Category Archives: West Virginia Mountaineers

Cost probably too high for Browns to chase QB

Traders up. The real fun in the NFL Draft starts Friday evening.

The Browns picked early and shut it down early on Thursday; with no second-round pick as ammo, they knew there was no way they’d buy back into the first round, even if they wanted to.

But what about the second round — and specifically for a quarterback? And specifically for West Virginia’s Geno Smith, who remains on the board?

How much it would cost remains to be seen. “Too much” is probably the answer.

The great part about this three-day draft format is four months of pure speculation turns into 18 or so hours of more speculation, usually centered around a few players. Smith is certainly this year’s “buzz” guy, not just because quarterback is always the buzz position. Mike Glennon, maybe the most NFL-ready quarterback at January’s Senior Bowl, and Matt Barkley also could get early second-round attention after E.J. Manuel went to Buffalo and became the only QB picked in the first round.

That pick was, um, interesting.

The chances the Browns, currently holding pick No. 68 in the third round as their next selection, go up and get Smith (or another quarterback) are slim. The Browns would almost certainly have to give up a 2014 first-rounder to get into the top of the second round, and in case Smith’s long wait in the green room Thursday night during the first round didn’t remind Browns fans of Brady Quinn, making such a trade would.

Jacksonville picks first Friday, at 33, followed by San Francisco and Philadelphia. The first two will take plenty of calls based on the value of their picks in this format, firstly, and also from quarterback-seeking teams based on fact that the Eagles, at very least, showed interest in Smith in the pre-draft process.

There’s a little thing called a trade value chart that every NFL team uses, to some extent, anyway. The numbers and values on the chart aren’t absolute — and there might even be multiple charts — but they do provide either a baseline or a ballpark figure on perceived trade value.

During Thursday’s first round, it was a good market for teams coming up and a bad one for teams looking for a potential trade down. On Friday, at least early, it will be the other way around.

The chart says Jacksonville’s pick is worth 580 value points. That’s too much for a 2014 first-round pick as the Browns don’t expect to be a playoff team and this year’s 14th pick was worth 1,100 value points; their pick at 68 (250), even coupled with a second-rounder next year, probably comes up short.

About that 580, well, that’s actually low. The value on Jacksonville’s pick would go up because it’s an extremely valuable pick as the first pick of the rest of the draft. The Browns would either have to give next year’s first-rounder (not happening) or put together a package that includes either Jabaal Sheard or Phil Taylor, plus that 68th pick and some other combination of things to swap in a package that leans Jacksonville’s way.

The Jaguars will answer the phone because they need lots of players. The Browns need too many themselves to give away valuable picks, especially in multiples. Despite what they’ve said, you still have to believe they are willing to part with one of their young defensive linemen as they transition to a 3-4, and it might be Sheard after the selection of Barkevious Mingo.

Thirty-one other teams know that, too, which probably drives down his value. And these hypothetical deals revolve around value.

If the Browns are really in the quarterback market and are interested in New England backup Ryan Mallett — and again, it’s purely a hypothetical at this point — it’s possible the Patriots asking price came down when they acquired the Vikings third and fourth round picks late Thursday night.

Then again, it’s just as possible that New England would want a second-rounder next year. Same story. Mike Lombardi has the number if it gets to that point.

As for Smith, if he gets past the Eagles at No. 35, how far does he slide? The Cardinals at No. 38, Jets at 39 and Raiders at 42 could be interested. The Jaguars and 49ers will anxiously await their calls. The Bengals, holding pick No. 37 and needing a running back and a safety, could be interested in selling their pick and trading down.

The Browns figure to be active in seeking a chance to either move up into the second round and/or acquire another third-round pick. Unless we’re all missing something with Geno Smith, it just seems the price for the Browns to be involved will be too high.

Offering a guess (or 3) on the NFL Draft

The 2013 NFL Draft is here. And nobody seems to be certain about much of anything, starting with the No. 1 overall pick and continuing through the top 10.

That includes me. I have a feeling though, based on what I’ve read and heard and the needs/shape of the teams in the top five (strictly a feeling), that the top five is going to include the three highly-regarded offensive tackles and two pass rushers, Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah.

That would leave the Browns at No. 6 with the chance to take cornerback Dee Milliner, hope a trade-down scenario (that a team wants to come up for a quarterback or even a guard) exists…or do something we’re really not expecting, even when we’ve spent four months hearing nothing and knowing less about to what to expect from this new Browns administration.

So, what we have Thursday night is good television.

In Milliner the Browns would be addressing a short-term need and adding (they hope) a long-term answer at a key position; in a way, they’d be going the safe route and hoping for a splash. Maybe you’d like more than your potential No. 2 corner out of the No. 6 pick in the draft, but not having enough good players or many real strengths is one reason the Browns keep picking in the top 10 (but never in the top two, as Browns luck and mismanagement would have it).

It’s a passing league and almost everybody needs help in the secondary, which is why it would scare me just a bit if Milliner is still there at No. 6. That’s also why the Browns might be prioritizing pass-rusher as they switch, again, to a 3-4 defense and try to figure out a way to stop the run and put all the good quarterbacks that show up on their schedule every year on their backs when third down comes.

If Jordan and Ansah go before the Browns pick, trying to work a trade down and then, later, targeting a Jarvis Jones or a Barkevious Mingo makes sense. Even if the top five goes differently than I currently have it pegged — and there’s a darn good chance it does — I still like the trade-down scenario for the Browns best.

As the Browns begin Rebuild 7.1, they just have too many needs to pick at No. 6 and then wait 60-some picks before picking again. Same for the thought that made its way through the Twitterverse Wednesday night that the Browns would trade up to No. 3. That would be great for getting the guy they want — and bad for filling their long list of other holes.

Twitter is a lovely place to visit this time of year, by the way.

If tackles Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson all go in the top five, the Browns chances of trading down figure to decrease unless they go way down — and that’s fine, too. If I had a vote, I’d say the more picks, the better. In this draft, and especially for the Browns, there’s help to be had in rounds two, three and four, too. I see needs at corner, safety, tight end and both linebacker spots. If I was in charge or even had a seat without shouting distance of the man in charge, Joe Banner, I’d be wanting help at receiver and somewhere along the way a big and fast inside linebacker, too.

I’ve come around in my thinking, based partly on everything I don’t like about this year’s draftable quarterbacks, and I think the Browns best bet is to continue building talent at other positions and wait a year (or even two) to get the quarterback they’ll eventually need to really compete. I’m convinced That Guy is not here now, but I still think given the situation that Brandon Weeden should get another year and that this new staff’s best bet is to coach him up and try to maximize what he brings to the table.

If the Browns take Geno Smith (or E.J. Manuel, or Ryan Nassib) at No. 6, they’ll be in position to get Jadeveon Clowney next year. And that’s really too much to think about right now — and at least until, say, Oct. 15.

I honestly can’t remember a draft with this much uncertainty at the top. If you’re a fan of drama, this is good. If you’re a fan of the Browns, root for one of those offensive tackles to slip. If you’re a fan of the Browns and a fan of Milliner, sit tight. You just might get him.

All we know is that sometime Thursday night, the newest new Browns are going to add a face and provide the rest of us at least a glimpse at their desired direction. And when that player gets to town, one of the first things he’ll be asked is what he thinks about Jimmy Haslam’s trouble with the FBI.

The Browns, well, they’re the Browns. With a little (overdue) luck, they’ll use this weekend to take a step towards leaving that forgettable recent past behind.

Cavs campers Jones, Eric head to Charge

CANTON – Cavaliers training camp invitees who didn’t make the team are getting a shot to remain with the organization.

Forward Kevin Jones, center Michael Eric and guard Kevin Anderson will all be in camp with the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ affiliate in the NBA D-League.

All three were undrafted out of college and waived by the Cavs in the preseason. Also in camp with the Charge is their first-round pick D’Aundray Brown out of Cleveland State.

Below is the Charge’s complete 16-man training camp roster. Charge coach Alex Jensen must cut the roster to 10 by Nov. 21. The Charge open their second season Nov. 23 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center vs. Maine.

Charge Training Camp Roster

Kevin Anderson, 6-0, G (Richmond); Thomas Baudinet, 6-3, G (St. Anslem); D’Aundray Brown, 6-4, G (Cleveland State); Jordan Eglseder, 7-1, C (Northern Iowa); Micheal Eric, 6-11, F/C (Temple); Kyle Gibson, 6-5, G (Louisiana Tech); Jorge Gutierrez, 6-3, G (California); Omari Johnson, 6-9, F (Oregon State);

Kevin Jones, 6-8, F (West Virginia); Jonathan Moore, 6-1, G (Stoney Brook); Arinze Onuaku, 6-9, C (Syracuse); J.P. Primm, 6-1, G (UNC-Asheville); Titus Robinson, 6-7, F (Buffalo); Ryan Rossiter , 6-9, F (Siena); Alex Ruoff, 6-6, F (West Virginia); Marcus Simmons, 6-6, G (USC).

Kent, Xavier will host tip-off marathon games

Two Ohio college basketball teams will get unique national exposure on Tuesday, Nov. 13, when they participate in the ESPN tip-off marathon.

Kent State will host Temple at noon, and Xavier will host Butler at 4 p.m.

The tip-off marathon event features 24 consecutive hours of live college basketball, starting at midnight ET as Monday turns to Tuesday and going through the day and night before a neutral-site game between Duke and Kentucky tips at approximately 9:45 p.m. to conclude the event.

The Xavier-Butler game is especially unique because the schools are now both members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The tip-off marathon game, which has been under contract since last winter, will not count as a conference game.

Kent State has won early-morning tip-off marathon games in each of the last two years, defeating Robert Morris at home in 2010 and winning at West Virginia last year.

This year’s event starts with West Virginia at Gonzaga at midnight ET. The Zags are expected to play a return game at West Virginia in the 2013-14 season.