Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
The Morning Kickoff …
Mingo’s the man: It didn’t take a national writer embedded in the Browns’ draft room to tell us that this new regime is laying its chips down on Barkevious Mingo. Their actions showed that.
But the assertions by Chuck Klosterman of Grantland.com, who was invited to the Browns’ inner sanctum on the first night of the draft, that Mingo “represents everything” in a player the Browns aspire to as a franchise, certainly adds to the pressure of being the first-ever pick of Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi.
The confirmation by Klosterman that the Browns turned down the St. Louis Rams’ trade offer for the 16th and 46th picks of the draft adds even more pressure to the selection.
Mingo can’t be Jerome McDougle or Brandon Graham -- pass rushers who turned up busts for the Eagles during Banner’s run in Philadelphia.
“Your first-round draft pick has to not just make the team, not just start, he has to be All-Pro.”
That’s what Jimmy Haslam said on the day he was introduced as Browns owner on Aug. 3.
Mingo will be the centerpiece of coordinator Ray Horton’s attacking, 3-4 defensive scheme. Whether or not he starts is not as important as his impact in knocking down quarterbacks and disrupting their games.
The most logical comparison to Mingo is Aldon Smith, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Like Mingo, Smith was a college defensive end (at Missouri) who was projected as a 3-4 rush linebacker. Smith did not start a game as a rookie, but had 14 sacks in coordinator Vic Fangio’s aggressive 3-4 scheme and earned some recognition as the league’s best defensive rookie.
In his second season, Smith took over as an every-down player, had 19.5 sacks, was named NFC defensive player of the year, and was voted All-Pro.
That’s a high bar. But that’s what Haslam expects.
As for the rest of the draft: More pressure on Mingo is rooted in the enigma that became the rest of the Browns’ 2013 draft. Here’s an update:
Second round, forfeited in 2012 supplemental draft for WR Josh Gordon: I’m going to step out on a limb and say that not only is Gordon better than any receiver in the 2013 draft, he will be better than any player taken in the second round. This was ex-GM Tom Heckert’s most astute pick.
Third round, 68th overall, CB Leon McFadden: Browns QB legend Brian Sipe, now the QB coach at San Diego State, vouches that McFadden can win a starting job immediately, like he did as a freshman after being moved from wideout. McFadden’s suspect height, 5-9 5/8, is offset by a solid, compact frame of 195 pounds. At the weekend rookie minicamp, McFadden looked capable enough. He is being counted on to win the starting cornerback job opposite Joe Haden. Then the fun begins.
Fourth round, 111th overall: Traded to Pittsburgh Steelers for a third-round pick in 2014.
Fifth round, 139th overall: Traded to Indianapolis Colts for a fourth-round pick in 2014.
Sixth round, 175th overall, FS Jamoris Slaughter: He ruptured an Achilles tendon in his third game of his senior year at Notre Dame and had surgery. At minicamp, he repeated that he expects to be ready for the start of training camp in late July. There is an opportunity for him to win a starting job, but Slaughter was listed by one respected draft publication as the 31st safety in the draft.
Seventh round, 217th overall, DE Armonty Bryant: A dominant pass rusher at the Division II level, he fell in the draft because of a drug-related arrest in October for selling marijuana on campus. A week after the draft, he was arrested for DUI in Ada, OK. At minicamp, Bryant was remorseful and vowed to abide by the Browns’ new zero tolerance policy. Even if Bryant stays clean, the defensive line position is pretty crowded to make room for a Division II situational pass rusher.
Seventh round, 227th overall, OL Garrett Gilkey: At Division II Chadron State (Neb.), he started at left tackle. At 6-6 and 320 pounds, he may be too tall to break in at guard. He figures to be a developmental tackle in the early going.
Trade: Veteran possession receiver Davone Bess was acquired for an exchange of draft picks with the Miami Dolphins: Bess is a move-the-chains inside receiver who should earn some of his new contract by teaching the young receivers how to be professionals.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.comFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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