Dave and I can squeeze in one more KKE before Thursday, so let’s just cut to the chase:
Who will the Browns take and why?
We’re into the fun part. The smoke show. After months of top ten, Dee Milliner is now damaged goods. Geno Smith could slide to second round if not taken by Jacksonville. The Browns are intrigued with Tavon Austin and Geno Smith. Fluker will go before Warmack. Cordarrelle Patterson has not the math skills to run a curl route.
You name the name, there is smoke.
As pertains to the Browns, the smoke is most heavy and the path is unknowable. In spite of their history, Haslam/Lombardi are hard to read. New coaching staff, no one knows who holds sway in the draft room. We’re not even sure if the coaches have great reads on the existing roster.
Let’s apply geometric logic to this problem and clear away the smoke. Narrow the possibilities. First: the prevailing smoke.
1. Can’t have too many 6’3″/300 d-tackles; pass-rushers; defensive front personnel in general.
Just look at the talent already assembled for Horton’s five man front. The investments of dollars and draft picks. It’s rock solid.
If you’re the Niners or Seahawks and don’t have holes elsewhere, THEN you can do a BPA. The Browns though? More top defensive front personnel are luxuries they can’t afford.
We’re good at the defensive front.
It makes no sense to get another OLB, DE, DT with the other holes in the roster.
It makes EVEN LESS sense when you factor in there will be no trade down. Hell, even the Dolphins are looking to trade back.
Browns have five holes and if they get three starters in the draft it’s a homerun.
Don’t be drafting guys where you have starters.
2. It’s a QB league; you have to find your franchise QB and if he’s there at six, you take him.
Pfft. Let’s give last year’s first round pick a chance to work in a non-remedial offense. The reports from the mini-camp are all positive.
With due respect to Peter King and MKC… there will be no QB taken by the Browns in the first round.
There will be no Cam Newton recreation with EJ Manuel.
No Geno Smith read-offense.
Wait a sec, let that sink in: EJ Manuel = Cam Newton.
Ok. Moving on.
“No one in this young corps cracked the top 50 in receptions or had more than five TD catches. Little led with 53 catches for 647 yards and four TDs, and rookie Gordon was second with 50 catches for a team-high 805 yards and five TDs. …
The Browns need two more starting-caliber wideouts and should be able to add at least one in free agency.”
I’ll leave it at: I don’t get it.
No wait… I actually do get it. Those appraisals are written by people who look at Shumur-scheme WR stats and go from there. They are not written by people who watched the team.
I watched Gordon and Little last year and I see nothing but upside. Here’s what I said in post last December:
… so that seems an outrageous statement right? but i’m simply loving the hands on both these guys. all their catches are looking secure and away from their bodies.
then, they both have truly prototype size and measurables. there’s more to WR evals than 40 times. little had the 2nd highest vertical in his draft, 40.5″, as well as top 5 performances in bench press and broad jump. the workout numbers for gordon arent as stellar (something about an injury at his pro day?) but it’s clear he has no problem getting separation and big (10+”) hands which, like height, can’t be taught.
i hope we see more deep routes that of the ‘throw-it-up-and-let-them-get-it’ mode. that would seem a fit with weeden’s game too.
put the catching + size + athletics + (seeming) dedication to craft/improvement and it’s hard not to be optimistic about all this.
That sums it up pretty well. No thanks on another WR. And certainly not a little bitty one.
What then? Cornerback, Guard, Tight End, Safety, Inside Linebacker?
Here’s the logic to be applied now: we know our needs. CB, OG, TE, FS, ILB. What does this draft’s talent pool look like for each position?
Guard: Warford, Winter second round or later.
Tight End: Eifert seems to be head and shoulders the number one… but there are a lot of good prospects later.
Cornerback: If you look hard enough you’ll find problems with Milliner and Rhodes; you’ll see scouts who like Trufant or Slay better than either. You’ve got Ryan and Webb lurking in middle rounds… all have their advocates. There is depth.
Safety: same deal… maybe a Rambo in the fourth. Maybe Kenny TATE in the seventh.
But at ILB? It’s Alec Ogletree and everyone else. It’s a significant drop from Ogletree to Te’o. I think it’s the largest drop-off from the top player at a position to the second best in the whole draft.
But is ILB even a need position for the Horton Defense?
This is where the light bulb went on this morning. I took a harder look at last year’s Cards.
I’m seeing both OLBs crowding the line on most sets; three man front on passing downs. I know I’ve been hung up on Horton/Chud breaking up the band of a pretty good 4-3. But I’m coming around that it’s really a 5-2 on some plays, 3-4 on others… and certainly more sets in the playbook after those. In short, any pejoratives based on defense labeling need to be re-thought.
What seems to be a constant in the Horton Defense, though, are the stunts and activity by the ILBs. Whether the OLBs are up front or dropped back, the ILB are bunched up in the middle. They’re shooting gaps, they’re filling the box, they’re dropping in cover.
Horton’s ILBs are big in his defense.
And as he learned last year, you need two. The having of 35 year old Paris Lenon as a starting ILB in the Horton Defense leads to result seen in the play we’re about to review.
In this play, the Niners’ o-line eats up Horton’s ILBs and it’s a good gain. And it’s worth noting that one of those ILBs is currently an unsigned UFA.
Now then: what if, instead of a Dave-Kolonich-type at ILB, if you have a genuine U-G-A stud running crazy with your Crossdog blitzes? And what if you had an ILB who’s fast and hits? But also is a former safety and can drop into coverage like a big d-back?
In other words, if you’re Ray Horton, what would you say if a scouting report like this came over your desk:
“… this guy can close like there’s no tomorrow,” another scout said. “People say he’s not tough. In the SEC Championship game he fricking dropped the wood on (Eddie) Lacy and caused the fumble on the goal line. Knocked the (expletive) out of him. He doesn’t know how to use his hands or play off edges, but he could be a Pro Bowl player if he gets his act together.” Finished with 197 tackles (20 for loss), six sacks and seven “big” plays (defined as interceptions, fumbles forced and fumbles recovered). … “Real good in coverage. Should be able to develop into a pass rusher. I don’t see him as a 3-4 outside backer.”
If you’re Ray Horton, you’re pounding the table for this guy.
UPDATE: Chris Mc reminds that UGA defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, was on the RAC-Browns coaching staff of 2007 with Chud. Grantham came to UGA in 2010, installed a 3-4 defense, and has coache Ogletree for three years. If the Browns need to know anything about Ogletree, the phone line between Chud and Grantham should be wide open.
Big time player in big games.
We need our playmaker. We need the guy that sets the tone and the tone is ‘physical.’ How does Ogletree shape up there?
I’m glad you asked.
Here’s a link to his numbers. What jumps out at me are that his best games were UGA’s biggest games:
2011: GaTech, 10 solo tackles; LSU, 5 solos, 17 yds TFL; MSU (bowl), 12 solos.
2012: GaTech, 10 solos; Bama, 9 solos; Nebraska (bowl), 9 solos.
Liked Ogletree for some time.
I liked Ogletree better than Jones all last year. To the point where it was starting to bother me that Jones was rated so highly while Ogletree was playing smash.
Six weeks ago I took a detailed look at Ogletree. Check it out for more info. Here’s the money quote and it’s still true today:
Great defenses usually have a linebacker associated with them. Nitschke, Butkus, Lambert, Taylor. When I think of the Browns and dominating, defense-defining linebacker, the closest I come is Chip Banks. We’re way overdue for our killer linebacker.
I think Ogletree can be that sort of player and so let’s look a little closer.
Who you got Kolonich?