
on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 10:31:00 AM

Equal Time: Eric Berry Highlights

Yesterday, I gave the floor over to Jeff from Austin to make his case for Earl Thomas as the next-big-thing at the safety position. Today, here's a video (swiped from Number1BrownFan's signature on the forums) of Eric Berry causing commotion and changing games.

I guess that's why I'm an Eric Berry pimp this year. After years of watching Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu plant daggers in the heart of the Browns with big interceptions, big touchdown returns, and big hits, I've decided that I would really, really like a safety who could create chaos in the Browns defensive backfield. For a while, I had hoped that Sean Jones could be that guy, but injuries stopped it from happening. I'm not sure if anything could stop a force of nature like Eric Berry.

Yes, yes, I've read all the analyses from people who say that safeties are never drafted high, and give examples of the spotty record of safeties picked in the top ten. I don't claim to be a draft expert. But I also watched what happened last season when the Steelers lost Polamalu, and the devastating impact that had on their defense. Quote all the stats you want - after watching the videos and remembering how many times Ed Reed managed to make a huge play at the right time to kill a comeback, I would be absolutely freakin' thrilled if the Browns were able to draft Eric Berry.

Posted on Twitter at: 10:27:00 AM
(Subscriber) Scouting Report: What Does Ghiaciuc Bring?: He was a mid-round pick who started for four years. So, w... http://bit.ly/dwFhpW

Posted on Twitter at: 9:43:00 AM
Pre-Draft Team Needs: Philadelphia Eagles: Philadelphia's depth is questionable on both sides of the ball at certa... http://bit.ly/co2A6H

Posted on Twitter at: 9:40:00 AM
New poll on the front page of Scout NFL: Which oft-criticized draftee will be an NFL standout? http://bit.ly/93Hula

Posted on Twitter at: 9:13:00 AM
Browns Sign Veteran Center: Hot News for C Eric Ghiaciuc http://bit.ly/bpRXzQ

Posted on Twitter at: 8:34:00 AM
Syracuse WR Mike Williams will be visiting the Browns, per Aaron Wilson.

Posted on Twitter at: 9:04:00 PM
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.

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.)

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.

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