Category Archives: Draft 2012

McFadden’s OTA absence shouldn’t last

BEREA, Ohio – Rookie cornerback Leon McFadden is absent from the Browns first week of organized team activity (OTA) practices this week due to an antiquated NFL rule, but his absence isn’t expected to be a long one.

Browns Head Coach Rob Chudinski said McFadden will be back next week, and that’s good news for both the team and for McFadden.

NFL rules prohibit rookies whose schools are still in regular academic session from attending OTAs. In some past cases, players have had to miss the entire OTA period. The rule does not apply to full-squad minicamp, which most teams hold in June to conclude this portion of their offseason.

Under the new CBA, teams get 10 OTA days that most use over three weeks, then wrap up with a three-day, full-squad minicamp in either the first or second week of June. The rule used to keep Ohio State players out of OTAs, but Ohio State switched from quarters to semesters for the 2012-13 academic year.

McFadden’s absence is glaring because the secondary is arguably the Browns’ weakest area at this point; it certainly seems to be the thinnest. A third-round pick last month, McFadden should get snaps immediately and compete for a starting job. Buster Skrine worked opposite Joe Haden Thursday in the first practice open to the media.

Undrafted rookie running back Robbie Rouse (Fresno State) is also absent from OTAs due to the academic calendar issue.

Kirkpatrick’s injury a big blow to Bengals

We don’t know the extent of the injury suffered by Bengals first-round cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, how it happened or how it will affect his readiness for his first NFL season.

We just know it’s the kind of bad news the Bengals wanted to avoid on the eve of a good vibes camp.

Kirkpatrick was the Bengals’ choice at No. 17 because he’s the kind of big, athletic defensive back the Bengals love — and because he was supposed to fill a need. The defense was never the same after top corner Leon Hall tore his Achilles last season. Johnathan Joseph bailed via free agency last summer. Via free agency and some stockpiling, the Bengals have six former first-round corners on their camp roster.

Of that group, only Kirkpatrick — at least until Hall gets healthy — is on top of his game.

With Hall not yet cleared for camp and common sense saying both the Bengals and Hall will take it slow even when he’s fully cleared, and with Nate Clements being 32 and having taken it easy himself through the spring, camp and preseason seemed a great trial-by-fire period for Kirkpatrick to work with his coaches and teammates, work out some kinks and work on his technique.

Neither Kirkpatrick nor the Bengals plan to discuss the injury before camp begins. Kirkpatrick tweeted on Tuesday night that he was sorry and would be back as soon as possible.

The Bengals go to camp with Reggie Nelson and a big question mark at safety, and now they have a bunch of players with a bunch to prove at corner. Maybe Terrence Newman has something left. Maybe Adam Jones, who just went through a full offseason for the first time in five years, can still be a top corner. Maybe Hall will get back.

The chances of fifth-rounder Shaun Prater making the team and making an immediate impact seem higher than ever. The opportunity is there, Kid.

In trying to put some sort of positive spin on this Kirkpatrick situation and the possibility he’ll miss much of camp and the preseasn, it’s better that it happened on July 20 than, say, September or October 20. And it will give even more reps to the rest of the group, in turn giving the Bengals the best evaluation possible. If the Bengals feel they need to look outside for what may be available for more help, they can try to be first to chase anyone available.

Hint: There probably aren’t many even semi-competent corners available.

The bottom line is the Bengals enter camp with glaring issues at cornerback and safety and now — for a while, anyway — have one less talented player on hand to help them feel better about such issues.

The first bump — and bump in the road — has come before camp even starts. We’ll see how the Bengals can get through it.

Rice gets big money deal in Baltimore

The Baltimore Ravens and Ray Rice beat the NFL’s deadline for franchise players to sign long-term deals on Monday.

Rice’s new five-year, $40 million contract includes a $15 million signing bonus and a total of $25 million in the first two years. Rice has been one of the top runners in football the last two seasons, and now he’ll be paid accordingly.

ProFootballTalk.com reports that the new deal will save the Ravens $2.7 million on their 2012 salary cap, important for an aging team that keeps reloading for a Super Bowl run. Ed Reed is threatening a training camp holdout if he doesn’t get a new deal, and Joe Flacco will play this season on the final year of his rookie contract.

The franchise-player deadline came and went, as expected, without kickers Phil Dawson and Mike Nugent signing long-term deals with the Browns and Bengals, respectively.

Of the 21 players leaguewide who received franchise tags, 12 signed long-term contracts with their teams.

The Browns signed second-round supplemental pick Josh Gordon Monday, leaving first-rounders Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden unsigned. That’s no cause for alarm, though, as they’re still a week out from missing any training camp time and Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick, is probably simply waiting for the top two picks to sign.

Those deals will get done and business will proceed as usual. Richardson, Weeden and the Browns as a whole have too much at stake to risk the players missing any training camp time.

RG3 talks Browns, Weeden and expectations

BEREA, Ohio – Robert Griffin III tossed the football around the Cleveland Browns practice fields Tuesday morning.

Some Browns fans would regard that as another false alarm.

Griffin had little time to spend on what might have been. He was there with the NFC’s other drafted rookies for a youth football clinic in conjunction with the NFL Rookie Symposium, which is being held this week in Northeast Ohio.

The Washington Redskins gave up a boatload — three first-round picks and a second-round pick — to move up to No. 2 in last spring’s NFL Draft and get the former Baylor star and 2011 Heisman Trophy winner. The St. Louis Rams held what amounted to a silent auction for the pick in March, and the Redskins outbid the Browns.

Griffin said he was “not aware” that the Browns tried to get him, but he said last winter he originally thought Cleveland is where he would end up.

“Once I declared for the draft, Cleveland was the place I thought I would be because (the Browns) had the most firepower when it came to draft picks and tradeability,” he said. “It didn’t turn out that way and I have no idea why it didn’t.”

Griffin said he thought briefly about the possibility of how different things might be as he walked into the Browns’ complex Tuesday morning, but then quickly moved on to the business at hand.

“It turned out a different way,” he said. “There’s no looking back from here.”

His arrival in Washington has Redskins fans buzzing, and Griffin seems very much at peace with the expectations that have been placed on his shoulders.

“There’s a difference between hype and excitement,” Griffin said, “and I think in Washington it’s genuine excitement, not just for me but for the team.

“You can’t feed into it but you can feed off of it.”

The Browns eventually put together a package of mid-round picks to move from No. 4 to No. 3 and select Alabama running back Trent Richardson. With their second first-round pick — part of that draft “firepower” Griffin mentioned — the Browns selected Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden at No. 22.

Griffin and Weeden played against each other last fall, and Griffin said they trained together for a time in Arizona last winter in the pre-draft process.

“Brandon’s play speaks for itself,” Griffin said. “He has a great arm, seems like a great leader. Everybody wants to question his age (28) but as long as you’re playing well right now it ‘matter what your age is.”

The Browns have not officially named Weeden their starter, but Griffin immediately got the keys in Washington. He knows NFL fans everywhere — not just in Cleveland — are anxious to see if he eventually lives up to the expectations.

“I think that (starting immediately) was the expectation once I was drafted,” Griffin said. “It’s big of Coach (Mike) Shanahan to do that right away with a rookie. That’s what I expect to do.

“No one should have higher expectations for you than yourself. I expect greatness out of myself. I’m not where I want to be today.”

A gem of a recruiting story

Cincinnati Bengals rookie tight end Orson Charles comes from the University of Georgia and becomes the sixth former Bulldog currently on the Bengals’ roster.

Charles knows at least two other people currently residing in the state of Ohio, too, though he knows them for very different reasons.

One is Cleveland Browns tight end Ben Watson, also a former Georgia standout, who’s been both a friend and mentor to Charles over the last two years.

The other is Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who recruited Charles to the University of Florida.

That’s just the start of the story.

Charles was a prized recruit, and though Meyer had never seen him play before Charles came to a Florida football camp in 2008, he had begun recruiting him on the recommendation of a high school coach Meyer trusted. During a break in the camp, Charles and some other potential recruits were given a quick tour of Florida’s football offices.

Prominently displayed were Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy and Florida’s national championship trophy from the 2006 season.

“That was my first time seeing (the trophies),” Charles said last weekend. “I was just taking pictures and there was a gap in between the trophies. My butt bumped into the national championship trophy and it hit the floor and shattered.”

Really.

“Ever seen that Southwest commercial, ‘Want to get away?’” Charles asked. “I definitely felt like that. It was definitely an accident.”

Multiple accounts place the value of the crystal trophy at around $35,000. Florida had it insured, and it was replaced. Charles said Meyer’s initially told him, “Welcome to being a Gator.”

The story spread via the Internet quickly, and Charles — a native of the Tampa area — said people in Florida still talk about it.

“Everywhere I go, I hear about it,” Charles said.

Charles returned to Florida’s campus for an official visit later that fall. He was half-jokingly kept away from the trophies, and the Gators remained one of his final choices. In the end, though, Charles picked Georgia, which meant he had just one more conversation with Meyer.

Said Charles: “He definitely told me, ‘I wish you the best but you are going to get beat by us every time we play y’all.’”

Florida went 2-0 vs. Georgia in the two years Meyer was on one sideline and Charles was on the other.

Richardson and Kirkpatrick: Friends and foes

Trent Richardson and Dre Kirkpatrick have each gone through five NFL practices — and zero involving veterans who will soon be their regular teammates.

It’s certainly not too soon for each to think about what it’s going to be like in mid-September when the close friends, first-round picks and former Alabama teammates play on opposite sides for the first time when the Browns visit Cincinnati.

“It’s going to be a war,” Kirkpatrick said at Bengals minicamp this weekend. “It’s like I told him, ‘We ain’t teammates no more.’ He knows that, and I know that. We’re still best of friends, but I play for the Bengals and he plays for the Browns.”

As long as both players are healthy, they probably won’t have to wait long for that first NFL collision. Richardson should be the Browns’ primary ball-carrier, and Kirkpatrick has a good chance to win a starting cornerback job with the Bengals.

“It’s going to be a big challenge,” Richardson said of going against his friend. “Dre is a hard hitter and he’s a real hard worker. He’s going to be turned up all the time. When the time comes it’ll be a pretty big collision, and it’ll be a good game because I know he’s going to respect my game, I respect his game, so we’ll have to go all out.

“Dre, he earned everything he’s got in front of him and I know what type of worker he is. We came in together. We also are like best friends. We went to the same college because of each other. No matter where we went, we were going to the same college. We knew that hard work would be it for us, and we knew we were going to be great.”

Kirkpatrick said he hit Richardson during a full-speed practice at Alabama one time, and he feels the pain — literally and figuratively — of the would-be tacklers who have ended up on Richardson’s highlight reel over the last three years.

“You can’t be scared,” Kirkpatrick said. “If you tense up, it’s going to hurt you more than it’s going to hurt him. You just have to give it all you’ve got.

“When I hit him, he went down. He didn’t run me over. It was a good, clean tackle. I wasn’t trying to hurt him or nothing. It was a good, clean tackle. It’s going to be pretty different when we play them two games this year. The collision might be a little bit stronger.”

It’s still four months away, but both are looking forward to it.

A few random NFL thoughts

A few random NFL thoughts on the eve of rookie minicamps for Ohio’s teams…

*Not sure what to think about Mike Holmgren’s radio tour and the thought that the Browns would have any sort of quarterback competition this spring and summer. Wasn’t Brandon Weeden drafted because he’s going to be the guy to upgrade — and, hopefully, be the answer at — the position?

*Part of the Browns’ defense of Pat Shurmur’s rough year last year was that he was a rookie coach who had no offseason minicamps or work to get to install his system and get to know his players. Isn’t every first-team snap that doesn’t involve Weeden this spring a bit (or more than a bit) counterproductive?

*You drafted him in the first round. Give The Kid — er, the New Middle-Aged Guy — the ball and let him go.

*That’s (a bad attempt at) a joke. If Weeden can play — I think he can; the Browns obviously think he can — then his age matters little. Lots of quarterbacks play well into their 30s. It’s on the Browns to keep him as healthy as he is now.

*If the NFL’s labor issues last summer brought one good thing, it was the elimination of crazy signing bonuses for guys who have never played an NFL game — and crazy holdouts from which nobody benefited. The new rookie pool and rookie contract structure means draft picks are already being signed. That’s good for all involved parties.

*Remember when the Browns used a second-round pick on a linebacker from West Texas A&M and he held out for almost a week of training camp because of Butch Davis’ demands that his rookies sign five-year deals? Remember when Davis’ best draft pick was a long snapper?

*If the Browns still had to pay $40 million or so up front to the third overall pick in the draft months before he got a significant carry, I still think Trent Richardson would be worth every penny.

*The Bengals’ top priority over the next 5-6 weeks has to be getting Dre Kirkpatrick ready to play right away and finding answers in the cornerback group. They’ve signed a bunch of veterans to hold down the fort while Leon Hall rehabs. By August, we’ll know if Brandon Ghee can make something of his career after two years mostly watching. We might know a lot about rookie Shaun Prater, too.

*The thought of the Bengals getting a full offseason for Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and Company to work with Jay Gruden has to be an exciting one for Bengals fans. Maybe there are a few 35-33 games in the Bengals’ not-so-distant future?

*Here’s the link to a FOXSports.com story on the NFL and the possibility of replacement officials for the 2012 season.

*I bet Ed Hochuli won’t go on strike from lifting weights. I know he won’t go on strike from talking. And talking. And talking…

*My quick Hochuli impersonation: “After further review, the last six minutes or so, we have determined that the receiver left his feet and came down near the sideline, 22 rows from his mother, Bernice, who is a very nice lady, but the receiver’s second foot did not conclusively land inside the white line on that sideline, therefore we huddled again and determined that it is not a catch, which led to another huddle to determine the original line of scrimmage and exact time to place on the scoreboard 15 rows above Bernice for the next play, which will come after a TV timeout.”

*I miss TV timeouts. I even miss the multiple hours the networks spend isolated on Ray Lewis, even when he’s not making plays. I miss football.

*Soon enough. I’m off to Cincinnati later today for Bengals minicamp. Updates throughout the weekend.

Pondering one element of this Browns draft …

There are plenty of good reasons for optimism about the Browns draft, especially with the choice of Trent Richardson with the third overall pick. Brandon Weeden provides excitement, but it’s tempered a bit because there is a bit of a show-me element to his taking over at quarterback.

GM Tom Heckert makes a lot of smart picks, and generally he deserves a lot of credit for taking guys like Jabaal Sheard, Phil Taylor and Richardson.

But one thought that came to mind: Heckert and President Mike Holmgren were part of the effort to take quarterback Colt McCoy in the third round, and to take running back Montario Hardesty in the second round a year later.

Those picks now don’t look so good.

A few years back, some folks got on Butch Davis for taking William Green at running back a year after he took James Jackson, and for taking Jeff Faine at center after he had taken Melvin Fowler.

Which is pretty much what happened with this draft.  A back and a quarterback were taken to cover up previous mistakes.

Now … this does not meean Heckert cannot pick players. He can. He’s very good at it, in fact. And he’s building a team methodically and, if Weeden works out, wisely. Heckert remains the Browns best hope.

But it does show how perception colors the draft. The Browns were a bad team without a back and they took one high. Time to celebrate. The Browns had a quarterback issue and took one. Time to celebrate the potential. They got a right tackle who (presumably) will start.

But two of those picks were needed because previous second- and third-round picks did not work out.

It’s all, as they say, part of the record.

 

First and 10: Looking back at the draft

The hoopla got so much about the NFL Draft this year that it was necessary to get away from it for a day or two. The yard needed cutting, the gardens had to be raked and the dadgum dog ate an old hard-bound copy of Gone With the Wind (go figure). After a day’s reflection — and cleaning up after the dog — here are some random thoughts in a post-draft First and 10:

1 – It’s always interesting what riles up the masses, especially when it comes to the draft. The Browns trade up one spot in the first round. They give up their first pick and picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh round to move up. And they did it in a draft when they had 13 picks. There was never any intention of using all those picks. That would have overloaded the roster. So the Browns used three of those picks — in the bottom half of the draft — to move up and get the one player they wanted most: running back Trent Richardson. Then come the stories that the Browns got fleeced, duped, that they fell for a ploy by Minnesota to give up three picks. This, that and the the other thing. Here’s what I wonder: So what if they did? Or to phrase it another way, are you going to take a chance on losing the guy you really, really want for the 118th best player in the draft? The thinking was the same on trading up for Robert Griffin III: You’re going to worry about passing up a premier quarterback for the third best offensive tackle?

2 – Look at it this way. Some draftniks went ballistic when the Browns took John Hughes of Cincinnati in the third round. Wow, they said. Way too soon, they bellowed. This organization is a joke, they barked. Well, let’s suppose John Hughes were drafted in the fourth or fifth round where all the “experts” said he should go. That means Hughes, a third tackle that very few folks thought was anything real special, would have been the guy the Browns would have insisted on keeping if they did not trade up to ensure themselves Trent Richardson. Are you going to give up the chance to acquire a guy you believe will be a standout running back, a player at a premier position, for a third defensive tackle? If the John Hugheses of the world prevent a team from trading to ensure it has the player it wants, then it’s time to start repairing picket fences for a living.

3 – The draft  is all about risk and reward. Is the potential reward worth the risk of taking the guy? Ryan Leaf wasn’t really worth the risk. Braylon Edwards seemed worth the risk, but it turned out he wasn’t. Andrew Luck will be worth the risk. In the Browns case, it seems to me that the risk of not trading up one spot was not worth the reward of keeping those three lower-round picks. It’s possible they got taken, sure. But so what. It ensured the Browns that they got the back they wanted. And after missing out on the quarterbacks at the top of the draft, it was pretty important to get the back they wanted. And needed.

4 – The Browns treated their decision not to draft any top receivers with a shrug. “No one is in a panic about how the draft went as far (receiver),” team president Mike Holmgren said. Because, simply, the Browns expect the receiver to be better. “We will not drop the ball like we dropped it last year,” he said. “We will have a running game to go with our passing game. Those things by themselves it will be better.” This sounds a bit like an echo of last season, when the Browns said the system would help the receivers. Whatever happened, they weren’t very good. But that’s what the Browns believe.

5 – Clearly the Browns have a higher opinion of their wideouts than most of the general population.

6 – Just as clearly, the Browns obviously were a lot less happy with Colt McCoy than they let on last season. To say a new quarterback will help the wideouts pretty much explains that feeling.

7 – Which again brings up an interesting point about how folks look at the draft. The Browns took receiver Travis Benjamin in the fourth round. He didn’t have great numbers at the University of Miami, but the thinking was that his numbers would have been better with better quarterback play. Folks seemed to accept that premise. Yet when the Browns put out the premise that their receivers will be better with better quarterback play, folks throw their Cheez Its. It’s not that either is right, mind you. A player usually is a player. And who knows how this receiver group will be. Past performance isn’t exactly encouraging. It’s just that it’s tough to have it both ways. If the quarterback’s play hurt one receiver, then the quarterback’s play at another team hurt those receivers as well.

8 – Pittsburgh did an outstanding job with its first round pick when it took guard David DeCastro. That was a no-brainer pick that will pay dividends for years. Then the Steelers gave much of that away with their second-round pick. Pittsburgh had taken Mike Adams off their draft board when he tested positive for marijuana at the Combine. Make of smoking pot what you will, but when a guy knows he’s going to be tested and he still tests positive, there might seem to be a problem. That was only one element of some very odd behavior by Adams prior to the draft. One good thing he did was drive to Steelers headquarters and make a complete admission. The Steelers told him they might consider drafting him if he met certain conditions. He met them. So Pittsburgh drafted him in the second round. It seems odd that a guy who contributed to the forced resignation of Jim Tressel, who still didn’t have it together enough to pass a test at the Combine … it seems odd he could convince Pittsburgh to put him back on their draft board. But he did, and Pittsburgh took him. It will be interesting to see if this reward will be worth the risk.

9 – Most impressive interview from the Browns standpoint: Sixth-round Linebacker Emmanuel Acho made no secret that he uses the “platform” football provides to help the needy in Nigeria, where his parents were born. Acho has made many trips to Nigeria with his brother and parents, with n0 nurses and doctors along to help those in need. “We just stay in a village for about a week, giving people free medical treatment, and see about 7,000 patients in that time,” he said. Oh, just that … Acho’s long-term plans: “For no other reason people respect you because you’re talented at playing a game. It allows you to impact people’s lives for the better, and I think that is what I am called to do on this earth …” This is the point where I think: Gee, i can type fast. Based on these two statements alone, Acho must make the team. Period.

10 -  The Steelers are better after the draft. So are the Bengals, who suddenly have become a model of sorts for picking players. And the Ravens, who landed yet another premier defensive player without a first-round pick. Are the Browns better? They have to be. And one would think they are. But the problem is these three beasts in the same division. With those three monsters, the Browns can be better and not improve the record much. Especially with that beast of a schedule. This is the old “double beast” problem that many, many teams have been unable to overcome. The unfortunate reality of the Browns situation is that though the team may be better, the record might not show it.

A bunch of NFL Draft opinions

A bunch of NFL draft thoughts, observations, tidbits — complete with the benefit of hindsight and snark.

Draft grades sold separately since the real grades come, well, down the road.

*The more I watch Trent Richardson, the more I think the Browns hit a grand slam. And they may have been negotiating against themselves in the trade with the Vikings, but they really gave up very little to ensure they got the player they had to have. HAD to have. How long has it been since the Browns got one of those? Joe Thomas?

*I like the Brandon Weeden pick, too. Big arm, immediate upgrade and if he can play at a high level, who cares that he’s almost 29? He’s a quarterback, not a running back or a cornerback. I do worry that he’s never been hit, and that he’s not exactly nimble, and that the Browns might be married to this West Coast stuff and didn’t upgrade the receiving corps, but I like Weeden. He has some skills, and he deserves the chance.

*The Bengals have been praised for their draft, and rightfully so. I do wonder if the first pick, Dre Kirkpatrick, was the classic case of choosing need over the best available player, but Kirkpatrick has talent and pedigree and that need at cornerback was certainly pressing.

*All four AFC North teams loaded up on linemen (on both sides of the ball). It’s a passing, point-scoring league more than it’s ever been. It’s also still important to win in the trenches — and to put big bodies on the other team’s quarterback to slow down that heavy-passing, high-scoring stuff. Especially when the teams you have to beat are doing it.

*A choice to trade down in the third round and then strengthen the defensive line led to the Browns’ most controversial pick, the selection of Cincinnati defensive tackle John Hughes. Immediate Twitter reaction ranged from disappointment to (the annual) proclaiming of a portion of the fan base being “done” with the Browns “for good.” It also included the requisite (and annual) name calling. I spoke up on Twitter, asking that people step away from the ledge — mostly because the people doing the actual drafting, even those who do it for the Browns, deserve a little bit of credit — and give the kid a chance.

I thought it was unfair to Hughes, too, to have a bunch of people in his own state declaring him The Worst Pick Ever two weeks before he even goes through an NFL practice. The Browns probably winced when Hughes told reporters after the pick that he had planned to have his family over on Saturday, when he thought he’d get drafted. But the Browns gave him a draft grade, stacked him on the board and selected him. There’s some reason — probably many reasons — they did that.

I don’t want to say I know a whole bunch, because I don’t. But I’ve been very close to the draft — and the ever-growing hype in the months leading up to the draft — for a long time, and to me it’s no longer shocking or earth-shattering when a group of players who were combine stars or media-coverage stars in the eight weeks before the draft end up getting drafted a round (or three) after where they were projected. It’s no huge surprise when less-hyped guys go in the first three rounds since teams are in the business of selecting the best players, not the most-hyped players.

Angry that the Browns passed on the chance to take a wide receiver, tight end or cornerback and drafted Hughes? That’s fine, fair and understandable. But saying “my draft guide says he should be a seventh-round pick” is not a valid argument. It’s just not — never has been, never will be. It’s ridiculous.

The dozens of people the Browns employ to scout and pick these players build a board and make the picks every year without a draft guide. They hit on some picks, they miss on others. Especially given the Browns’ recent record on weekends from Sept. – Dec. it’s perfectly OK to be critical of what they’ve done on the final weekend of April. To imply that the selection of John Hughes is the reason for such misses and missteps, though, is rather ridiculous.

*Again, not to come off as smarter than anybody, but the fact that there are so many “surprise” risers and fallers in every draft, involving almost every team, should tell all of us watching from afar that those who are actually in the draft rooms have access to the most and best information. Browns GM Tom Heckert said a week before the draft that every year brings tons of misinformation and very few prospects who actually make significant moves up or down boards. He didn’t mention that every year we quickly forget that.

Do the Browns have more pressing needs than backup defensive tackle? In my eyes, absolutely yes. In the eyes (apparently) of a big part of their fan base? Yes. But there has to be some reason John Hughes went before Jared Crick and Billy Winn and other more recognizable names. There just has to be. And anybody that enraged by the selection of Hughes should be free to either walk away from the Browns or apply for a job in personnel with any of the other 31 teams.

*To more pressing matters: If the Browns had some idea they were going to replace Colt McCoy via a high draft pick, what would have been wrong with signing a pass-catcher in free agency? Also, it’s hard to believe that the Browns at any point would have said, “Well, if we can’t get Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd or Kendall Wright, we’re fine with coming out of this draft with one receiver, and that one is Travis Benjamin.”

*That, I know, is not John Hughes’ fault. Place your anger wisely.

*About all the Friday rumors that the Browns either lied to McCoy, were unfair to McCoy or needed to trade McCoy, I have two comments. One, “unfair” in football is Ben Roethlisberger’s high school coach playing his son at quarterback while Ben played receiver. In the National Football League, there is no such thing as unfair. Also, shouldn’t we think that 31 other teams had bigger priorities Friday afternoon than a potential trade for a backup quarterback?

*This website got 82,000 clicks on a short story Saturday about the Browns keeping McCoy. Cleveland, you’re the best.

*The Bengals still need a speed, stretch-the-field receiver to really make defenses pay for devoting too much attention to A.J. Green. Those guys aren’t easy to find, obviously. I still think Mohamed Sanu will be a productive player and end up being known for more than just that draft night prank call.

*The Redskins picking Kirk Cousins in the fourth round after giving up so much to get Robert Griffin III will end up either being a totally brilliant move or a totally stupid, inexcusable move for a team with more needs than draft picks. We won’t know the answer, though, for at least a couple of years.

When it comes to the draft, shouldn’t we know that by now?